Orlando Sentinel Community Calendar for March 2019

March 15th, 2019

There’s a lot to celebrate in March and with the beautiful weather, we enjoy here in Florida, getting out and having fun is just a way of life for us.  The calendar for the Orland0 Sentinel is filled to the brim with so many great suggestions, we just had to share them with you!

Take a look below at the events and we hope you can get out and enjoy at least some of the fun.  We’d love for you to share your pics of enjoying the festivities around town with us here!  Who knows, maybe we’ll feature your pic(s) on one of our upcoming newsletters!  So don’t be shy, go ahead and snap those photos!

3 Tips About DOWNSIZING DILEMMAS You Can’t Afford To Miss

March 8th, 2019

You’ve done it.  You’ve made the commitment to downsizing.  That was hard enough to do but what comes next can be downright daunting.  You have to actually do the downsizing.

While this part can become overwhelming quickly and get the best of you, there are strategies that can help you overcome downsizing dilemmas and achieve your goal of living a less cluttered and happier life.

Dilemma 1:  There’s Just So Much Stuff!

There you stand in your garage, attic or in front of the door of that closet so overstuffed you’re scared to open it and you just feel lost.

This is where you begin to feel overwhelmed, but now is definitely not the time to give up.  Just take a breath and apply this tip.

Start small.  Choose one closet or one drawer.  Sort, clean and immediately remove unwanted items from your home.

Do one smaller space, such as a drawer, each day and one bigger space, such as a closet, each weekend.  When you’re consistent with this, you’ll make great progress.

The key here is to continuously remove the items you don’t want or you will build up scattered piles of junk around your home, and we certainly don’t want that.

Make a habit of bringing a bag of removable items with you every time you leave the house.  You can bring those books you wish to donate to your local library with you when you have to return borrowed books or are going to be in the area of your library.  You can bring clothing to local drop-offs for shelters, thrift stores or VA organizations when you know you have the time to make the extra trip.

When you repeat these actions regularly you’ll form great habits for yourself.  This will not only help with your project of decluttering your home but will make keeping your home clutter-free second nature for you.  That’s called a win-win!

Dilemma 2:  But This Means So Much To Me!

You love it, but you don’t use it.  But you love it.  But you don’t use it.

This vicious circle can drag you down. You own something that is either truly sentimental or maybe reminds you of a special time in your life or that special someone who isn’t here anymore, but you don’t use it.

Really, it just sits there, taking up space and it’s such a wonderful thing that someone could put to good use.  The hard part is deciding who that someone could be and if it’s expensive, whether to sell it or gift it away.

Try this as a solution:  Give the things you care about the most to the people you care about the most.  When they use them (and they will) they’ll always think of you.  It’s part of how you carry on traditions or even create your own legacy.

Let’s say though that the item is very expensive and not that sentimental.  You also don’t want it to go to just one person.  You have a few people in mind for this item or even items.  What do you do?

Sell it and split the profits how you see fit among the people you wish to give it to.  Depending on how much money is involved, you may need to get a lawyer or accountant or Realtor involved to help you handle the sale and the best way to divide the monies you gain from the sale.

Dilemma 3: Hey, I need that…I think…or do I?

Oh boy, this one takes forethought and a bit of common sense to conquer.

That shirt you know you’re going to fit in again.  Those bright colored pants that will come back into style, someday.  The roadmaps of all the states that will come in handy when you finally take that cross country RV trip.  Those five toasters sitting in your garage…because, well, you know, toast.

Look, we’re all guilty of it.  We keep thing we don’t really need in the hopes that we’ll get good use out of them one day.  This makes us feel like we’re prepared for that someday.

The truth is, they’re just taking up space.  That shirt you want so desperately to fit in someday would be put to better use in a thrift store whose proceeds goes to help the homeless get back to work.  Those bright colored pants were never really in style.  Sorry, about that one, but it’s nearly always 100% true.  Feel free to follow us on Facebook and message us a photo to prove us wrong.  We’d love to see them.

There’s a Netflix show that’s brimming with popularity right now called,  ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’.  Mari Kondo, an organizer from Japan, goes to different homes to help people organize and declutter their lives.  She speaks of holding an item to see if it ‘sparks joy’ in your life.  Any item that sparks joy you keep.  Any item that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ goes into one of two piles, trash or donate.

It’s a very simple method, but oh so effective.  Another great tip; watch an episode or two of the show before you begin your downsizing.  It’s amazing and if you like her bright, pleasant personality, like the tens of millions of her devotees, you too will be going around your home seeing what ‘sparks joy’ and what doesn’t as soon as you finish watching.

