Guide to planet retirement

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Page 1: Losing Weight Is Getting Harder

Page 3: Chocolate Is Good For You

Page 5: Bye Bye Pizza Pie

Page 8: Put Them All Together, They Spell Mother

Page 9: Join Boomer Swimming Around The World

Page 10: Flush At Your Own Risk

Page 11: Bees and Our Nutrition

Page 12: Medicare Update

Page 13: Social Security Update

Page 13: How to Start an Ecosystem

Page 13: Reminder to Get your Flu Shot


The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.

- John F. Kennedy

Yup. That’s true – and not only for us Boomers! A group of researchers from York University published an article in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice that looked at dietary and exercise data for tens of thousands of Americans over the past four decades. They found that a typical adult in 2006 had a higher body mass index (BMI) than his matched counterpart of the same age in 1988 -- even when he had the same diet and same activity level. Conclusion: a 25-year old would have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight is now more challenging than ever.

When comparing people with the same diets in 1971 and 2008, the more recent counterpart was on average 10 percent heavier. Looking at physical activity data, which was only available between 1988 and 2006, those born later were 5%t heavier even if they exercised just as much people two decades earlier. The paper presented charts that complicate years of conventional wisdom on weight loss, which has stressed diet and exercise and blamed problems with both for increasing rates of obesity.

Weight management is actually much more complex than just ‘energy in’ versus ‘energy out.’” The “other things” affecting our weight have to do with our environment — both outside our bodies and within them:

--less sleep: In 2013, 40% of Americans got less than seven hours of sleep per night

--more stress: A Carnegie Melon survey published in 2012 found that Americans were roughly 20% more stressed than 25 years ago.

--exposure to certain kinds of chemicals that affect the endocrine system and metabolic processes: Plastic packaging, pesticides and substances known as persistent organic pollutants (mostly synthetic toxins that tend to bioaccumulate through the food web) impact the way our bodies process food and store fat.

--increased use of prescription drugs: According to the Centers for Disease Control, spending on prescription drugs doubled between 1999 and 2008 (the last year of the York study). Among adults who were the subjects of the study, antidepressants were the most commonly used drug, which are linked to weight gain, along with allergy medications, steroids and pain medications.

--changes in our diet: Our “microbiomes,” the mix of organisms that live in our guts and play a role in processing food and extracting energy, are affected by what we eat . According to the USDA, we each ate roughly 20 pounds more meat per year in 2000 than we did 30 years earlier, and we’re consuming far more artificial sweeteners — are known to affect the bacteria in our bodies. If an individual is obese, their microbiome might actually be making weight loss harder: in studies, average-sized mice implanted with gut bacteria from obese counterparts were found to gain weight.

Bottom line: our weight is not entirely in our control, but our lifestyle is!

For more info:

Okay, we will be careful with our chocolate intake, but cocoa flavanols are good for you! Cocoa flavanols are plant-derived bioactives from the cacao bean. Dietary intake of flavanols has been shown to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, but the compounds are often destroyed during normal food processing.

Two recently published studies in the journals Age and the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) demonstrate that consuming cocoa flavanols both increase blood vessel flexibility and lower blood pressure! This improves cardiovascular function and lessens the burden on the heart that comes with the aging and stiffening of arteries. Arterial stiffness and blood vessel dysfunction are linked with cardiovascular disease (CVD) — the number one cause of deaths worldwide.

These two studies are the first to look at the different effects dietary cocoa flavanols can have on the blood vessels of healthy, low-risk individuals with no signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the past, investigations of CVD have focused on high-risk individuals like smokers and people that have already been diagnosed with conditions like hypertension and coronary heart disease.

In the first study, 2 groups of 22 young (<35 years of age) and 20 older (50-80 years of age) healthy men consumed either a flavanol-containing drink, or a flavanol-free control drink, twice a day for two weeks. The researchers then measured the effect of flavanols on hallmarks of cardiovascular aging, such as arterial stiffness (as measured by pulse wave velocity), blood pressure and flow-mediated vasodilation (the extent to which blood vessels dilate in response to nitric oxide). The researchers found that vasodilation improved by 33% in a younger age group and by 32% in the older age group. In the older age group, a statistically and clinically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure of 4 mmHg over control was also seen.

