Cindy's Blog

Cindy's Blog

Alzheimer's Cafe

by Cindy Sherwin on 07/28/14

Do you know someone living with dementia or someone caring for someone who is?  Isolation can be a huge issue for the person and their caregiver. Right At Home, a local in-home caregiver agency, is partnering with the Alzheimer Society of Washington to try to help with that.

The Alzheimer's Cafe is a casual social gathering that they are holding once a month on the fourth Thursday, from 3pm - 4:30pm.  They meet at various food and social venues around Bellingham, bringing together people living with dementia along with their care partners.  Sometimes talking to others who are in a similar situation can be very therapeutic. 

You don't need a reservation, but to find out where the next one will be held, contact

Hi, My name is Cindy and I'm addicted to walking

by Cindy Sherwin on 06/13/14

I haven't always been, it's really been in the past few years.  I started out as a fair-weather walker; it was a good excuse to be outside and not have to be pulling weeds.  But now I walk year-round.  It rains a lot here, but with a hat and the right jacket, it's not that big of a deal.  Strong wind is about the only condition I can't tolerate.

Here's my (not so secret) secret:  I listen to books while I walk.  I/you can download them for FREE from the public library as long as you have a library card.  They go right to my phone and I plug in earbuds and listen while I walk.  If I'm reading an especially exciting or suspenseful book, I have been known to go an extra mile or two to find out what happens.  I'm in the middle of a David Baldacci novel right now, and logged 7 miles on Monday.  Okay, admittedly, that's more than usual, but it was also an especially nice day.

I've thought about walking a half marathon since I know I'm capable of at least 7 miles, but then the question always comes up in my mind:  Why on earth would I want to walk a half marathon?  That always ends the discussion.

I've also enjoyed John Grishom, Lee Childs, Ben Coes and others, but I'm always open to suggestions for new authors.  We're just coming up on prime summer walking months, and I've blown through most of these guys' stuff.  I got some great suggestions from colleagues in Elder Service Providers at a networking event last night, so I'll be checking out (literally) a few new ones. 

I'd love to hear about others worth listening too, so please leave me a comment with your favorite.  My only requirements are that it can't be boring or too violent (no more Harlan Coben).  

Besides the obvious health benefits from walking, and how great I feel when I do it, it's the fiction that really keeps me from getting bored.  I was going to try to end with a pun about 12 steps and walking, but sorry, I can't think of one.  Besides, the sun's coming out, I've got to go.

Travel tips

by Cindy Sherwin on 05/14/14

Now that summer is almost here, it's good to think about ways to minimize the risk of identity theft while travelling.  An article I recently read had some common sense suggestions, and some that I wouldn't have thought of.

Stopping your mail and newspaper (remember those?), or having a neighbor collect them, is always a good idea.  Not only does it keep unwanted hands off of your private information, it doesn't pile up as an advertisement that you are away.

Only take essentials with you in your wallet - maybe your driver's license and one or two credit cards.  Leave everything else safely at home, far away from pickpockets.  And never carry your social security card with you, even at home.

Don't access financial data on public wi-fi networks.  'Nuff said.

If you need to get cash from an ATM, the machines in bank lobbies are much safer, and less vulnerable to devices used to capture your card information.

Here's one I wouldn't have considered - If you're in a hotel and someone calls saying they are from the front desk and they need your credit card number again, hang up and call the front desk yourself.

Happy travels!

Top 10

by Cindy Sherwin on 10/07/13

Well, it looks like I'm a cold weather blogger.  With one of the most beautiful spring/summers we've had in years, I spent more time outside than at my desk, as do many Northwesterners.  Now that the rain is back, so is my blog.

An article caught my attention this morning "Top 10 Reasons to Buy Long Term Care Insurance".  I have my own top ten list, compiled over years of talking to people about their reasons for meeting with me.  It turns out that my top ten matches those listed in the article pretty closely.

Not surprisingly, "To protect assets" and "To relieve burden on family" top the list.  But even folks without a lot of assets to protect, or without family to lean on, have good reason to buy this protection.  Numbers 3 and 4 - "To get high quality care" and "To choose care and provider" are equally important.  Even if a client isn't that worried about blowing through their assets to pay for care, they will definitely want to choose where they will receive care and to have good quality caregivers. 

Most people want to stay in their own home when they start to need assistance.  If they are paying out of pocket for caregivers, they would have to budget an extra $3,000 a month to pay for about 30 hours a week of care.  For someone living on social security and investment income, that's a pretty huge chunk to come up with, on top of mortgage payments, food, medical, and other expenses.  If a long term care policy is in place, all they need to do is file a claim and that care will be paid for. (disclaimer - assuming the policy has a monthly benefit of at least $3,000)

Having a policy or not could mean the difference between being able to stay in the home or not.  If personal funds are used and run out (which they will quickly at that rate), then Medicaid, state assistance, may kick in.  At that point, the choice is no longer in the hands of the individual, but is dictated by Medicaid rules.

Check out the article at the link below for the other reasons.  (Spoiler alert - Number 5 is about staying in the home!)  Whichever reason(s) you may relate to, the thing to keep in mind is that you have to get the insurance when you are young enough and healthy enough to qualify.  Waiting until you need the insurance is like trying to get homeowner's insurance after your house is on fire. 

Don't Worry, Be Happy

by Cindy Sherwin on 04/02/13

Now that spring is here, it's a lot easier for most of us to be happy.  The sunshine and warmer days, the foliage popping out, and seeing neighbors who have been cooped up all winter, all contribute to cheerier outlooks.

According to an article in AARP magazine, there are ten factors that contribute to our overall happiness:
1. Where you live - There's a well-being index that I found online that shows which parts of the country, and even communities, have more potential happiness.  In the AARP article, they say that people are generally happiest in sunny areas, in the Pacific Northwest (an oxymoron?) and on the water.  Well, two out of three. . . 
2. Financial security - It goes without saying that money issues weigh heavily in the happiness quotient.  The thrill of buying something new goes away quickly, but financial security feels good forever.  The article suggests paying down a mortgage, saving for a rainy day, pay with cash, and invest in adequate health insurance.  (I'm sure they meant to say long term care insurance too!)
3. Get lots of sleep and eat a good breakfast.
4. Watch less TV - Apparently the happiest people watch less than an hour a day.  There is more authentic happiness in being with family and friends, or in hobbies.
5. Speaking of friends - get a daily dose. Having a strong social network is important, and be sure that network includes happy friends because that adds to your own happiness quotient. 
6. Be in a committed relationship - Easier said than done, but the outcome is less stress, living longer, and having fewer diseases.  Married people are twice as likely to be happy than non-married.
7.  Having a faith community - People who regularly attend their house of worship are less likely to engage in risky behaviors, have less stress, and have a built in social network (see #5).
8.  Create happy space in your home - Have a wall or area where you display treasures that make you smile every time you walk by.  It could be family photos, awards, mementos, or whatever makes you feel good.
9.  Have a pet - In a quoted study, pets were more effective than a spouse or friend in easing the effects of stress.
10. Have a passion for giving - Giving feels good and stimulates pleasure centers in the brain.  It doesn't have to be money either, it could be volunteering your time at a school, a cancer center, a senior center.

So there you have it, now go and be happy!

Long Term Care Insurance Specialist
(360) 647-2280
(360) 647-2280
email me