Matt Gallardo

Celebrating Home Care: A Key to Aging in Place

Matt Gallardo

Every November, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) celebrates National Home Care Month all month long, and Home Care Aide Week, from November 10-16. It is a time to honor the care giving heroes who make a remarkable difference in the lives of those in need. This year’s theme is “Home is the Center of Health Care.”

untitledHome care lies at the core of helping aging and disabled Americans stay in their home for longer periods of time. It can potentially lessen the amount of time someone may spend in an assisted living residence, personal care home, or nursing home. Of course there are many other resources to help people “age in place or community.” Other options include home health care, which provides short-term medical care into the home, adult day programs, respite care, technology, home modification, and in-home medical equipment. Home care services combined with one or several of these other home-based resources can create a workable blueprint to help someone age in place.

The Evolution of Community-Based Care
There are a number of reasons for this shift toward community-based care. First is the government’s dwindling ability to fund healthcare. And with nearly 78 million baby boomers reaching age 65 in the next 20 years, coverage for institutional care will become harder and harder to get. Because of this, the free market is joining the movement away from an institutional model of care and pushing for more community support services. It is the direction health care services are headed in our country. This is why you are seeing more urgent care centers, home care agencies, and hospice providers popping up in the community. It is simply cheaper to take care of someone if they don’t have to be hospitalized or placed in a facility, which is what most people want anyway.

These 78 million boomers represent a large and powerful generation whose demands and expectations of care will be very different from what we are used to seeing. Once more the idea of bringing services into the home and modifying homes will be the future for this rapidly growing number of seniors. Other factors compounding this evolution of care include our ever increasing life spans which require longer periods of care and funding. Secondly, over the last three decades, the number of family members, especially daughters, serving as caregivers has shrunk as our society becomes more mobile and career-oriented making a move out of town, state, or country more common. The way we used to care for our elders has changed. Just as nursing homes and personal care homes have provided surrogate care for aging loved ones over the last several decades, the idea of substituting care with home care aides has become more conventional. It helps working daughters (or sons), sandwich generation caregivers, out-of-towners, and spouses to replace or supplement the care they provide.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice states that demographic shift studies translate into some disturbing data. The number of frail older people over 65 is expected to increase from 11 million in 2010 to 18 million in 2030. The percentage of frail older people who are childless is expected to rise from 14 to 18 percent during this period, and the ratio of frail, older people who have only one or two adult children is expected to increase from 38 to 49 percent. Most of these aging boomers will want to remain in their homes, but they may not be able to count on their families for long-term care when it’s needed.

Home Care Can Fill Many Niches
Not only has health care evolved to put a greater emphasis on community-based services, but home care itself is evolving. Traditional housekeeping, cooking, companionship, transportation and assistance with activities like bathing and dressing are generally offered by most non-medical home care providers. However, home care providers such as Messiah Lifeways At Home now offer a unique array of services that buoy one’s ability to live safely and more carefree at home. Some of these newer and less known options include: pet and plant care,  non-skilled home maintenance, downsizing services, assistance with home exercise programs, and technology/computer assistance.

Lastly, in a time where the expanding need along with the absence of consistent familial support continue to grow, home care staff fill a void and become more than just caregivers for their clients. They become almost like close friends or even family. They’re a large part of why home care is poised to play a key role as the center of health care in our country.

To learn more about Messiah Lifeways At Home go to or call 717.790.8209. For information on home care services for the entire state, visit the Pennsylvania Homecare Association (PHA) home care locator link [click here].

Originally posted November 2013- Revised for November 2014
by: Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Coach, BASW, CCP


Matt Gallardo

What Is Aging in Place?

Matt Gallardo


What exactly does it mean to “Age in Place”? Ideally, aging in place is leading a healthy and engaging life in your own “home” for as long as one chooses. And “home” should be considered a fluid term. But, if we delve deeper, we’ll discover its meaning becomes situational, conditional, and distinct to each person facing difficult life choices as they grow older and or more dependent on others.

