QUARTER 1 2020
FROM BANGKOK, TO ICELAND, TO KATHMANDU The Adventure of a Lifetime
As much as it pains me to acknowledge it, I am no longer a young law school graduate who can travel the world on a whim. Running a law firm takes a lot of time and dedication, and while I wouldn’t give it up for the world, there’s a part of me that wants to get out and have some of those adventures I used to have back when I first got out of school. Jan. 13 is “Make Your Dream Come True” Day, and that got me thinking: If time and money were no object, what dream would I make a reality? The answer was easy — I would backpack from Kathmandu to the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal. This dream is the culmination of a lot of past desires and experiences. Two friends of mine, Nate and Cara, have been living the dream and traveling the world full time for a living. About a year ago, they did this hike, from Kathmandu to the base of Mount Everest. They lived off what they could carry in their backpacks for two weeks, visited remote villages along the path, and ascended to altitudes so immense that they had to stop every 5,000 meters and allow their bodies to acclimate. They posted daily videos of their trek on Instagram, and it looked like an adventure I would love. When I was younger, I did a lot of trekking, hiking, and backpacking in different parts of the world. Shortly after I graduated from law school, I was flying from New York to Los Angeles to see one of my best friends appear on Wheel of Fortune (but that’s another story). On the plane, I sat next to
a man who was a management expert of some sort, and I am not exaggerating when I say that I cannot name a country he had not spent a considerable amount of time in. After hearing about some of his experiences, I asked him where he would go if he could go anywhere in the world. He told me he would visit Thailand for its natural beauty, diverse cultures, and inexpensive tourism opportunities. I was sold. The next time I saw my friends, I asked any of them if they would go to Thailand with me. Three of them said they would, and soon we were all in Bangkok with no plan, waiting to see where the winds of adventure would take us. That was kind of how I always traveled soon after that. I would buy a plane ticket and then figure out where I would stay and what I would do once I got there. I would talk to other travelers about what they had done and take their advice. I traveled in ways that might not have been the safest, and my lodgings were many times off the beaten path, but I loved every second of it. This trek in Nepal would combine all the things I’ve loved about my travel experiences so far. There’s not too much of an itinerary, and there’s a lot of trekking. While I think actually climbing Mount Everest is just crazy, I found I greatly enjoyed trekking after a hike my husband and I did in Iceland two years ago. It was 15 miles, and since we had both run half-marathons (13.1 miles), we figured 15 miles walking couldn’t be that hard. It turned out to be extremely challenging, but the
unbelievable natural beauty made it worth it. That trip partly inspired us to try to do the Nepal trip later on. While I might not be able to just disappear into another culture for a month whenever I want anymore, I hope those adventures are a part of my future, as well as a part of my past. In the meantime, I look forward to another year of helping clients and doing the work I love. -Fiona Van Dyck
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SOCIAL SECURITY IN 2020
KnowWhat ’s Changing
If you’re in the appropriate age bracket, Social Security may play a major role in your finances. So, it’s important to know how Social Security will be changing in 2020.
taking some benefits at age 62, but they’ll be at reduced monthly payments.
COST OF LIVING
Low inflation means that Social Security benefits will only see a minor cost of living increase. This year, it’s expected to be around 1.6%. It’s not major, but if you’re living off Social Security alone, every penny is important.
Unless Congress takes some drastic actions in the coming months, the current excess trust fund revenue will be depleted by the year 2034. If that happens, Social Security will only be able to pay 79% of the promised benefits from ongoing payroll taxes. You may need to think about what your financial plan would be like with 21% less income.
Those near the top of the Social Security income scale in 2019 will see an increase in their maximum payout in 2020. The maximum payout for an individual will be capped at $2,861 per month. That translates to $34,332 per year, so consider how that may impact your finances.
How much your benefits are taxed depends on your household income levels. For example, 50% of your benefits will be taxed if you make between $25,000–$34,000 individually or $32,000–$44,000 for married couples. If you’re above that income bracket, then 85% of your benefits will be taxable.
If you haven’t reached retirement yet, this one is important to consider. If you were born after 1959, the full retirement age is now 67 for you. You’ll still be able to start
HOW TO CELEBRATE CAREGIVERS ON CAREGIVER APPRECIATION DAY Don’t Let Their Work Go Unappreciated
While you might not have heard of it, March 3 is a very important day for millions of Americans. It’s one of two days throughout the year (the other being Nov. 13) designated as Caregiver Appreciation Day. If you know any caregivers, you know they deserve way more than just two days a year to appreciate the work they do. But for now, March 3 is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for the sometimes unpaid and often thankless job caregivers take on. Here are a few ideas for caring for the caregivers you know.
this person, ask them if they would like help writing a letter to their caregiver, thanking them for everything that they do. The time and love that goes into a well written letter, especially from their care recipient, will really show that they’re appreciated — especially if it’s not especially easy for their care recipient to write or dictate a letter.
GIVE THEM THE DAY OFF
As much as gifts and letters can mean to a caregiver, sometimes they might just appreciate a break. Ask them if there’s a way you can help them take a day away from their caregiver responsibilities, either by stepping into the caregiving role yourself or by finding others to help out. That way, your caregiver friend can take a day to catch their breath and come back knowing that their work doesn’t go unnoticed. To all the caregivers reading this, we at Van Dyck Law want to say thank you for all the work you do. It means the world to the loved ones that you care for and to millions of others as well.
GIVE THEM A MEANINGFUL GIFT
Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or a fancy dinner, gifting a meaningful item or experience to the caregivers you know goes a long way toward showing them that they are appreciated. Take some time to find out the places the caregiver you know enjoys visiting, their favorite foods, or their favorite activities.
HELP THEIR CARE RECIPIENT WRITE THEM A LETTER
Chances are, the first person to recognize the important work that a caregiver does is the person that they’re caring for. If you know
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Caregivers: Start the Year Off Right
By Marking These Seminars on Your Calendar
If you’re a caregiver for an elderly parent or loved one, you won’t want to miss out on the presentations and seminars the Van Dyck Law Education Center is offering over the next couple of months. Caregiving is a huge responsibility, and no one should feel like they are unprepared or uninformed while they try their best to make their loved one comfortable and content. If you want more information on how to be an effective caregiver, don’t miss out on these upcoming events.
important to establish boundaries with your loved ones — so you can continue meeting their needs in the long term. Find out more on how to do this effectively on Feb. 12 in a seminar presented by Deb Hallisey from Advocate for Mom and Dad.
CAREGIVER RESOLUTIONS — A TO-DO LIST FOR THE NEW YEAR
The new year has begun, and in the midst of all the changes some people are making to their diet and exercise routine, why not check out Sheli Monacchio’s presentation on resolutions for caregivers on Jan. 8? Sheli is a certified dementia practitioner, and she’ll be able to guide you through some steps you can take to get a fresh start on caregiving in 2020.
STRATEGIES FOR COPING WITH CAREGIVER STRESS
Not only does caregiving wear you out physically but it also takes a toll on your mental and emotional health. Resilient caregivers should now the best methods for coping with the stress of taking care of an elderly loved one with dementia and other disabilities. On March 12, Sheli Monacchio will go over some of these methods in a seminar you won’t want to miss.
SETTING BOUNDARIES WHILE CAREGIVING
Being a caregiver is physically taxing. Not only do you have to make sure you’re taking care of your elderly loved one’s needs, but you have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. That’s why it’s
All seminars run from 9–11:30 a.m. Seating is limited, so RSVP to Sheli at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to see you there!
How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Upcoming E D U C A T I O N CENTER EVENTS
Inspired by NourishedKitchen.com
INGREDIENTS • 2 lbs cabbage • 4 tsp fine sea salt
DIRECTIONS 1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Slice very thinly. 2. In a large bowl, combine cabbage and salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. 3. Squeeze cabbage to release juices. Let the cabbage continue to soak and release juices for another 20 minutes. 4. Transfer to a jar and press down cabbage until completely submerged in its juices. Weigh down cabbage. 5. Seal jar with airlock. Let cabbage sit at room temperature and away from sunlight for one month. Once fermented, transfer to the fridge. Sauerkraut will keep for six months to one year. EQUIPMENT • Jar • Lid with airlock • Something to weigh down cabbage, ideally made of a nonreactive material like glass
Caregiver Resolutions: To-Do List for the New Year Presented by: Sheli Monacchio, Certified Dementia Practitioner
Setting Boundaries While Caregiving Presented by: Deb Hallisey from Advocate for Mom and Dad
Strategies of Coping with Caregiver Stress Presented by: Sheli Monacchio, Certified Dementia Practitioner
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Hiking From Kathmandu to Mount Everest: My Dream Trip
Changes to Social Security in 2020 Celebrating Caregivers on Caregiver Appreciation Day
What’s New at the Education Center? How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut
Natural Ways to Ease Sinus Congestion
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR STUFFY NOSES Don’t Let Congestion Get the Best of You
FLUSH YOUR NASAL PASSAGE
Nasal congestion can have many different causes, including allergies, colds, or the flu, but the symptoms are often very similar: sinus pressure, headaches, and a stuffed-up nose. This is the result of membranes in your nasal passage becoming irritated and your body responding by producing mucus to try and flush out the irritants. Unfortunately, that response also causes nasal congestion. This is intensified by winter weather when dry air and heaters can further dry out your already irritated nasal passage. So, what is the best way to ease nasal congestion and sinus pressure? Try these at-home remedies that focus on moistening your nasal passage.
vaporizer when you sleep. You may also find a warm compress helps ease congestion: Soak a washcloth in warm water mixed with a couple of drops of eucalyptus essential oil (consult the oil distributor for the exact ratio), then place the washcloth over your nose and cheeks for several minutes. Drinking plenty of water and sleeping upright at night can also help ease further congestion. While over-the-counter decongestants can temporarily help ease congestion, they are not intended for long-term use and may further dry out the nasal passage. Adding and maintaining moisture is the best way to prevent or ease sinus congestion. If the problem persists, talk to your doctor.
Use a saline nasal spray or a nasal irrigator, like a neti pot, to flush and moisturize your nasal passage. These devices flush out allergens and keep your nasal passage moist, easing congestion and preventing further buildup. When using a neti pot or other nasal irrigator, always use sterile, distilled water or water that has been boiled and cooled.
Humidifiers add moisture into the air, creating a more humid environment, and can be especially helpful if you have a forced-air heating system. Try using a humidifier or
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