In the second study, the participants were randomly and blindly assigned into groups that consumed either a flavanol-containing drink or a flavanol-free control drink, twice a day for four weeks. The researchers also measured cholesterol levels in the study groups, in addition to vasodilation, arterial stiffness and blood pressure. The researchers extended their investigations to a larger group (100) of healthy middle-aged men and women (35–60 years) with low risk of CVD. Again, intake of flavenols for four weeks significantly increased flow-mediated vasodilation by 21%. Increased flow-mediated vasodilation is a sign of improved endothelial function and has been shown by some studies to be associated with decreased risk of developing CVD. In addition, taking flavanols decreased blood pressure (systolic by 4.4 mmHg, diastolic by 3.9 mmHg), and improved the blood cholesterol profile by decreasing total cholesterol (by 0.2 mmol/L), decreasing LDL cholesterol (by 0.17 mmol/L), and increasing HDL cholesterol (by 0.1 mmol/L). The researchers also calculated the Framingham Risk Score — a widely used model to estimate the 10-year cardiovascular risk of an individual — and found that flavanol intake reduced the risk of CVD by 22% and the 10-year risk of suffering a heart attack by 31%.

The combined results of these studies demonstrate that flavanols are effective at mitigating age-related changes in blood vessels, and could thereby reduce the risk of CVD in healthy individuals.

Other longer-term studies, such as the 5-year COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS) of 18,000 men and women, are now underway to investigate the health potential of flavanols on a much larger scale.

Poor diet and high blood pressure now number one risk factors for death

A related huge international study of global causes of death conducted by an international consortium of researchers working on the Global Burden of Disease project and led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, has revealed high blood pressure is the number one individual risk factor associated with Australian deaths, contributing to 28,500 deaths a year. Smoking and high body mass index are number two and three respectively, while drug use is among the fastest growing risk factors for poor health in Australia, up 53 per cent between 1990 and 2013.

A new analysis of global cause-of-death data by the University of Melbourne and the University of Washington published in The Lancet in September 2015 showed that deaths from high cholesterol have decreased by 25 per cent, and deaths from diets low in fruit and vegetables have decreased by 10 per cent. The finding were compiled by researchers looking at 79 risk factors for death in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013.

The risk factors examined in the study contributed to almost 31 million deaths worldwide in 2013, up from 25 million deaths in 1990. The top risks associated with the deaths of both men and women in Australia are high blood pressure, smoking, high body mass index, and high fasting plasma glucose.

Top risk factors for the rest of the world include:

--In much of the Middle East and Latin America, high body mass index is the number-one risk associated with health loss.

--In South and Southeast Asia, household air pollution is a leading risk, and India also grapples with high risks of unsafe water and childhood under-nutrition.

--Alcohol is the number-two risk in Russia.

--Smoking is the number-one risk in many high-income countries, including the United Kingdom.

--The most marked differences are found in sub-Saharan Africa, which, unlike other regions, is dominated by a combination of childhood malnutrition, unsafe water and lack of sanitation, unsafe sex, and alcohol use.

--Wasting (low weight) accounts for one in five deaths of children under five-years-old, highlighting the importance of child malnutrition as a risk factor.

--Unsafe sex took a huge toll on global health, contributing to 82 per cent of HIV/AIDS deaths and 94 per cent of HIV/AIDS deaths among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2013. This has a greater impact on South Africa than any other country, 38 per cent of South African deaths were attributed to unsafe sex. The global burden of unsafe sex grew from 1990 and peaked in 2005.

The study included several risk factors in its analysis for the first time: wasting (low weight for a person’s height), stunting (low height for a person’s age), unsafe sex, HIV, no hand-washing with soap, intimate partner violence.

In Australia, increases in deaths due to high body mass index and diabetes-related illnesses have been increased 35 per cent and 47 per cent respectively. Australians are also grappling with poor kidney function and low physical activity, both of which are not among the top-10 global risk factors.

The leading risk factors associated with poor health in Australia in 2013 were high body mass index, smoking, and high blood pressure. While these were also in the top-five risk factors in 1990, smoking has decreased slightly, by 4 per cent.

Senior author on the study, University of Melbourne Professor Alan Lopez, said many of these risk factors for Australian deaths are preventable with lifestyle changes.

“While our study shows that public policy in Australia has been effective in reducing the health impacts of high cholesterol and insufficient fruit and vegetables in our diet, progress against some large, avoidable risks has been less impressive,” Prof Lopez said.