Aging in place has become a broad term bandied about in the senior and long-term care industries for many years. At work, I use the term several times a day and provide guidance to older adults and their families on how to “age in place.” However, for those who have little or no exposure to an aging or disabled loved one struggling to live independently or safely at home, it may be an unfamiliar concept.

One way to help define aging in place, or muddy the waters, depending on how you look at it, is to dispel what it is not:

•It’s not exclusively defined by age. When you retire at 65 you’re not suddenly aging in place. Furthermore, is a healthy 81 year old still working full-time and leading a very active lifestyle aging in place? I wouldn’t necessarily say that he is. Plus, if I claimed he was, he might respectfully disagree, since I’m referring to my father-in-law. Conversely, we could reference a 45 year old female with a traumatic brain injury in which the family is doing everything they can to keep her at home as she becomes more dependent each passing year.

•It also is not defined necessarily by where you live. Someone residing in a place other than their house, such as in a retirement or 55+ community, a personal care home or assisted living, has the opportunity to age in place. Therefore, you can age in place in multiple stages and locations too.

Thoroughly confused yet? Don’t be. You can boil the term down to whether a person has a fundamental deficit or inherent need, that without help may not be able to live independently or safely. These deficits can be quite broad. It could be that because of aging, impairment or disability that person needs some home modifications: a ramp into the house, a bedroom on the first floor, or a walk-in shower rather than a bathtub. A deficit may also be due to a loss, such as the loss of driving privileges or loss of physical or mental capacities. Aging in place manifests itself if you now need assistance coming to your current living situation for the safety, welfare or maintenance of you or your household.

Another way to understand aging in place is to talk about its primary alternative. Typically, this is choosing to move to a retirement community or care facility because it could make life easier or more enjoyable or safer than living in a private residence. Statistically, if we examine the choice of aging in place versus making a move among older adults, the percentage of those who move into a facility for care is less than 15%. Thus, the majority of older adults will be living at home and opt to age in place.

There are a multitude of different services and resources that can help people stay at home and age in place. Family or hired caregivers and/or professional home care are keys to aging in place. Other options include: adult day programs, home modification, and technology such as emergency call systems, telemedicine and even the use of web cams. Additionally, home health care and hospice services, durable medical equipment, outpatient therapy and diagnostic programs bolster the effort of people living safely and healthy at home. Wellness programs, volunteering, community membership groups like Messiah Lifeways Connections, senior centers, and transportation services can help round out a healthy and engaging life in the comfort of your own home.

To learn more about aging in place options available through Messiah Lifeways Community Support Services, call 717.790.8209 or go to

Matt Gallardo

It’s National “Hug Your Physical Therapist” Month

Matt Gallardo


When it comes to national health observance months, most people know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The pink ribbon crusade is very prominent and has proven to be quite powerful in the fight against breast cancer. However, October is also National Physical Therapy Month. Conjointly, physical therapy plays an important role in the recovery of breast cancer patients who sometimes develop lymphedema in the breast, neck, and the underarm regions after a mastectomy, lumpectomy or damage to or removal of the lymph nodes in that area. Therapy and exercise help to restore flexibility and strength in the neck and upper arm, and improves drainage of the lymph nodes.

Like the treatment for lymphedema and all the other ailments and injuries treated by modern medicine, physical therapists often play an unsung role in the health and recovery of patients young and old. National Physical Therapy Month is hosted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) in October to acknowledge how physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can help people by improving their quality of life by restoring and improving their physical abilities. So it is certainly fitting to celebrate what therapists can do for all of us.

