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Read the latest article written by EPPIA members.

Worry Free Travel for Seniors!

Dr. Karl Pillemer, professor of Gerontology in Medicine at Cornell noted that many of the elderly he interviewed in his research said that if they could do it over, they would have worried less and traveled more.  Fortunately, being elderly does not preclude travel in this day and age!  Folks of baby boomer age and older have many options for getting out in the world. As they should.  Keeping active and pursuing life experiences, when done safely, can do wonders for individuals and their families.  As our Minnesota winter sets in, the idea of escaping or even permanently relocating grows like the snowbanks.  There are several ways to achieve your destination.

Several groups can take you almost anywhere.  Cruises, Elderhostel, AAA, travel agencies and airlines can provide good options for finding a tour to many wonderful locations.  Say you have found just the right trip to take.  How do you get ready?  A few tips to get started:

• First, make sure you have a passport which does not expire in the next six months.  Keep it in a RFID body pouch with a small amount of local currency (in case you need a snack or taxi immediately upon deplaning).
• Bring your medications in your carry-on in their original bottles (a pill box is usually fine for domestic travel), along with enough clothes and personal items to last a day or two in case your luggage travels elsewhere.
• If you are 75 or older, you don't need to take off your jacket or shoes to get through security.  Or your earrings. Leave the corkscrew and the pocket knife at home.
• Baggage check your liquids or bring them in bottles of no more than 3.4 ounces.  Even if your large perfume bottle is only half full, the TSA may take it.  Put the liquids in a quart-size Ziploc bag.
• Pack lightweight, microfiber clothes that can be easily cleaned and don't wrinkle.  A versatile wrap or sweater is a must, as are broken-in shoes.
• Leave copies of your credit cards, passport, medical records, etc. in your checked bag and with your emergency contact information.  Better yet, go to, download and follow their comprehensive Safe Travel Checklist. It's good info for all ages. 

No family or friends able to accompany you?  Solo travel may be daunting due to lack of recent practice, medical issues or mobility limitations. In that case, a senior travel companion may be your ticket. That individual can make the travel arrangements, help you pack, provide escort service to and from the airport, and companionship to (and at) your destination. How do you choose such a professional?

Start by meeting the companion to be sure your personalities fit. Determine if the person is background checked and has great references (there is no MN licensing). Choose a travel companion with the patience for, and experience of working with seniors, who is skilled in navigating airports, rental car agencies, and can arrange travel insurance and handicap-accessible hotels.  A professional should be familiar with geriatric illnesses in general and your situation in particular.  Most work for expenses plus a fee and/or tip, and trips can be customized to your budget. Relatives sometimes can be motivated to financially support their seniors, especially for big family events. Finally, senior travel companions run a business, so you should get receipts of the travel expenses as well as follow-up communications. In short, be wise. Whether it be solo, group or companion travel, the world awaits our Minnesota seniors.  It's time to plan a worry-free adventure!

Carol Giuliani, owner
Senior Travel Companion Services, LLC/952-946-7997

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

Downsizing A Lifetime

It’s a daunting task, deciding what to do with a lifetime of personal possessions. Whether a major move or the passing of a loved one, eventually we are all faced with this dilemma. Emotional ties to items, along with a surplus of stuff, inevitably makes the situation much more stressful. Nonetheless, a few expert tips may help ease the transition.

Be Proactive: The best way to avoid the burden of drowning in stuff is to purge before the need arises. Donate, give away, or sell items long before life forces the situation. One room or closet at a time is the easiest way to tackle this project. Keep only items you have used in the last year or items you truly love.

Detach: Take a step back and look at the situation from a non-emotional point of view. Keep only items which will be useful or a small memento that can easily fit into a dresser drawer.

Be Realistic: Grandma’s items may have more emotional value than monetary value. When it comes to downsizing, most people are attempting to sell very similar items. The market is saturated with dining room sets, china cabinets, china, glassware, figurines, collectibles and linens, just to name a few. Our millennial generation has little interest in purchasing these items. This high supply and low demand equals depressed prices. Even antiques do not have nearly the value they had only a decade ago.

