The Elder Care Firm October 2017

Plan. Protect. Preserve.

OFFICES: Brighton | Bloomfield Hills | Livonia | Novi


Given that we have

year I went as Merlin. I had a blue robe, a hat, a super long fake beard … the whole nine yards. The inspiration probably came from Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone” adaptation, and I think I pulled it off pretty well. Of course, Halloween is about candy just as much as it’s about costumes. When I was younger, my friends and I would travel to the subdivisions where the houses were closest together, maximizing our candy per hour income. After amassing our respective hauls, we’d head home. The first thing I would do was dump out all of my candy onto a table, dividing it into the good candy and the less- than-good candy. I mean, it was all sweets, so there wasn’t really a bad pile. My kids do the same thing today, and they even go so far as to trade away their least favorites with friends and classmates. I suppose the systematic way I approached Halloween may have been an indication of my future career. When I talk with clients, we always discuss their goals for later life and what’s important to them. Elder care planning is obviously a lot more complicated than optimizing candy intake while avoiding Good & Plentys. Early on, I caught on that the more planning you do, the better your outcome will be. When creating trusts and dealing with other aspects of elder law, asset protection is a huge concern. If you’re not diligent, assets can be lost to lawsuits and long-term care costs, or they can end up in

two young kids in my house, October is all about Halloween.

Ryan is 7 and Madison is, as she likes to say, 4¾, so they both get excited about dressing up and trick-or-treating. Honestly, my wife, Rochelle, and I are looking forward to it, as well. The kids’ anticipation is contagious, and we love going out alongside them. While we still haven’t decided on costumes this year, I remember the time we did themed father- son and mother-daughter outfits. Obviously, the kids were the decision-makers — otherwise Ryan and I might have ended up dressing as elder care attorneys. Madison suggested that she and Rochelle go as “sparkle witches,” which I thought was very creative. We got some great reactions from neighborhood families, so maybe it will become a Berry family tradition.

“When I was younger, my friends and I would travel to the subdivisions where the houses were closest together, maximizing our candy per hour income.”

probate. You also need to regularly review your plan and make necessary changes, just like you would alter your Halloween route to avoid dentists giving out toothbrushes. As a kid, I didn’t want even one piece of the good candy lost. Today, I take the same care with the assets of my clients. With careful, comprehensive elder law planning, you’ll end up with no tricks, only treats.

Halloween was one of my favorite holidays as a kid, so it’s not hard to understand my children’s enthusiasm. My best costume was probably the

– Christopher J. Berry

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Plan. Protect. Preserve.


Maybe your decades-old car finally bit the dust. Maybe your ride got totaled by a teenager on a smartphone. Or maybe you just want a new set of wheels. There are a lot of reasons why you may find yourself looking to buy a car, and there are a lot of questions to answer before you do. The first question is, did you plan for this expense? The average American buys a new car every seven to 10 years, so if you plan on 20 years of retirement, you need to factor in at least two car purchases during that time — and possibly more. The second question is the biggest one: Where’s the money going to come from? Most people, including most retired people, will finance their new car and trade in the old one. This is a good option for people with steady retirement income, such as those drawing a pension. But it might be harder

to get a loan if your income is less consistent, say, if you liquidate investment assets every month to pay the bills.

Third, could you just pay cash? Most of us don’t have buckets of the stuff lying around, but you can always tap into an IRA or other account for the money to buy a car. Try to do half in December and half in January to split the tax penalty between two years. You could also sell off two cars and use the money they generate to buy one, which will cut down on other car-related expenses as well. The last question is, what are the hidden costs? Maintenance and repairs are just par for the course, but they don’t tell you that as you age, your insurance premiums could go up, especially after that texting teenager T-boned you. Your retirement planner should have a big-picture idea of what you should plan and watch out for when you buy a car.


I think I hadn’t even left when I called to set up an appointment. They got me in the same week and had a follow-up meeting with my parents. “He got us signed up for VA benefits that my father, a WWII veteran, qualified for but didn’t even know existed. When he passed away in March, the team even made sure we received these benefits retroactively for a number of months. These benefits, along with the lady bird deed he set up on our family home, made a huge difference in our lives. He also set up power of attorney, which allowed me to make decisions on behalf of my parents. “Overall, I cannot recommend Chris Berry and the Elder Care Firm highly enough. They are experts, and they always put their clients first.” Jackie Herbert’s Story

“I cannot say enough good things about the work that Chris and the Elder Care Firm team did for my family. At the time when my family most needed a steady hand, Chris gave us options and resources I didn’t even know were available. “To give you a little background, after being retired for 30 years, my dad was in the hospital. At the same time, my mother had a stroke. During their retirement, they went through three motor homes, travelling across 47 states. They made the most of these years, but there wasn’t a lot of money left when they got sick. I was worried I would need to quit my job and sell their house in order to make sure they got care. “During this time, I went to an expo on elder law matters. Chris was the first speaker, and I made sure to sign up for his talk. The words that came out of his mouth were just what I needed to hear.

–Jackie Herbert

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From the moment you wake up in the morning, it feels like a dense fog fills your head. When you drag yourself out of bed and go to make yourself a plate of eggs and toast, it suddenly seems like a much more complicated task than before. You lose track of time, and the smell of smoke enters your nostrils. Frantically turning the burner off, it occurs to you that you can’t remember the day of the week. According to Time Magazine, 47 million people around the world live with some type of dementia. Typically, as we age, we’re told that all we can do is hope for the best and bide our time until there’s a cure, but recent research by the Alzheimer’s Research Center paints a different picture. A set of simple lifestyle changes may be the key to staving off cognitive decline as we get older. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 50 percent, according to Help Guide, and it can even slow the onset of already- present cognitive decline. Walk or swim for about 150 minutes each week, along with two to three sessions of moderate resistance training, as well as balance and coordination exercises. Check out for more info on staying active as you age. You May Be Able to Prevent Dementia Before It Starts 4Ways

Heart-healthy eating may also protect the brain. Limit your intake of sugar and saturated fats and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Replace butter and margarine with olive or canola oil. Two diets that have been linked to heart health are the DASH diet ( and the Mediterranean diet. Frequent social engagement may help keep your brain sharp. Make efforts to speak face to face with someone you’re close to as often as you can. Try to make new friends, volunteer, join a club or social group, get to know your neighbors, or connect with people over social media. Mental stimulation may also be important to brain health as we age. Study something new to you, such as a foreign language or a musical instrument. Make reading books and newspapers part of your regular routine. Try doing crossword or sudoku puzzles. It’s not difficult to find an activity you enjoy that will also help keep your brain active.

Chris’ Paleo Corner:


Thank You! For us to be able to help family and friends just like you, we depend on referrals. Thank you to the following people for your support!


1. Preheat oven to 415 F. 2. Cut acorn squashes in half and place on a baking sheet, open side down. 3. Bake for 20–25 minutes until soft to the touch. 4. When acorn squash has about 10 minutes left to cook, place large skillet over medium heat, with 2 tablespoons of fat, minced garlic, and diced onions. 5. Once onions become translucent, add pork sausage to pan and use wooden spoon to break into pieces and cook until completely cooked through. 6. When acorn squash is roasted and soft, scoop squash out of skin with spoon and place into food processor. 7. Add coconut milk and broth to food processor. Puree until smooth. 8. Add smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. 9. Place pureed soup in a bowl, top with sausage, and sprinkle with pepitas.


• 2 acorn squash, halved • 1½ pounds pork sausage • 1 yellow onion, diced • 1 garlic clove, minced • ½ cup canned coconut milk • ½ cup vegetable broth • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper • Salt and pepper, to taste • 2 tablespoons fat of choice • Pepitas, to garnish

Bryan Bradford Andrew Ceo Patricia Dyer Catherine Hahn Lisa Lukkari

Donald Milner Bruce Raymond Ron Schuler Jeffrey Smith

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Plan. Protect. Preserve.

8550 Grand River Ave., Ste. 200 Brighton, MI 48116 888-390-4360


INSIDE this issue

Wizards, Vampires, and Sparkle Witches PAGE 1 Tips for Buying a Car During Retirement PAGE 2

Spotlight on Our Clients PAGE 2

Can You Prevent Dementia Before It Starts? PAGE 3

Squash and Sausage Soup PAGE 3

The Origins of Fear PAGE 4


Where does fear come from? As the jack-o’-lanterns

A 1960 study, conducted by psychologists Gibson and Walk for Cornell University, sought to investigate depth perception in human and animal species. They suspended a sheet of transparent plexiglass about 4 feet off the ground and covered one half of it with a checkerboard-pattern cloth, creating a simulated cliff. Infants, both human and animal, were then encouraged by their caregivers, usually their mothers, to crawl off the “cliff” onto the clear half of the platform. Both avoided stepping over what they perceived as a sharp drop, and pre-crawling-age infants showed heightened cardiac distress on the “suspended” side.

show their grinning, glowing faces and skeletons, cobwebs,

and gravestones adorn yards around the

neighborhood, it’s a question hanging in many of our minds. When you recoil from the giant mechanical spider suspended above your neighbor’s garage, is that fear instinctual, or is it learned?

Coupled with this innate fear of plummeting to the ground is something called the Moro reflex, one

of several involuntary reflexes healthy newborn infants have at birth. Often called the “startle reflex,” it occurs when a baby is startled by a loud sound or movement, especially a falling motion. The reflex usually triggers the newborn to lift and spread their arms as if grasping for support, followed by crying. Though the Moro reflex usually disappears at around 5 to 6 months of age, our instinctive aversion to sudden loud noises stays with us throughout our lives.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, there are only two fears we inherit at birth: the fear of

falling and the fear of loud sounds.

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