I have worked for and with rehab providers for nearly two decades and, unfortunately, as a weekend warrior, I’ve relied on physical therapy several times. Prior to and long after my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery, physical therapy on my knee was just as vital to my recovery as the surgery itself. Furthermore and quite ironically, I just had rotator cuff repair surgery several weeks ago and will be starting physical therapy in the middle of October once again. I also had physical therapy on my opposite shoulder for a partial rotator cuff tear that did not require surgery. It was physical therapy alone that really helped to heal and strengthen that shoulder. I might be falling apart, but the surgeons coupled with the help of the physical therapists that are putting me “back together.”

Professionally, I have worked with physical therapists for a long time. In particular, I have seen some pretty amazing results and recovery at Messiah Village in the Wagner Transitional Care Neighborhood. The physical, occupational, speech therapists, PTAs and OTAs from RehabCare do an incredible job helping residents reach their recovery goals for a variety of injuries and illnesses, such as stroke, hip and knee replacements, and degenerative and neurological disorders. In my previous role as Director of Admissions, we would admit residents that were very ill and, at first glance, had little chance of ever returning home. Amazingly, in many of the situations the therapists were able to motivate, treat and compassionately push residents to regain their strength, safety awareness and endurance. Furthermore, in conjunction with the physicians and nursing staff, they were able to help safely discharge that person home or back to their previous level of living.

D3C_5843 CMYKPhysical therapists do not treat you chemically or surgically; however, the physical, emotional and even spiritual strength they provide clients and residents warrants celebration. Physical therapists deserve a lot of praise and recognition year-round, but here in October take an extra moment to say “thank you” and give them a big hug!

Click on the following links to learn more about National Physical Therapy Month, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and To learn more about inpatient and outpatient therapy available for residents and community members alike, please call 717.790.8201 or visit


Matt Gallardo

Senior Centers: Celebrating a Community Focal Point

Matt Gallardo

September is National Senior Center Month – Celebrate!

Across the country, more and more people are beginning to recognize their local senior center isn’t what it used to be – it’s a lot more! According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA) there are 11,400 senior centers across the US that serve more than 1 million older adults every day. Thanks to the Older Americans Act (OAA), senior centers have become a community focal point and one of the most widely used services among America’s older adults.

NCOA also shared that when compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction. They go on to say that research shows participants learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being.

Senior centers typically offer a wide variety of programs and services such as, but certainly not limited to, the following:

* Meal and nutritional programs
* Health, fitness, and wellness programs
* Transportation services
* Public benefits counseling
* Employment assistance
* Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
* Social and recreational activities
* Educational and arts programs

Locally Messiah Lifeways sponsors and operates two senior centers, Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More and the newly christened Senior Center in Shippensburg, now known as Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More. On September 2, a huge gathering came to celebrate the name unveiling at the future home of Branch Creek Place located on 115 N. Fayette Street in Shippensburg. This collaborative effort between Messiah Lifeways, local and county officials, and the Cumberland County Department of Aging and Community Services further demonstrates the commitment to and value of local senior centers. Thanks in part to a $112,000 state grant, renovations will begin on Branch Creek Place this fall, with an anticipated completion next spring. At that point, the center will move from its quaint yet cramped and temporary location at the Christ United Methodist Church at 47 E. King Street.

These senior centers are friendly community gathering places where you can connect, volunteer, enjoy cultural experiences, take educational classes and a lot more. Activities like line dancing, low impact exercise, health screenings and flu shots help members stay well and active. Members also experience culture with bus trips and outings to local restaurants, theaters and historical sites. They also have many opportunities to connect with others at meal time, game time or while playing pool or singing in the chorus. Participants also have many ways to grow and learn by taking computer classes, health and safety classes or simply by meeting new people. And like most senior centers, volunteering is a big part of the experience. Whether it’s helping out at the center by answering phones, serving lunch or helping out with community service projects, members can share their time and talents.