The Other Side of Downsizing

Remember, the reason you’re downsizing is more important than the reason you’re keeping these items in the first place.  Maybe it’s creating space in your home.  Maybe you’re moving to a smaller home.  Maybe you’ve bought that RV and you are going to travel the continental US on that trip you’ve always said you’d make.

Whatever the reason, the other side of downsizing is a side that is less cluttered, more organized and cleaner looking home than what you’re staring with right now.  Take it easy, go step by step and apply these tips to overcome any downsizing dilemmas that may cross your path along the way.



Pass AOB Reform Now!

March 6th, 2019

Charles and Wendy Snellgrove of Clearwater shared their first-hand experiences with Assignment of Benefits (AOB) abuse related to repair work on their homes when they testified before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee yesterday. The Snellgroves encouraged lawmakers to pass AOB reform legislation this session.

The Snellgroves signed an AOB to repair a leak under their kitchen sink. They thought they were authorizing repair work to start but, in fact, were signing over control of their insurance policy to the restoration company. The company proceeded to gut their kitchen and charge their insurance company $26,000 for considerably more work than was necessary.

It turned out the leak was minor and did not justify removing the kitchen but, by then, it was too late. The Snellgroves tried to rescind the contract, but the water remediation company refused and sued them for breach of contract. In the end, it took the Snellgroves more than a year and a half to get their kitchen restored.

“It angers us tremendously that repair companies are using AOB to take advantage of people,’’ Charles Snellgrove said. “No one should have to go through what we did.’’

The consumers’ testimony was part of a workshop spread out over two full committee meetings to discuss AOB as it related to property and auto glass claims. Senator Doug Broxson, Chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, has introduced legislation – SB 122 – to address the awarding of attorney fees under insurance policies and contracts, which is fueling AOB abuse. AOB abuse has become a cottage industry for trial attorneys working in cahoots with shady vendors, including home restoration organizations, looking to make a quick buck.

The Consumer Protection Coalition, which is spearheaded by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, applauds Broxson and the Senate for their attention to this issue so early in the session and for recognizing the problem.


  1.  Thank Senator Doug Broxson for supporting AOB reform. Encourage him to stay strong and to help SB 122 pass this session.
  2.  Share this message with your friends and family, and encourage them to sign the petition seeking AOB reform.
  3. Like us on Twitter and Facebook.

This post is a di

March Newsletter

March 5th, 2019

5 Rheumatologist Tips for People With Osteoporosis

February 2nd, 2019

Right now, in your bones, a process called bone remodeling is occurring. In essence, cells in your bones remove old, weak bone and replace it with new, strong bone. Thanks to this normal process, every 10 years, you’ll have a brand new skeleton to support your body. However, sometimes this remove/replace system falls out of sync, and bone will be broken down faster than it’s rebuilt. Your bones naturally have spaces and holes inside them, but when more bone is removed than rebuilt, these spaces and holes grow too large. Your bones become weak and are more prone to fracture. When this happens, it’s known as osteoporosis. Many different things can cause the bones to weaken, including age, some medications, inflammatory diseases, and hormonal changes like menopause.

Fortunately, advances in osteoporosis research have opened up new treatments that can help keep bones strong and promote bone growth. As a rheumatologist for the past 18 years, it’s exciting to be able to offer these options to my patients and watch them get stronger and avoid breaking any bones. But managing osteoporosis isn’t just about medication. Here are the most common tips I share with patients for living well with osteoporosis.

1. Add calcium into your diet.

Calcium helps strengthen the bones, so it’s important for people with osteoporosis to make sure they’re getting enough of this nutrient. In the past few years, research has shown it’s best to get your calcium naturally through your diet, rather than from supplements. Foods high in calcium include dairy products like yogurt and cheese; leafy greens like kale and collard greens; beans and lentils; and seafood like sardines, salmon, and shrimp. Some people, however, have trouble getting their calcium from food and will want to take supplemental calcium tablets. Different kinds of tablets get absorbed differently by the body, so ask your doctor for his or her recommendation when it comes to choosing the right calcium supplement.

2. Get moving.

Along with diet, exercise is also crucial for managing osteoporosis. The more sedentary you are, the higher your risk for bone loss. I recommend patients get as much aerobic exercise as they can, whether it’s brisk walking, biking or time on the elliptical. Anything that gets your heart pumping will be helpful. These exercises are beneficial for osteoporosis patients since they help build and maintain bone density.