Know Where To Look: Some items retain or increase in value. These items include brand name and high end items, fine jewelry, sterling, and fine artwork. Take a close look at jewelry: gold will be marked 10K, 14K or 18K. Sterling will be marked “sterling” or .925. Mid Century modern and industrial furniture are currently bringing a nice return. Many vintage and retro items also have collectible value.

Be Smart: Never assume your leftover items have no value. A houseful can appear to be worthless when in fact it is packed with saleable items. Before paying to have items removed, contact a professional. Most professional estate sale and auction companies will provide free consultations.

Consider Options:

  • A new option in the sale of personal property is online auction professionals. Unlike EBay, these companies do all the work for you. There are usually no up-front fees and generally you receive a percentage of every item sold. This option is great for those who do not have enough inventory to warrant a full estate sale, are in situations where estate sales are not allowed, or for those who want to sell items in waves.
  • Traditional estate sales work well for people with significant high-end inventory. Estate sale companies handle all of the work from setting up and advertising to staffing the event. They generally charge a setup fee as well as a percentage of the gross sales.
  • An experienced live auction house can prove very successful for those with a few very high-end items. They are fast and efficient but usually very selective about the items they are willing to sell.
  • Consignment Shops are a good option for small amounts of clothing, furniture, housewares, and artwork.
  • Selling items yourself via EBay and Craigslist can provide a great return. You will need to have computer skills and somewhere to store the items. You also need to be willing to meet the general public to pick up items and to package and ship items.

Everyone at one time or another is forced to downsize or to clear out an estate. It is never an easy task, but the sooner you get started the easier it will be when the time comes around. One of the best gifts we can give adult children is to accumulate fewer things for them to deal with later. Possessions are only temporary, but memories will last forever.

Kris Yohn, Estate Smart This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 612-900-4449:

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

Changes and Choices

Change is a natural part of life and although some people will try to avoid it at all costs, change is inevitable. Even positive changes can be stressful, but stresses are amplified when one views a change as undesirable. Seniors often face a host of undesirable changes as they age: these can include the loss of a spouse, friends, health challenges, or financial concerns, to name a few. Some of these changes may impact one’s ability to live safely and comfortably in one’s home, and might mean that it is time to move. Few people relish the idea of moving at any age, but for seniors, moving represents some different challenges than it does for younger adults. When a younger adult moves, they are typical moving from house A to house B and might be upgrading their lifestyle, sending their kids to a better school etc. Empty nesters might downsize to a simpler lifestyle or add a second home in a warm climate. Although these moves involve some work, stress, and inconvenience, they are generally viewed in a positive light by the people making these changes. For the older senior, however, this is not always the case.

If you are a senior who has lived in your house for 30, 40, 50 or more years, it is hard to leave. These homes are filled with memories and a sense of belonging. Moving from one’s home in these situations means a big change in lifestyle and this can be overwhelming and scary for some people. It is okay to feel a sense of loss and to go through some grieving when one is leaving a home one has loved. It is also important to get on with the next step in one’s life and make a move to a senior community or other situation that will support one’s physical, social, mental, emotional and/or spiritual needs. Seniors can live active, healthy, engaged lives at any age and there are a plethora of living options available to seniors today that were not available to previous generations. The key is to look for what best fits your needs and to make your move while you still have a choice. If you wait until you are in crisis mode and are forced to move from you home, you will have to take what is available at the time, which most likely will not be your preferred choice.

As noted earlier, there are many living options available for seniors today. These include senior communities that offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care; residential care homes, and skilled nursing facilities for those who need high levels of care. Visit the EPPIA website listed at the end of this article for further information on these options. Things for seniors to consider in deciding where to live may include: location, apartment styles, proximity to family and friends, amenities, activities, levels of care available, and cost, to name a few.