“Smoking, high blood pressure and obesity are still prevalent among adult Australians and remain a large cause of disease burden. We can, and ought, to be more conscientious in reducing these exposures among all Australians, not only those considered at high risk.”

For more info:

Potassium bromate is used to whiten and strengthen dough, to reduce mixing time and enhance rising—but it was also classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a possible human carcinogen as early as 1999 after it was found to cause kidney and thyroid tumors in lab rats. Declared unsuitable for use in flour by both the WHO and United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), potassium bromate—which can also cause non-carcinogenic adverse effects on the human kidney—is now banned in the European Union, Canada, Brazil, China, and other countries around the world. It has also been listed as a carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 since 1990.

In 1999, the same year the WHO classified the additive as a carcinogen, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned the FDA, asking it to ban the chemical from baked goods. More than 15 years later, the FDA has never responded definitively to the petition, and continues to allow its use in flour. According to the FDA and the American Bakers Association, it has been used in flour in the U.S. since about 1915. The FDA first officially approved this use in 1941 and, despite the 1958 law known as the Delaney Clause, which bars carcinogenic additives and pesticide residues in food, the FDA has never withdrawn its approval for potassium bromate.

Instead, the FDA limits how much potassium bromate can be in flour and what levels of residues it considers acceptable in baked goods. But these limits don’t take into account cumulative exposure—or the fact that people might be exposed to by eating multiple servings of food made with bromated flour. According to a recent report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there is alarming wide-spread use of potassium bromate in baked goods in the U.S.

Bye Bye Cheerios

EWG’s analysis lists 86 products ( that include potassium bromate on their ingredient labels. And a search for potassium bromate as an ingredient turned up numerous additional products beyond those listed by EWG.

Among these are food items sold by Godfather’s Pizza, General Mills’ Pillsbury, All Trumps, and regional brands such as Einstein Bagels, La Rosa’s pizzerias in the Midwest, Philly Pretzel Factory, and Boston’s Viga Italian Eatery, Papa Gino’s hamburger buns, baked goods served by Valley Senior Services, and many more. An online search for these flours suggests that they may be most readily available on the East Coast, perhaps because of California’s Proposition 65, which requires products containing potassium bromate to carry a warning label. There are also lots of bakery products sold at bakery counters and in restaurants without ingredient labels.

The good news is that since CSPI filed its petition, some major brands have shifted away from potassium bromate, including Goya, Hormel, and a New York City bakery called Terranova.

And a move away from potassium bromate doesn’t necessarily mean bread and other baked goods are free of worrisome chemical additives. Some food companies—including Kroeger—now use a dough conditioning additive called azodicarbonamide, an industrial chemical that recently gained notoriety for its use in plastics, flip-flops and yoga mats. It is associated with increased incidence of tumors in female lab mice, and was banned in Europe and elsewhere.

Water Water Everywhere

Other sources of bromate exposure can include drinking water since bromate can be formed when ozone is used to disinfect water — a process used by many U.S. drinking water systems. This means that people may be exposed to multiple sources of bromate without knowing their cumulative exposure levels. And the FDA’s limit for bromate residues in baked goods—like the EPA’s limit for bromate in drinking water—is set without accounting for other sources.

Until there is more data and regulation, let’s be careful about what we eat and drink. Stay aware, read the labels and understand what they say. Exposure is unnecessary.

For more:

Bye Bye Meat

Now comes for the real blow to the American diet: a World Health Organization group issued a long-awaited determination on October 26th that “red meat” (which includes beef, pork, goat and lamb, whether minced or frozen) “probably” causes cancer. “Processed meats” that undergo curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation are definitively labeled carcinogens. Most processed meats contain pork or beef, but might also contain other red meats, poultry, offal (e.g., liver), or meat byproducts such as blood. The American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study II, the American Cancer Society has recommended limiting consumption of red and processed meat specifically since 2002. Official U.S. government dietary guidelines also recommend limiting meat.

But a new report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) show a definite link between red meat and processed meats and colon, stomach, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers, and specifically names ham, hot dogs, sausages and jerky as carcinogens. Each 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) said the IARC report fits in with its own advice: “By eating a healthy diet, staying a healthy weight and being active, half of colorectal cancers could be prevented. In fact, for the most common U.S. cancers, healthy changes to Americans' diet, activity habits and weight could prevent an estimated one-third of cancers, about 340,000 cases a year." Cancer is the No. 2 killer in the United States, after heart disease.