Recently, Mechanicsburg Place was chosen as one of ten senior centers in Pennsylvania to pilot a program called the “Sip and Swipe Café.” Essentially, it’s part of the center where members can get a cup of coffee and free lessons on how to use an iPad with trained members instructing other members. There will be multiple tablets for them to use on a regular basis especially as they become more and more proficient on them. This calls to mind that senior centers are making great effort reinventing themselves. Meeting the needs and desires of the aging baby boom generation has helped inspire these changes. Senior centers are developing new programs and opportunities for this dynamic generation of older adults.

As we celebrate National Senior Center Month, get out there and check out what’s new and exciting at your local senior center. Plus, to learn more about Mechanicsburg Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.697.5947 or visit Or to learn more about Branch Creek Place: A Senior Center and More, please call 717.300.3563.

Matt Gallardo

Frog in a Frying Pan

Matt Gallardo

I love metaphors and analogies. Just ask my wife, I use them all the time, and it drives her crazy. But to me, metaphors are a great way to make brief, colorful and descriptive points, such as “I’m happier than a pig in mud!” Now that’s happy. They can also help someone visualize life’s challenges and difficulties such as feeling like a “fish out of water” or one I hear more and more often, feeling like a “frog in a frying pan.” This metaphor often epitomizes caregivers.

One such example is a woman who has been caring for her mother for the last 7+ years. Her mother was diagnosed with dementia and moved in with her and her husband. In addition to being a fulltime caregiver to her mother, she also home schools her three young children, not to mention all the other responsibilities she has as a wife and mother. She is your classic “sandwich generation” caregiver and self-admitted “frog in a frying pan.”

frog it hot in here or is it just me?

She described feeling like the frog in a frying pan, based on the proverb– place a frog in the frying pan then gradually turn up the heat and it won’t jump out. Instead it stays put, continually adapting and adjusting to the heat until they get burned or worse! That’s how she and many other caregivers often feel. They take on the role of caregiver and don’t recognize that the gradual pressure and stress is “frying” them mentally, emotionally and even physically. They need to learn how to avoid getting burned, jump out of the pan and ask another “frog” for help or seek other solutions.

One of the first steps of avoiding caregiver burnout is to simply realize you are in fact a caregiver. Often spouses or adult children get into the habit of helping or doing little things for their loved one and, bam, several months or years later it has become their daily routine. It consumes them and can monopolize their time away from other important things in life. Caregiver burnout is a real epidemic. Otherwise all the books, articles, and websites dedicated to helping caregivers wouldn’t exist.

Realizing it is a problem and looking for solutions is great a starting point. How can you seek help or a solution if you don’t even realize the problem? But once you realize it, you’ll soon discover there are many resources out there dedicated to helping caregivers. Listed below is a sampling of a few great websites and some other local resources that include articles, financial assistance, checklists, support groups, and many other tools to combat caregiver burnout. (click on the links below)
Cumberland County Aging and Community Services
Cumberland County Family Caregiver Support Program
Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging
Dauphin County Family Caregiver Support Program
Hospice of Central PA Support Group Calendar

Please also consider attending our Caregiver’s Workshop at Messiah Village on September 4, 2014. The workshop was designed for those seeking options, resources, and support as caregivers. We will examine ways to identify and reduce caregiver burnout and explore available resources and support. Plus, the workshop will also include the “Caregiving Panel” for a question and answer session with local care-giving experts. For more information go to

Originally posted August, 2013- Revised August 2014
by: Matthew Gallardo, Messiah Lifeways Coach, BASW, CCP

