If Cancer is a Gift, Where is the Return Counter?

Dr. Mindy Greenstein is a psycho-oncologist, a mental health therapist who has devoted her professional life to easing the emotional pain of cancer patients and their loved ones. She knows first-hand what she’s talking about – she is herself a survivor of breast cancer. For her, the cancer diagnosis “liberated her from the fear of her own mortality.” This freedom in turn allowed her, over time, to view cancer as something useful, even as it was sometimes awful.

The value of what Dr. Greenstein does, leading individual and group therapy sessions, is similar to what we do here at The Gathering Place. We may not be able to take your pain away, but we could help your recovery with our holistic emphasis on body, mind and spirit. We agree with the doctor’s philosophy: do more of what makes you feel better, do less of what makes you feel bad.

Dr. Greenstein remembers a time in her journey when she felt broken, when she cried, “I can’t do this.” Check out her books, the writing of which she now sees as the reason she went through cancer.

Participate in any of our programs and services at The Gathering Place, all at no charge, to learn the powerful lesson of how being able to confront our fears can let us live a more authentic life.

Gatthering Place PhotoMindy Greenstein, PhD is a clinical psychologist and cancer psychologist, as well as a writer, mother, and two-time breast cancer survivor. She works as a consultant to the geriatric group in the Department of Psychiatry at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where she serves as the Chief Clinical Fellow and helped develop Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy.

Books by Mindy Greenstein, PhD

House on Crash CornerThe House on Crash Corner… And Other Unavoidable Calamities
The House on Crash Corner and Other Unavoidable Calamities is about the sad, hilarious and meaningful ways we deal with the crises in our lives. You can’t spell joy without the oy. True stories range from growing up in Brooklyn as the Yiddish speaking daughter of Holocaust survivors, to my work with cancer patients, to life as a mom of two young boys, to becoming a cancer patient myself.

Lighter As We Go- Virtues, Character, Strengths and AgingLighter As We Go: Virtues, Character, Strengths and Aging
The fears of aging have been one long cascading domino effect through the years. Research shows that having a bad attitude toward aging when we’re young is associated with poorer health when we’re older. Lighter as We Go introduces compassion, justice, community, and culture to help calm our cascading fears of aging.

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What Type of Tax Professional Should You Work With?

By Dawn J. Hryshko, CPA

Although there are several professionals that may prepare tax returns, there are varying levels of expertise and differences in capabilities that should be considered. Before you pay for tax advice and services, ask the advisor about their credentials and abilities as it relates to potential tax benefits and penalties to meet your specific goals.

Who do you currently work with?

  • A tax preparer
  • An enrolled agent
  • A certified public accountant (CPA)
  • A tax attorney

A tax preparer can be anyone you know. Yes, even you can be a tax preparer! There is no formal education required and no federal governance to ensure a tax preparer has the qualifications to prepare tax returns for others. Most big box tax preparation firms fall into this category.

An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service with no minimum education requirements. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards to a person who either passes a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee.

Individuals who obtain this status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and CPAs, have unlimited practice rights; which means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in accounting (which equates to 5 years of college) and pass the CPA exam. Each state governs the requirements for passage of the CPA exam; however, a CPA may work in every state with one license, which helps the taxpayer since the CPA should be well versed in that state’s tax laws as well. Once the CPA certificate is obtained, the CPA must obtain 40 hours of continuing education every year thereafter in order to maintain their license. Many CPAs obtain a Masters in Taxation which enhances their knowledge of tax laws and regulations.

A CPA will not only prepare and file tax returns directly with the IRS, but will also implement tax planning strategies to minimize future taxes, including retirement planning, estate planning, education planning, and business planning. CPAs can be well versed in several areas of taxation and tax law, or may focus on a specialty.

Like CPAs, a tax attorney requires a stringent amount of minimum education requirements and ongoing tax law education, where some even obtain the CPA. They must earn a bachelor’s degree, plus complete law school to obtain a JD, and pass the bar exam. Passing the bar exam means the candidate can practice law in that state only. While some states have transfer agreements, lawyers may need to pass the bar exam for every state in which they intend to practice. An attorney must obtain continuing education in order to maintain their license, which is determined by the state in which they hold their license. Law school graduates may consider enrolling in a 1-year (Masters of Law) LL.M. program in taxation in which they focus on a more specialized area of taxation, such as estate planning, rather than being a tax generalist.

While tax attorneys do not typically file tax returns, they can file lawsuits on behalf of their clients, including cases with the IRS and can represent clients on legal issues including collections, audits, appeals, and payment plans.

Each tax situation is unique. Interview your advisor and ask questions about their experience and credentials. Choosing the right professional will save you time, money and headaches while keeping you on track for your financial future.

Hryshko & Associates was established as a full service boutique CPA firm catering to the sophisticated needs of our clients. We strive to strike the perfect balance between small, local, attentive service and professional experience and expertise.