For more info:

The WHO Report

In the 45 years the World Health Organization's cancer research arm has been studying carcinogenic agents, it has looked at nearly 1,000 things you might eat, be exposed to, or do that might put you at higher risk of getting cancer. They've determined that about half of them do cause cancer or "probably" or "possibly" cause it. Below is a look at some of the cancer-causing agents that have been added to the IARC growing list over the years. Many industrial chemicals you've probably never heard of are everywhere and often unavoidable aspects of modern life: air pollution, tobacco smoking, alcohol, and X-rays.

Group 1 - Carcinogenic: This is the group for 120 agents with the most evidence of cancer risk. But being in this group doesn't mean that the risk associated with each agent is the same -- for example, that the impact of smoking is the same as eating some bacon. There are about 120 agents listed.

  • Processed meats

  • Arsenic and arsenic compounds

  • Asbestos

  • Coal, indoor emissions; gasification; coal-tar distillation; coal-tar pitch

  • Viruses: Epstein-Barr, chronic infection with Hepatitis B or C, HIV type 1, HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 66

  • Hormonal contraceptives containing both estrogen and progestogen; estrogens (both non steroidal and steroidal); estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women

  • Ethanol in alcoholic drinks

  • Formaldehyde

  • Herbal remedies containing plant species of the genus Aristolochia

  • Mustard gas (Sulfur mustard)

  • Radioactive substances: Plutonium-239 and its decay products, as aerosols; Radioiodines; Radium-224 and its decay products; Radium-226 and its decay products; Radium-228 and its decay products; Radon-222 and its decay products

  • Outdoor air pollution, as well as particulate matter

  • Solar radiation

  • Tamoxifen6

  • Tobacco, smoking, second-hand smoke

  • Ultraviolet radiation

  • X-Radiation and gamma radiation

Group 2A - Probably carcinogenic: Limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. This group has about 75 agents.

  • Red meat

  • Androgenic steroids (often used to stimulate muscle growth)

  • Glyphosate (contained in Roundup and other insecticides or herbicides)

  • Inorganic lead compounds

  • Occupational exposure as a hairdresser or in petroleum refining

  • Shift work that disrupts sleep patterns

Group 2B - Possibly carcinogenic: Limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. This group has nearly 300 agents.

  • Chloroform

  • Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

  • Magenta dyes

  • Pickled vegetables

  • Gingko biloba extract

  • Welding fumes

  • Carpentry and joinery

  • Dry cleaning, occupational exposure

  • Firefighting, occupational exposure

So, even Ginko Biloba is not the benign nutriceutical we thought it was.

For the full article:


Recently a team of pathologists at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands collected tissue from 26 women who had died during or just after pregnancy. All of them had been carrying sons. The pathologists then stained the samples to check for Y chromosomes and found male cells in the mothers’ bodies.

As reported in August 2015 in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction, the researchers found cells with Y-chromosomes in every tissue sample that they examined: brains, hearts, kidneys, etc. These male cells were certainly uncommon — at their most abundant, they only made up about 1 in every 1,000 cells.

In the 1990s, scientists found the first clues that cells from both sons and daughters can escape from the uterus and spread through a mother’s body. They dubbed the phenomenon fetal microchimerism, after the chimera, a monster from Greek mythology that was part lion, goat and dragon. But fetal cells don’t just drift passively. Studies of female mice show that fetal cells that end up in their hearts develop into cardiac tissue.

The new study suggests that women almost always acquire fetal cells each time they get pregnant. They have been detected as early as seven weeks into a pregnancy. In later years, the cells may disappear from their bodies, but sometimes the cells settle in for a lifetime. In a 2012 study, studies of fetal microchimerism focused on the cells left behind by sons, because they are easier to distinguish from the cells of their mother. Of the brains of 59 deceased older women, 63% of them showed Y chromosomes. Experts now believe that microchimerism is far from rare. But it remains quite mysterious.

In recent years, researchers have found many clues suggesting that microchimerism can affect a woman’s health. Tumors may be loaded with fetal cells, for example, suggesting that they might help drive cancer. Yet other studies have suggested that fetal microchimerism protects women against the disease. Fetal microchimerism has been found in a number of mammal species, including dogs, mice and cows. It’s likely that fetal cells have been a part of maternal life for tens of millions of years. Fetal cells are frequently found in breast tissue, even in milk, for instance. The researchers argue that children might thrive more if their fetal cells drove up milk production.

Here comes the speculation: Fetal cells could have evolved into more than just bystanders. They may produce chemicals that influence the mother’s biology, allowing fetuses to manipulate her from within. Some cells may help maintain the health of the mother — for example, by healing wounds. Or, they could impede her from having more children, which would weaken her and deplete her resources. This biological tension might help explain how fetal microchimerism sometimes causes harm to a mother that is a side effect of the cells’ manipulations.

There are some clues that mothers, too, pull hard in this evolutionary tug-of-war. The immune system kicks into high gear after giving birth, possibly to clear away leftover fetal cells. This defense may pose its own risks: Women with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis can suffer relapses after pregnancy.

Some straightforward experiments could be done in the future to look at which genes become active in fetal cells in different parts of the body, see how the activity of the genes influenced a mother’s physiology, such as the production of milk, and how fetal cells in the brain might influence women’s behavior.

For more info:


A sixty-year-old marathon swimmer from Phoenix, AZ, Martin Strel, has announced he would swim 24,000 miles around the world to raise awareness on water pollution. The seasoned swimmer said he will embark on a journey across 107 countries starting in March 2016 and is looking for other swimmers to join him!

The journey is set take 450 days covering the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Amazon, the Red Sea, the Panama and Suez Canals, and the English Channel. Prior to the new journey, Strel has already swum in the largest, most polluted rivers in different regions across the globe, including the Amazon, the Danube in Eastern Europe and the Yangtze in China, with the same goal of raising awareness on polluted waters.

On his next journey, an escort boat will accompany Strel for emergencies and breaks, while he swims between 5 to 12 hours every day. The Arizona-based TDG global marketing and branding firm will provide the travel costs for the journey.

In the past week, the marathon swimmer performed a 2.2-mile swim between the Statue of Liberty and the marina near the World Trade Centre for his regular morning workout. Strel said that at his age he is still in good health and wants to educate young people about their drinking water and polluted water sources.

Strel however, faces some difficulties in each journey. He always has a knife strapped to his leg while swimming to protect himself from crocodiles, snakes, the candiru (a tiny South American fish that bores into every human cavity), and bull sharks.

To date, Strel has already gained support from politicians and fans from around the globe to discuss clean water. I wonder where he will keep his passport?

For more info:


The Harvard School of Public Health issued two studies showing that changing environmental conditions around the globe caused by human activity could negatively impact the health of millions of people by altering the amount and quality of key crops. One study found that decreasing numbers of food pollinators such as bees—falling in part due to pesticide use and destruction of habitats—could lead to declines in nutrient-rich crops that have been linked with staving off disease. A second study found that increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) could lead to lower levels of zinc in food and thus to greatly expanded zinc deficiency.

The approach taken by the studies is unique. The researchers looked at the development of human civilization during a very stable set of biophysical conditions, and projected how the rapid change in those conditions will affect crops, nutrition, and health. The changes caused by land use, deforestation, degradation of global fisheries, disruption of the climate system, biodiversity loss, appropriation of fresh water, changes to aquatic systems— are profound, are accelerating, and represent a significant challenge to global health.

1) In the study of pollinators, researchers looked at people’s dietary intake data for 224 types of food in 156 countries around the globe to quantify total per capita intake of vitamin A, folate, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds under various pollinator decline scenarios. They then estimated the potential health impacts of declines in pollinators—mostly bees and other insects.

Pollinators play a key role in roughly 35% of global food production and are directly responsible for up to 40% of the world’s supply of micronutrients such as vitamin A and folate, which are vital for children and pregnant women. Over the past decade, there have been significant declines in animal pollinators worldwide.

The researchers found that the complete loss of animal pollinators globally would push an additional 71 million people into vitamin A deficiency and 173 million more into folate deficiency, and would lead to about 1.42 million additional deaths per year from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and malnutrition-related diseases—a 2.7% increase in total yearly deaths. A 50% loss of pollination would result in roughly half that impact, the researchers found.

Most of this burden of disease would result from reduced consumption of foods that protect against NCDs like heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers and, unlike the populations frequently impacted by environmental degradation, many of the most vulnerable populations reside in relatively developed countries. Researchers found that those most vulnerable would be in eastern Europe and in central, eastern, and Southeast Asia, where risks of NCDs are high and intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is highly dependent on pollinators.

The study also found that most of the estimated pollinator-related disease burden had to do with locally produced crops—not imported ones. “This means that most countries can benefit greatly by managing their own pollinator populations, protecting both their public health as well as crop yields,” said lead author Matthew Smith, research fellow in the Department of Environmental Health.

2) For the study on zinc, the authors modeled how much zinc would be available to people through diet in 188 countries, under both current and elevated levels of CO2. They noted that zinc is a key nutrient for maternal and child health—without enough, there is increased risk of premature delivery, reduced growth and weight gain in young children, and decreased immune function. Roughly 17% of the global population was estimated to be at risk of zinc deficiency in 2011, according to recent studies.

Citing previous research that found that elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2 lowers the content of zinc and other nutrients in important food crops such as wheat, rice, barley, and soy, the authors estimated that CO2 emissions caused by human activity could place between 132 million and 180 million people at new risk of zinc deficiency by around 2050. Those most likely to be affected live in Africa and South Asia, and nearly 48 million people in India alone—populations already burdened with the world’s highest levels of zinc deficiency, and reliant on crops for most of their dietary zinc.

The authors suggested possible interventions for those at highest risk for zinc deficiency, such as zinc supplementation, fortification of staple foods with additional zinc, the application of zinc-containing fertilizers to crops, or the development of bio-fortified strains of crops such as rice and wheat.

The bottom line is that our civilization may seem strong and resilient, but history tells us that our societies are fragile and vulnerable. Human action is undermining the resilience of the earth’s natural systems, and in so doing we are compromising our own resilience, along with our health and our future.

For more info: See more at:

True story: John Doe, the father of a friend of mine, suffered a stroke and was left without the use of his arms or legs. He is totally lucid. His Medicare benefits for a nursing home have been used up.

Cruella, the daughter of John’s second wife, Maria, is trying to seize all of his assets. She has already cleaned out his bank accounts. Maria and Cruella have never visited John since the stroke in the hospital or nursing home. They filed a law suit to declare John incompetent. They are now trying to force John’s daughter, Jane Doe, to transfer $116,000 to Maria to “settle” the complaint.

Jane is flying back and forth from California to Florida to try to protect her father. She successfully proved in court that her father is competent.  She filed a financial exploitation complaint with the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Adult Protective Services. She doesn’t know what else she can do to protect her father’s assets from Maria and Cruella, so that he can pay for the nursing home care that he needs.

I told Jane to call a competent elder law attorney in Florida and the certified Medicare counselors at the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) - 1-800-963-5337 – to get the number to call for counselors in John Doe’s county of residence in Florida.   Jane can also go to this website, click on the county of residence to get that information: .  The counselors in Florida’s SHINE program, can give her information regarding the following:

--whether John is eligible for the FL Institutional Care Program (, Institutional Hospice, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or Home and Community Based Services.

--whether John can create an irrevocable Qualified Income Trust for John’s benefit. Under the QIT, John’s Social Security, pension, and other income will be deposited in the Trust and paid to the nursing care facility (

--whether DCF will oversee the transfer of assets to Maria.

--How John can be protected from another law suit by Maria and Cruella.

Hopefully, Jane Doe will find a good solution to these horrific problems. For those readers who have not done so, please do the following immediately:

--Review your 4 key estate plan documents: Pourover Will, Revocable Living Trust, Durable Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directive. Your executor, contingent trustee, and holder of your power of attorney need to be people you trust. If you don’t have these 4 documents, hire an attorney in the State of your residence to do these documents. You have to re-do these documents if you move to another State.

--Buy long-term care insurance if you can.

--Allocate your assets to your loved ones during your lifetime (Medicare will “look back” 5 years on asset transfers).

--Leave clear instructions with your executor and contingent trustee on what to do after you pass away. A model checklist Is on my website:

--Email me if you need guidance on setting up an estate plan.


If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you can create a my Social Security account at  Once your account is created, you can log in and

Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year;

Get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working;

Get a letter with proof of your benefits if you currently receive them; and

Manage your benefits:

    • Change your address;

    • Start or change your direct deposit;

    • Get a replacement Medicare card if yours is lost or stolen; and

    • Get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for tax season.


Go to this website to enjoy an uplifting video:


Medicare offers free flu shots to beneficiaries. Get the extra strong one if you are over 65.

Since your immune system takes 6 weeks to fully build up resistance to the flu bug, get this

sooner rather than later!

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