Karin Bisbee

Project Envision creating a buzz

Karin Bisbee

Artist’s rendering of Village Square, slated to open in early 2017

Over the past few weeks, we’ve enjoyed some local media coverage regarding Project Envision, a mission-driven strategic plan that seeks to meet the changing needs of future generations of adults aged 55 and better. You may have seen articles in the Sentinel, The Patriot News, The Dillsburg Banner or via the Central Penn Business Journal. The centerpiece of Project Envision’s first phase is Village Square, an innovative town village concept featuring 80 spacious apartment homes with underground parking and numerous lifestyle amenities including a wellness and enrichment center, spa, and bistro.  Village Square will be the newest addition to Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village in Upper Allen Township. Since announcing this project to Messiah Lifeways team members and stakeholders in early May, more than 160 people have expressed serious interest in moving to the Village Square. They’ve signed up to join the Priority Club which means they’ll have first access to floor plans when they are available next year. Big projects like this create a lot of excitement as we think and plan and dream for the future! It’s always great to share our 118-year story of serving older adults and families and giving people a glimpse of our ministry in action.  While we are proud of our amazing staff, beautiful Messiah Village campus, and excellent community support programs, it’s always nice to hear first-hand accounts of what our neighbors and friends think. In late July, we hosted neighbors who live near the Messiah Village campus to a special presentation so they could hear advance news about the upcoming expansion. As the meeting ended, a gentleman spoke out and shared that he and his wife are neighbors and volunteers. They’ve always appreciated living near Messiah Village and they enjoy giving their time to serve as volunteers. He went on to share a lot of positive reflections. The media coverage has been appreciated but moments like that – they are at the heart of our mission. It’s a privilege to serve persons aged 55 and better – to serve their families, to serve our neighbors and friends.  If you’d like to learn more about Village Square, visit

To check out Roger Quigley’s article on, click [here]

Matt Gallardo

Non-profit Nursing Homes Offer Distinct Advantages

Matt Gallardo

Main EntranceThose that have gone through the process of finding a nursing home for a loved one can tell you how much of a challenge it can sometimes be. Making such an important decision for an ailing parent or loved one can be difficult and overwhelming. Knowing the right questions to ask and the right characteristics to look for are vital to making a better and more informed choice. You can go online ( as one example) and print a list that consists of questions like “what’s the staffing ratio?”, “do you do background checks on staff?”, or does it smell and look clean? But one question to ask that you may not always see on these lists is whether it is a non-profit or a for-profit facility. Being aware of the ownership status can be a very good starting point.

A number of national senior and health care advocacy groups like Leading Age, Physicians for a National Health Program and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc have determined through extensive research that the type of nursing home ownership and sponsorship can affect the quality of care that facilities provide to their residents. It can even affect the rate of hospitalization and the potential discharge to home percentage.

Much of the statistical research consistently determined that non-profit nursing homes offered specific advantages, such as:

>fewer deficiencies in total
>fewer deficiencies causing harm or jeopardy to a resident
>fewer residents taking antipsychotic medications
>lower prevalence of restraints
>lower prevalence of pressure ulcers (bed sores)
>lower hospitalization rates
>higher staffing number of registered nurses
>higher staffing ratios overall
>higher ranking on the Center for Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) Five-Star rating system
>higher discharge to home rates

I’m not suggesting that 100% of the time a non-profit nursing home is always a better choice; however, it’s hard to argue with these numerous sources and research supporting the facts. Non-profit retirement communities and nursing homes like Messiah Village are not looking to create profit for shareholders or the executives running the company. If positive revenue exceeds operational costs, non-profits typically put that money back into the facility by making improvements to the physical plant, focusing on staff retention and increasing wages, and by looking for ways to improve policy and procedure to create a better overall living experience for residents.

Ultimately deciding on a nursing home for a parent or spouse needs to be a well-planned collaborative decision, involving the perspective resident and their loved ones and/or their responsible persons. Taking suggestions from the doctor, a social worker or someone who’s gone through it is fine. However, there are more precise ways to evaluate the choice. In Pennsylvania, go to the Department of Health website to obtain a full list of nursing homes county-by-county, which also includes detail about profit vs. non-profit status, licensed number of beds, plus survey results that lists specific deficiencies and the subsequent plan of correction. Also call to schedule visits and tour several nursing facilities. And, if possible, do this ahead of time, not at the last-minute or during the time of crisis.