Dawn Hryshko, owner, has over 25 years of tax and business consulting experience with both public, privately held, and family-owned entities. She was the Tax Director of a multi-billion dollar real estate company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Dawn spent 19 years in Public Accounting, starting at a Big 8 firm in Cleveland, where she specialized in tax consulting for businesses in the real estate and construction industries. Dawn also served on many boards and committees throughout her career while being a dedicated mother of four children.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.21.10 AMDawn J. Hryshko, CPA
Hryshko & Associates

How to Look & Feel Years Younger to Live An Active Full Life

By Jeff Tomaszewski, Chief Life Transformer, MaxStrength Fitness

Fitness trends come and go, but weight training in particular never seems to come into style. Part of the problem is that most people associate it with bodybuilding culture and women in particular are reluctant to join the guys at the back of the gym. But as the latest studies show, strength is a key factor in longevity and an extended healthy life. And in fact, resistance training may be the single most important thing you can add to your fitness regimen. Here’s how getting stronger will help you enjoy your life to the fullest as you age!

Gradual muscle decline
Simply put, we get physically weaker as we get older. Most people tend to reach the apex of their physical strength during their 20s and 30s, and it gradually declines from there. Exceptions to this rule exist, however, including genetic outliers and people who begin their resistance training later in life.

But once our strength starts to go, so do other things. For most people, extreme declines in strength tend to happen in their 80s and 90s. Frailty as a condition results in lower levels of physical activity, decreased muscle strength, increased fatigue, slower walking speed, and unwanted weight loss. It’s also associated with adverse health outcomes, an increased dependency on others, decreased mobility, disability, institutionalization, and even mortality. Weaker elderly people also tend to fall more frequently and have greater difficulty standing from sitting or lying positions.

Gerontologists place the blame on our defective mitochondria—the powerhouses of our cells. As we age, our mitochondria start to degrade, resulting in weaker cells and muscle fibers. We experience this as decreased levels of endurance, strength, and function.

Muscular strength and longevity
As a consequence of all this, muscular weakness is indelibly tied to not just our quality of life, but our life expectancy as well. And the science proves this. Two recent studies published in the British Medical Journal revealed that muscular strength is a remarkably strong predictor of mortality—even after adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness and other health factors.

This conclusion was reached after an analysis of over 30 studies that recorded physical attributes like bench press strength, grip strength, walking speed, chair rising speed, and standing balance. What the researchers found was that poor performance on any of the tests was associated with higher all-cause mortality, anywhere from a 1.67 to a threefold increase in the likelihood of earlier mortality.

Now, here’s the good news: To a non-trivial degree, and despite the inexorable effects of aging, physical strength is an attribute we can control. As the science is increasingly showing, resistance training can literally add years to your life, and the earlier you get to it, the better.

Resistance training and rejuvenation
Weight training offers innumerable positive effects on our physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Taken as a whole, exercise has been shown to add between six and seven years to a life span, if not more.

Hit the weights, everyone
As these studies indicate, not all exercise is equal. Resistance training (like lifting weights), in conjunction with high intensity workouts (like aerobics and running), are key. And it’s never too late to start; and yes, ladies, this means you, too. (“Bulking up” is a myth; moreover, it’s arguably more important for women to lift weights on account of a higher propensity for osteoporosis). Seniors also need to lift weights. Actually, they really need to lift weights.

Studies show that elderly people still experience the benefits of gene shifting, even if they’ve never lifted weights before. It also results in an increased production of growth hormone and testosterone, and lower levels of dangerous cholesterol. It can also stave off the awful effects of neurodegenerative disorders and depression.

If you haven’t yet started a strength training program and would like to reap all of the benefits above by only spending 20 minutes twice a week, go to www.maxstrengthfitness.com or call us at 440.835.9090 to request your FREE initial consultation and demo workout TODAY!

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Max Strength Fitness

ProstateHealthGuide.org Launched for Prostate Health Month

The Go-To Resource for Prostate Health

Presented by Men’s Health Network (MHN)

(Washington, DC) – Men’s Health Network has launched a new website in celebration of Prostate Health Month this September. The website- www.prostatehealthguide.com  -will serve as the go-to resource for men wanting to learn more about prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostatitis. This interactive site also has special sections for Prostate Health Month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and a section For Women who want to learn more about supporting a male loved one suffering from a prostate-related disease.

“We are excited to launch the Prostate Health Guide this September during Prostate Health Month,” said Brandon Leonard, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Men’s Health Network. “We believe this will be a valuable tool for men and their loved ones who want to learn more about prostate health issues, and can help start important discussions between men and their health care providers.”

The Prostate Health Guide will be the first point of information for many men as they learn about prostate health issues. Users can easily navigate in-depth sections on risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, and more for each of the prostate conditions represented on the site. Since prostate health is a sensitive issue for many men, the site will allow initial research to be conducted privately in preparation for a visit with their healthcare provider.

Even though prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, men and women alike remain poorly informed about this important disease,” said Jean J. E. Bonhomme, MD, MPH, member of MHN Board of Directors and National Black Men’s Health Network founder. “African American men and men with a family history are at exceptionally high risk. Caught early, prostate cancer often can be managed and successfully treated, For this reason, this new online resource providing education and advice is a welcome and long overdue advance for men and those who care about them.”

The Prostate Cancer Awareness Month page features links to many of the organizations involved in prostate cancer awareness in the USA and other countries, and also offers valuable tools for those interested in promoting prostate health awareness. Advocacy and education tools include a comprehensive Prostate Health Month Digital Media Toolkit and the HealthZone event planning toolkit.

The Prostate Health Guide was developed with support from Augmenix, Genomic Health, and Bayer.
Men’s Health Network (MHN) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. MHN is the promoter of Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week in June. Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow them on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork and Facebook at www.facebook.com/menshealthnetwork.