3. Quit smoking and limit alcohol.

Smoking is a major risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fracture, so if your bones have already started to weaken, it’s important to stop smoking. Studies have found a direct relationship between tobacco use and weak bones, and it can also negatively impact how well your bones heal after a fracture. Ecessive alcohol hurts bone health as well, since it reduces how much calcium your body can store and can increase your risk for falls. Chronic heavy drinking can also cause hormone deficiencies, which can also increase osteoporosis and fracture risk.

4. Be prepared for doctor’s appointments.

One of the hardest parts of my job is the limited amount of time I get to spend with my patients. This can be frustrating for both parties. I encourage my patients to use their appointment time wisely. Come prepared with questions you’d like answered, and keep a daily or weekly log of symptoms you can reference during your time in the doctor’s office. It’s also important to find a doctor you really connect with, who is available by email or phone when you need guidance in between appointments.

5. Trust your doctor’s treatment advice.

It’s important to develop an open, trusting relationship with your doctor. Make sure you find someone you’re comfortable with, who will listen to your concerns and take them seriously. But you as the patient should also have an open mind and understand that, while the doctor is there to help you, he or she might not always agree with your opinions. As a rheumatologist, I’m dedicated to my patients. I try to keep up with the latest data and read rigorously peer-reviewed journals in order to know what’s best for my patients. That’s why I cultivate a trusting relationship with them, so they feel confident in my guidance and make changes to control their osteoporosis and live healthier lives.

Dr. Allen Anandarajah is a board-certified rheumatologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He directs the Early Arthritis Clinic at URMC and has also authored several journal articles and textbook chapters focusing on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

THIS CONTENT DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This content is provided for informational purposes and reflects the opinions of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding your health. If you think you may have a medical emergency, contact your doctor immediately or call 911.


Dr. Allen Anandarajah, MD

Dr. Allen Anandarajah is a board-certified rheumatologist and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He directs the Early Arthritis Clinic at URMC and has also authored several journal articles and textbook chapters focusing on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.


February Newsletter

February 2nd, 2019

5 Helpful Tips for Your Downsizing Strategy.

February 1st, 2019

Having an organized, sorted and manageable house is something many people strive for, but not all of us achieve.  Do you look longingly at those wonderfully designed, organized homes where the golden rule is, ‘a place for everything and everything in it’s place.’

When thinking of the reality of downsizing, the entire task can be a bit scary.  Taking what you own from the level it’s at today to a much smaller amount can scary and overwhelming for most people.

Short of doing the work for you, we have some tips that can help you tackle downsizing with a clever plan so you too can enjoy living in well-designed home.

Tip One: Have a Strategy

Write down your overall goal.  What is it you want to accomplish.  Do you want to get rid of everything in your garage and that spare bedroom?  Are you tackling every room in the house?

Whatever it is, once you’ve written it, you can then focus on the details.  Start by breaking down the work into manageable pieces. Assign a timeframe to each portion of the task.  Go through the house one room at a time, or even one drawer at a time, deciding what stays and what goes.

Make it manageable and break the sorting process down into smaller pieces. Go through the house one room at a time, or even one drawer at a time, deciding what stays and what goes.

Finish each project before tackling anything new.

Once you have your overall goal, your plan, and your lists, you can take action. Remember as you go along to finish each project before tackling anything new.

Tip Two:  Avoid Burnout by Tackling Small Tasks

Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by trying to focus on your entire home and property all at once. Developing a strategy that works for you and sticking with it will help make downsizing a more manageable process.

Go room by room, create an inventory list and move on. This is not the time to sit and stare lovingly at that wood carving you picked up at a yard sale in 1983. Write it down and get on to the next item.

Squirrel! Don’t let yourself be the dog easily distracted by the backyard rodent. If you start in one bedroom, finish it before you move on to another. Bouncing around will not only slow you down, but it can also lead to organizational mishaps down the road.

Tip Three:  Do Not Downsize In One Day

You’ve spread out the tasks, remember to spread out the time.

It is going to be emotionally and physically demanding enough without trying to rush the process.  It is best to schedule times to downsize (depending on your physical capabitilites) that are no more than six hours at a time because any more than this and the whole process can become overwhelming or too stressful.

Maybe your health (and back) and stamina level allows you to handle more, by all means, do what you can.

Make sure you have the following things handy as you start the downsizing process:

  • An area to separate keep items, discards, give-aways, and things to donate
  • Helpers for lifting/carrying/sorting
  • Boxes, labels/permanent markers, scissors, and packing tape
  • Easy access to important/valuable items
  • Snacks and water (don’t forget to stop for meals and a long rest at least twice a day)

Tip Four:  It’s Ok to Ask for help. 

Know what your capabilities are physically and financially and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family, friends and close neighbors are a great place to start.  Other resources in your area can be your doctor’s office or even the good folks at your local library.

When you ask, communicate clearly the best ways for them to help. Do you need help moving things into the area you’ve delegated as the separation area?  Maybe you need assistance in getting items to local charities for donating.

Tip Five:  Get creative about letting go of things you won’t need.

Once you decide what to keep, it’s time to decide how to get rid of what goes. It can be expensive to have things hauled away, she says, so explore other ideas. For example, consider having an open house where friends and family come and take things that are still useful but that you may not need anymore.

Know that emotions are OK. Moving can be a particularly hard time emotionally for anyone, and it’s important to know that it’s normal to feel this, says Robbins. “It’s OK to grieve, it’s OK to be sad and afraid.” Acknowledging the emotional component gives closure to the memories of the house you’re leaving behind and lets you feel more settled in your new home, she says.

Get Help and Guidance

Because so many items have an emotional tie, it’s been very helpful to have objective view points from others.

Final Take -Away

You’re only a well-laid plan and some action steps away from living a less-cluttered, well-organized life.  When the dust settles, we promise you really won’t miss what you gave away but you’ll feel more at peace.

Afterall, isn’t that whole reason for downsizing, to make us feel better about the space we live in.

This Does Not Need to Happen to YOU!

January 24th, 2019

When I begin my Seminars one of the questions I ask is “Why are you here at this Seminar”? 2 of the 3 answers I typically hear back are—-“I am afraid of being taken advantage of”—! They attend not only to be Informed and Educated but most of all they want to make sure they are Protected.

I am beginning my 3rd year with the Smarter Senior Seminar Series that is designed to Protect, Inform and Educate Seniors and Active Adults. These events are held at 4 Orange County Libraries in Orange County and the topics are as follows for 2019: What you should know about Aging in Your Home, Health, Downsizing, Legal, Senior Living Options, Senior Living Affordability, Senior Scams I and Senior Scams II. I recently added Senior Scams II this year simply because the increased attendance with Senior Scams I. There is a lot of curiosity for Seniors and Active Adults to learn more about Scams that could ultimately affect them.

I am a Real Estate Agent here in Orlando, Florida covering Orange, Osceola, Seminole and the Eastern part of Lake Counties. My name is Mike Flahaven with “yourfloridahaven” brokered by EXP Realty but I am a DIFFERENT type of Real Estate Agent. I am a Certified Senior Housing Professional who guides Seniors & Active Adults with Downsizing Solutions while Connecting them and their families with Trusted Resources and Services. Over the past 5 years I have built a list of Trusted Resources that share the same passion I have to Help protect Seniors while insuring that they are NOT taken advantage of.

What follows is a horrible situation that if I was contacted would have never happened to this elderly couple.

This couple has NO immediate family close by and lived in a gated community located in Orlando. With most Seniors they started encountering some health issues and while both were struggling, they needed some additional help.

They were connected with a Caregiver who was Independent, not Licensed and was not affiliated with any Licensed Firm. Not only was she not Licensed she was not Insured. She started taking care of this couple and as time went on became a full time Caregiver for them. She built trust with this couple who provided her an hourly rate, a credit card at Walmart for incidentals and home needs that was presented and paid by the couple every month. There was out of state family who checked in on them periodically. After a year the niece received a call from the Aunt who said—GET US OUT OF HERE—! Immediately the Niece and Husband journeyed to Orlando to discover a shocking situation.  They discovered that they were both in diapers, over medicated to the point they were delirious and ultimately scammed by this Caregiver.

After the niece and husband were involved and they had time to assess the situation they moved them closer to them where they are now safe. What was discovered initially is that the Caregiver took them for about 80K, had both of them wearing diapers daily, changed all of their doctors they had over time with new doctors along with changing their medications to the point that they were in a delirious state daily. To quote the niece “she tried to kill them”.

Now they are settled but the niece is struggling to get them into a great Senior Community as she had difficulty getting the correct health records because of the switch the caregiver made with the doctors here in Orlando. They are NO longer wearing the diapers and are becoming day by day more coherent.

To share how brazen this Caregiver is she demanded over the phone from the niece monies owed  to the tune of 6K and demanded a testimonial or recommendation of nothing less than being of stellar performance.

I share this story because this is why my Seminars are designed to connect Seniors and Active Adult families with Trusted Resources and Services. There are 10,000 people turning 62 every day and that will continue to the year 2032 which means that there are going to be more and more individuals trying to take advantage of this vulnerable group of Seniors. I like to believe that I am the Connector of Trust for this demographic. I see it happen every day with A/C companies, Roofers, Electricians, Handymen, Caregivers, Home Care Health, Attorneys, Real Estate Investors, Financial Planners, Assisted Living Communities and the list goes on.