For more information or questions about finding the right nursing home for you or a loved one, please contact the Messiah Lifeways Coaching office at 717-591-7225 or email

Resources cited:

“Non-profit nursing homes provide better care, major study finds” from

“Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Nursing Homes: Is there a Difference in Care?” from

“5 Ways Not-for-Profit Nursing Homes are Different” by Geralyn Magan at

“For-Profit Nursing Homes Have Low Staffing and Poor Quality of Care” by Grace Rattue at


Initially Published- 06/20/2013


Matt Gallardo

Changing the Conversation About Aging

Matt Gallardo

“Between 1900 and 2000, average life expectancy increased by nearly 30 years in the United States and most other developed countries of the world, and the developing world is catching up quickly. For the first time in history, most people now being born can expect to live seven, eight, nine, or more decades. This achievement changes not only the trajectory of individual lives but also the shape of societies: Adults 60 and older are now the fastest-growing segment of our population…”

“Many older-adult patients wanted to make a difference in the world but, finding no role for themselves, were treated as socially useless. Having created a new stage of life, the next step is to make it meaningful.”- Linda P. Fried

Making aging positive may sound like a simple task, but finding how each individual can enhance their next 25 to 30 years may not be so simple. Many older adults have a desire to make a difference in the world, which involves having a meaning or purpose to life. The recent article, Making Aging Positive from The Atlantic, states what research concluded, that an individual’s physical and mental well-being are enhanced if empowered to make personal decisions. A personal choice of many older adults is to contribute to the next generation and “leaving the world better than you found it.” Unfortunately, many years of experience and knowledge is overlooked because society as a whole does not value individuals who have grey hair and wrinkles.

senior-collegeMaking Aging Positive gives examples of ways to “change the lens” on how we view aging. Older adults want to feel needed and have a desire to “contribute in a meaningful way.” Research shows that older adults are great volunteers. Many studies have found that these volunteers are living longer because of improved physical, mental and social health.

There are many volunteer programs and models of senior service. When older adults volunteer and/or teach the next generation, its value becomes twofold. While helping or doing for others, they can simultaneously improve their own physical, mental, and social well-being. All generations benefit from volunteering and serving one another, and our economy benefits as well.

The shift in perspective, outlook, and influence for older adults is imperative and inevitable. Statistically and philosophically being an older adult now is unlike it ever has been in human history. It’s not only the path our society is taking, but it’s the essence of creating more optimism and opportunity as we age. Messiah Lifeways continue to evolve and innovate the way that we view aging. Programs like Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning, Coaching, Connections, Wellness and Volunteering typify Messiah Lifeways’ committment to making aging positive. We look to “change the conversation” just as Linda Fried challenges readers to make growing older a more positive and enriching time of life.

If you would like to read the entire article, Making Aging Positive, please follow the link to this story.

by: Cathy Poiesz, Messiah Lifeways Coaching Intern

and Matthew Gallardo, Director of Community Engagement & Coaching at Messiah Lifeways


Linda P. Fried is the dean and the DeLamar Professor at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Source: Fried, L.P. (2014, June 1). Making Aging Positive, The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group.

Matt Gallardo

Filing for Social Security? Do Your Homework

Matt Gallardo

As we age, we realize it’s increasingly important to get familiar with our financial future long before we actually retire. This includes cultivating our future income streams like pensions, annuities, interest, IRAs, and let’s not forget about Social Security. Further down the line, when you’re on the cusp of retirement, it is even more important to thoroughly research, comprehend, and maximize your fixed retirement income. With inflation, the ballooning of healthcare costs, and the fact that we are all living longer, we’ll need to be smarter and savvier to get the most out of our retirement benefits so as not to outlive them.