Once a decision has been made regarding where to move, the next step to consider is the move itself. Families may often try to help with the move, but depending upon the size of the move, family dynamics, the amount of time required, and other factors, this can create additional stress for the senior and/or the family members. To reduce stress for everyone and facilitate the entire move process from sorting and packing to completely setting up the new home, contact a move management company. Information on these companies is also available on the EPPIA website and most companies offer free, no obligation consultations and cost estimates. Using a move management company enables a senior to get packed, moved, and completely resettled in a matter of days, rather than weeks of being unsettled, which is often the case when moves are performed by family and friends with good intentions but little time or expertise.

Moving is never easy and it is especially difficult for seniors who have their lives and identities invested in their current homes. But at a certain time of life, which varies based on individual circumstances, it becomes necessary to make a change of home and lifestyle. Learn about the options available and make the decision to move while you can choose where and when to move. This sometimes requires a leap of faith!

Holly Hansen, Partner - Brilliant Moves This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – 612-605-7303

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

Seven Signals of Senior Scams

Sadly, seniors are often the target of scams and fraud. Why? There are four basic reasons: they have money, they are trusting, they can be technology challenged, and cognitive impairment can be an issue. However, there are ways to protect yourself from being swindled. As a Better Business Bureau handout advises: Be Wise, Be Informed and Be Empowered.

Be wary of stranger danger. Never provide financial or personal information in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails or text messages, or when prompted to do so by a website. If someone you don't know knocks on your door and wants to sell you something, don’t let them in the house.

Be alert to home improvement solicitations by someone “working in the neighborhood.” If you're interested in the product or service, take a card or brochure, and tell them you will follow up yourself. Resist high pressure sales tactics and offers that seem too good to be true. Family, friends and the Better Business Bureau can help you determine if their offer fits your needs at a fair price. Read contracts carefully. Ask for start and completion times in writing. Advance payments for remodeling and repairs should raise red flags.

Take care when using your smartphone or computer. Protect your devises with suitable up-to-date antivirus software. Consider using a free malware removal tool like Malwarebytes on a regular basis. If in doubt, don’t open a file or click on a link. Even if an email is from a friend, be cautious about links or attachments. Email accounts can be hijacked by others to send viruses or other malware which can steal contact lists and send emails that looks like it came from a trusted source (spoofing).

Use caution when shopping online. Use a credit card and not a debit card so your responsibility for losses is reduced. When visiting websites, look for the https:// prefix. Data is encrypted on these sites and should be more secure. Fake websites for reputable companies abound so look closely. Be wary of phone calls, emails, or websites that claim your computer has problems and promise to fix them remotely. This is a means to hijack your computer and/or your identity. If a pop-up or web page seems odd or unfamiliar, close the browser and try again.

Be suspicious of calls from people claiming to work for your insurer, the government, or a medical supplies company. Never give them your social security number or financial information. Steer clear of investments promising big returns or requiring money sent in advance. Consult with a trusted professional for investment advice and do homework on the advisor and the investment. Be cautious about buying annuities - you may find you've been sold a product that generated big fees for your advisor but was not suitable for you.

Charitable solicitations are rife with problems. Some legitimate charities (such as the Wounded Warrior Project) spend a large portion of your donation on administrative costs and marketing. Some “fake” charities have names that are similar to real charities, and some professional fundraisers take a large cut from money they raise. The Minnesota Attorney General’s office has helpful information online, and recommends a non-profit that vets charities.

The saddest scams are those perpetrated by family members or trusted advisors. If a family member is unable to manage their finances, have someone other than the manager reviews the accounts periodically to be sure money is being spent properly. Managing another person's finances is often difficult and can be a lot of work. While we don’t want to deter people from assuming this responsibility by giving them burdensome accounting and reporting challenges, we do want to make sure it is done properly. Be aware that there are laws to protect both physically and financially vulnerable adults.

More information: The Better Business Bureau ( and the Minnesota Attorney General ( provide resources to help identify and avoid scams. They can also help you recover losses. They recognize you worked too hard to lose your savings to con artists.

Richard Jensen is an attorney who does estate planning (952) 944-0406, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

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