January Newsletter

January 18th, 2019

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Inexpensive but Wonderful Holiday Events Around Orlando

December 22nd, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Though it doesn’t snow in Florida (well usually) we Floridians never let that deter us from getting into the holiday spirit, after all, when you live near places like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, whipping up snow is easy as pie.  The best part of this snow is that you don’t need to shovel it!

Speaking of snowflakes, our wonderful city beautiful has as many diverse celebrations of the holidays as there are unique patterns in snowflakes.

It’s a treat to explore all the creativity, splendor and beauty that abounds right outside your door.

Here’s a list of what’s happening now:

Holiday Lights

Lake Eola

 The Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree comes alive with a synchronized light and music show every night at: 5:45 p.m.; 6:45 p.m.; 7:45 p.m.; 8:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.

Saturday, December 1 – Saturday, December 30, 2018

Deck the Downtown
Downtown Orlando

 The Downtown Orlando Partnership, Downtown Arts District Orlando, Church Street District, Thornton Park District and Downtown Development Board are hosting “Deck the Downtown” December 1 – 31. Throughout this time, Downtown Orlando businesses will be “decked-out” with festive lights and window decorations. A map will guide residents and guests as they walk the streets of Downtown, enjoying the creativity and holiday spirit of each of the participating business locations. Deck the DTO location maps can be found online atwww.deckthedto.com.

Lake Mary
Close to a million lights dance to music in the park every evening in downtown Lake Mary. Shows every half hour, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Downtown Orlando for the Holidays
The Eola Wonderland 72–foot Christmas tree will come alive with a synchronized light and music show while the Lake Eola fountain displays red, green and gold lights to celebrate the holiday season.

Cranes Roost Lights
Dec. 1 – Jan. 1
Cranes Roost park comes alive with over 100 spectacular holiday displays featuring over 200,000 lights and a 60-foot tree decorated with 8,000 lights, 2,600 ornaments and over one mile of garland. Lights go on nightly at dusk. Holiday Fountain Show 6pm-9pm every hour.

Mount Dora
The quaint downtown and Donnelly Park are perfectly decorated in 2 million sparkling lights for the season.

Jeater Bend Drive
Nightly now – Jan. 1, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
11 homes featured on the show, The Great Christmas Light Fight.

2nd Annual Holiday Train Lights
Select weekend evenings, Dec. 14 – Dec. 23
RC&G Railroad, Osceola. Parking is $10 per car.

Oh What Fun! Lake Nona Holiday Festival
Thursdays – Sundays, now through December 30
Lake Nona Town Center
Free event with live performances, free outdoor movies, ice skating, festive food, snow fall, and more.

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland Events
Now through December 30
Wekiva Island in Longwood
Enjoy a snow slide, snow flurries, free movies, visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more. Free during the week, $1 admission on weekends.

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
Now through January 6
Catch the spirit of the season without a theme park admission. Follow the Christmas Tree trail to discover 27 trees decorated with a different Disney character or theme.


Events of the Season

Saturday, December 22, 2018

7:30 p.m. – The Nutcracker, performed by the Russian Ballet Orlando
Walt Disney Amphitheater, Lake Eola Park

 The Russian Ballet Orlando will perform Tchaikovsky’s arrangement of the Nutcracker live, featuring unforgettable characters, dazzling costumes, onstage blizzards and timeless choreography.

Snow in Celebration
Now through December 31
The town transforms with holiday experiences throughout the month including live performances, snow falling nightly every hour, horse drawn carriages, train rides, a synthetic ice rink, and a Santa meet and greet.

Light Up UCF
Now through January 1
Free fun for all ages including a holiday light show and FREE film festival on select Friday and Saturday nights featuring classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Elf.” On select nights, Santa will make a special appearance. Ice skating $12 (discounts available for students and military).

Santa’s Winter Wonderland Village
Select days, Dec. 7 – Jan. 6
Waterford Lakes Town Center
Christmas lights, holiday displays, a Santa’s Workshop and unique European amusement rides.

Friday Nights at the Morse
Fridays, 4pm-8pm
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Free admission to the museum with live music, tours, and art demonstrations.

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro
Now through Dec. 24
FREE 4×6 studio-quality photo with Santa, games and fun activities.

Mall at Millenia Santa Experience
Now through Dec. 24
Meet Santa and take a photo using your own device with a $10 donation to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.

Meet Santa at the Eola House
Share your wishlist with Santa at the Eola House in downtown Orlando weekend evenings through December 23.