Looking ahead
imagesCA1ZQ1T4At age 40, I have not thought much about Social Security. My focus has been primarily on annuities, IRAs and investment options. Truthfully, at this point in my life, my only real thoughts about Social Security were, “what shape will it be in or will it even exist when I retire?” However, earlier this week, I hosted a Messiah Lifeways Coaching workshop entitled Social Security: Your Questions Answered. I was happy to have Jamie Mladenoff, a financial advisor from Edward Jones®, share his insight and advice with attendees at or near retirement. Jamie relayed the statement, “Social Security will likely be the foundation of your retirement income, and before you retire it’s important to understand your options and the effect your decisions have on your retirement.” He also cited [Income of the Aged Chart book 2008] which states, “on average about 37% of our retirement income is through Social Security benefits.” Therefore, it serves as a major chunk of retirement income and supports the necessity to maximize that monthly payout.

Looking at the numbers
The workshop was very informative. First, there are a number of factors that can affect your benefit. Many are out of our control after the fact, such as, when you were born , the amount of time you worked and your “peak 35 years of earnings” adjusted for inflation; all of which help calculate your benefit. However, one factor you can control is when you choose to start receiving benefits. Most people know that if you take your benefits early at age 62 you will only receive ≈75% of your full benefit indefinitely. Benefits do incrementally increase each year between 62 and 65, however they still never reach the full benefit you’re entitled to when you file early. So for example, if you wait to draw benefits when you’re 64, it would be ≈88% of the benefit versus 100% if you wait till 66 years old, which is normally considered full retirement age (FRA). That 12% difference over 10 or 20 years could be a huge swing in your financial comfort zone. On the flip side, if you delay receiving benefits beyond age 66, the monthly payout increases by ≈8% every year until age 70. Furthermore, there is no reason to delay filing after age 70, because the max benefit of an additional ≈32% caps at that point. It’s also important to note that filing early or late also affects spousal benefits.

Many people begin taking benefits before age 66. However, as the example shows above, there’s no denying that the difference of just a few years in filing can have a substantial impact on your benefits as well as the surviving spouse. My initial reaction to this would be to delay as long as I can. But that is easy for me to say at this time in my life. Everyone’s circumstances and outlook is different.

Jamie added that you need to consider the following when deciding on when to take your benefit: first, guesstimating your life expectancy, deciding to maintain gainful employment at normal retirement age, determining how much income you need on a monthly basis, and lastly, how your spouse will be impacted by the survivor benefit.

In conclusion, I feel most people that need to, do have a “basic grasp” on Social Security, but there are a lot more details and intricacies that require a deeper understanding. As the Social Security website states regarding retirement, “there is no one “best age”, and ultimately, it is your choice.” So take the time to learn more about it, talk it over with your spouse, or seek the guidance of a financial advisor, or visit for additional information and advice.

Karin Bisbee

Another Fourth of July

Karin Bisbee

Today’s holiday edition blog is courtesy of resident writer Esther Snyder.

Another Fourth of July

In our ever changing world and culture, I am hopeful that some traditions will not be lost.   Traditions like having your kids sitting on the curbing in front of Pomeroys waving their flags

This special flag photo is from Fall Festival 2006 – we appreciate our local fire companies!

as the parade passes by.  Or having Grandpa’s annual  letter about the value of freedom, sharing thoughts about how costly freedom has been.

Grandpa was a pacifist but no grandparent could have surpassed messages to his children and grandchildren about how essential good citizenship was, in fact, demanded of all of us.  Google says that citizenship is the qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community.

I enjoy ceremony and ceremonial events.  Few ceremonial events come without some tradition behind them.  Even burial at Arlington National Cemetery has expectations.  I am always energized by the sound of “Pomp and Circumstance ” because it traditionally means students are realizing the value of their efforts of study and serious preparation.

And how about those colorful and quirky hats at the Kentucky Derby?  That’s a fun tradition we all enjoy.

Whatever your cherished tradition, I’m sure you want to preserve it.  So it is with July 4.   The fireworks, the music in the crowded parks, grilling, family times, and good food.   And so we give thanks for another Independence Day to those who make America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

%d bloggers like this: