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HOW TO CHOOSE A guide to products & services in the Golden Triangle

Accounting Firm.............. 50 Lawn Tractor.. ................. 48
Audiologist...................... 14 Mattress........................... 2
Building Supply Store........ 6 Mortgage Lender.. ........... 12
Cardiologist.................... 22 Nursing Home.. ............... 63
Cosmetic Surgeon.......... 36 Obstetrician.................... 44
Counseling Service......... 58 Optician.......................... 30
Dentist.. .......................... 38 Pediatric Dentist............. 26
Financial Advisor............ 56 Pediatrician.................... 42
Financial Planner............ 28 Private School................ 18
Funeral Home................. 60 Side by side.. .................. 24
Hearing Aids................... 54 Storage Facility.. ............. 32
Hospital.......................... 10 Trucking Company.......... 40
In-home care.................. 34 University....................... 20
Insurance Agency............. 8 Urologist......................... 52
Interior Designer............... 4 Wine. . ............................. 46
Investment Firm.............. 16 Sunday, January 26, 2020
2 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

uying a new mattress is no longer a one- getting a hypoallergenic mattress cover.
stop proposition for many. The mattress When you are looking at actual mattress
industry has boomed with the introduc- options, the following are popular choices:
tion of memory foam, sensor-activated comfort n Pillow-top mattresses are famous for
control and firms that sell quality products their softness; however, they do have levels of

online. firmness. They also require a larger bottom
It is estimated that we sleep a third of our sheet because the pillow-top adds to their
lives away, so a comfortable mattress is key extra thickness.
to comfort and eliminating sleep deprivation. n Coil spring construction are great
When you think about that, a new, quality mat- choices for people who want a firm mattress.
tress that provides you with a restful night’s This option has the ability to keep your spine
4 sleep is well worth the price. aligned. Most mattress stores can show you
4 You shouldn’t lose sleep over shopping for samples of their product lines. Choose the
a new mattress, either. Sure, the number of best construction you can afford.
A mattress
options can be as daunting as the wild range n “Memory” or high-density foam or latex
4 of prices in a mattress store. But selecting the mattress are helpful if you have physical
4 right mattress for your needs at the right price issues, such as skeletal pain or circulatory
4 really is pretty simple. problems. This mattress conforms to the
4 Ask your friends and family for recommen- shape of the body. It also minimizes pressure
4 dations, and then start browsing. Or you can points from the head, shoulders and hips.
4 scour the Internet for information and start n Adjustable air mattresses allow each
4 narrowing your choices. There’s no substitu- person to change the firmness through elec-
tion for walking in a showroom and testing tronic and mechanical devices that control air
4 mattresses out though. chambers. It is an ideal choice for partners
4 Purchasing a mattress is a long-term in- who need to have different mattress preferenc-
4 vestment in your health and self-esteem. Don’t es. You can also alter firmness for yourself,
4 be afraid of looking at pricier options. Often, depending on your physical condition.
4 expensive mattresses may be on sale or part When shopping for a mattress, don’t be
4 of a closeout event. Quality mattresses last afraid of lying down and trying it out. Roll
longer, so you will not have to go through the over and pay attention to how your body feels.
4 trouble of buying another mattress in a year Are you comfortable?
4 or two. Or worry as much about the mattress Inquire about the mattress guarantee or
4 sagging and breaking down. warranty. A standard warranty is 10 years. If
4 Consider your bed size. Is it time to buy a the warranty is shorter or non-existent, look
4 bigger bed? Perhaps you would like to sprawl elsewhere.
4 out and relax. Remember, your mattress is a long-term
4 Here are a few other things to keep in investment. Choose wisely and you will be
mind: rewarded with years of restful nights and
4 n Do you need a firm or soft mattress? energetic days.
4 People with a bad back, neck or leg pain, or
4 other circulatory problems might require firm
4 support to keep their spines aligned. Other
4 people prefer flexible support that fits the
4 contours of their bodies.
n Do you sleep with another person?
4 Mattresses made of memory foam might be
4 beneficial, as it will give you a personalized
4 experience without disturbing the other per-
4 son’s sleep.
4 n Standard mattresses can exacerbate
4 allergies if you are sensitive to lint, cotton,
4 dust or dust mites. If you or your partner have
allergies, consider getting a latex, foam or
4 water mattress. You might also think about
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 3
4 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

iring an interior designer to help you your home, they simply add a percentage to
showcase your personal style and taste the cost. If the designer uses this method, be
is a worthwhile investment. Interior sure to discuss your overall budget with them.
designers bring both an eye for design and They will welcome your honesty.
functionality to your home or office. The third choice is a combination of by-the-

Here are a few things to consider if you hour and cost-plus.
think an interior designer could benefit your
living or work space. Certification and training
Currently, 26 states require interior design-
Know your personal taste ers to be certified. The National Kitchen and
First, think about your personal tastes. Bath Association and the American Society of
4 Leaf through magazines and clip out designs Interior Design oversee these certifications.
4 that appeal to you to get an idea of what is These professional organizations have their

An interior
4 available. You could also look on the internet own requirements. By their rules, designers
4 and print out specific looks you like. Put them must have at least an associate’s degree, serve
4 in a three-ringed binder or file folder with a an apprenticeship, and then pass an exam to

designer 4
comment about why it attracts you. Seeing
your preferences will help the designer under-
stand how to fulfill your needs.
become certified. Once a designer has passed
an initial exam, professionals can continue
their education to prove mastery in special-
4 It is also a good idea to learn some interior ized skills.
4 design terminology so you can speak the same
4 language as the designer. Do you know the
difference between a club chair, armoire and
4 The best interior designers have strong
4 highboy? Studying the words they use will help personal design philosophies. You will see
you avoid disappointment later. it in their portfolios and when you speak to
4 them. The ideal professional will have an
Locate interior designers ability to understand and reflect your style.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association After all, you are the person who will live in
4 and the American Society of Interior Design your home.
4 have a list of interior designers in your area. They should fit in with your style, not the
4 Check with your family and friends as well. In other way around. Find someone who is flexi-
4 particular, if you know someone whose home ble and communicative. If the person doesn’t
4 you adore, ask who did the work. take criticism well, that is not a person you want
Choose three interior designers to inter- to work with.
4 view. Typically, these meetings occur in their Once you have interviewed three interior
4 offices, but sometimes a prospective interior designers, choose one you have a connection
4 designer will want to meet in your home. He with. Continue discussing time frames, costs
4 or she might want to see the house in order and other details about the project. Do not
4 to provide specific details. Other designers make payments until you have a contract.
4 prefer to hold interviews in their offices so
you can see their previous work and look at Finding an interior designer might seem
samples. like an overwhelming task. Through research,
4 communication and staying true to your own
4 Cost of an interior designer style, you can find a designer who will trans-
4 Ask about how bills are handled. Usually form your house into a true home.
4 there are three methods of payment.
4 The first is by-the-hour. The interior design-
4 er will ask that you pay for a minimum number
4 of hours. Once those hours are gone, you may
4 choose to purchase more time in bulk or they
may opt to work on an hourly basis.
4 The second payment option is cost-plus.
4 When interior designers purchase items for
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 5
6 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

quality building supply store is your building supply stores. If it is difficult to locate
first step in beginning a home-improve- someone, or associates are always surround-
ment project. ed by customers, you will not receive a high
Well-stocked stores with a knowledgable level of service. You might consider looking
staff can make the task ahead that much eas- elsewhere.

ier by having all your supplies and any advice Other signs of poor customer service
or recommendations you many need. include long checkout lines, out-of-stock
Reliable customer service is one of the fac- products or a cluttered and dingy store. If you
tors that will help you choose between a local feel treated like a criminal because you had to
store and a big-box retailer. return something, then find another store that
Consider smaller projects you have suc- treats you better.
4 cessfully completed. Ask the staff at each Convenience will also have an impact.
4 store for their input on the best way to com- Hours of operation, driving distance, and
plete the task you have in mind. Progress to a parking will figure into your decision. If it
A building
more complicated project and ask for advice takes a lot of effort to make a purchase, you
4 again. Note which employees provided the should find another store.
supply store
most helpful answers. The right building supply store will have
4 During your visits, look around various what you need when you need it. They will
4 departments. Determine which store has the stock tools and materials, and sell them at a
4 best high-quality tools you might need in the reasonable price. A knowledgeable and friend-
4 future. The best stores will sell top-quality ly staff will have answers if you need them.
4 lumber, paint, fasteners, roofing materials and When you find that store, you can complete
fixtures to complete your construction project your building projects with confidence and
4 — all at a wide range of price points depend- feel less stressed when it comes time to take
4 ing on the finish you need. on new work.
4 Make a note of additional services, such
4 as equipment rentals, classes and referrals to
4 area professionals. After all, if you can’t han-
4 dle a complex project, they might be able to
point you in the direction of someone who can.
4 Pricing is another aspect to consider. A
4 store with the lowest prices isn’t necessarily
4 the best. They might be cutting corners. On
4 the other hand, if you know a lot about lumber
4 and are interested in purchasing fencing for
4 your backyard, the cheapest store might be
4 best. The most expensive store in town might
be best if you are purchasing lumber to make
4 a piece of furniture. Always consider quality
4 as well as price.
4 If you are still undecided, then let custom-
4 er service be your guide. For hardware and
4 home improvement stores, customer service
4 will help you when you most need it.
Good customer service starts as soon as
4 you enter the establishment. If you are warmly
4 welcomed, this is a step in the right direction.
4 High employee turnover is not a good sign.
4 It is best to establish a working relationship
4 with people in your building supply store. It
4 is difficult to do that if you are greeted by a
4 different person every time you enter, and em-
ployee stability is a sign of good management.
4 Understaffing is another problem in some
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8 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

urn on any media — your television, Financial strength
radio, phone — and you’re likely to be in- An insurance company is only as strong as
undated with commercials for insurance its balance sheet. Financial strength is espe-
companies vying for your business. cially important these days.
But unless you know what you’re looking

Every insurer is independently rated based
for in an insurance provider, you shouldn’t on their finances. An insurance agent should
pick a company based on their marketing inform you of the company’s rating and tell
hype alone. Premiums from company to you what it means. A good rating means the
company can vary widely, as can the type of company can make a payout in the event of
coverage they offer. So, before you purchase a catastrophic event. A reputable, stable,
a plan, you need to understand exactly what well-capitalized insurance company is also
4 type of insurance you’re buying and how it will likely to have more coverage options.
4 affect your bottom line. While your insurance premiums are an im-

An insurance
4 portant factor, it is just one piece of a compli-
4 Know your policy cated puzzle. Choose a company that will not
4 You will have to take a look at the fine only give you a fair price, but who will also be

agency 4
details and figures for each policy. If you are
in the beginning of this process, insurance
representatives should act more like teachers
prompt and courteous in the event you have to
file a claim.
The right insurance company will treat you
4 instead of salespeople. Your choices may be well at every level of interaction, provide qual-
4 complicated, with a range of pricing options, ity coverage, and pay out in a timely manner
4 deductibles and exclusions. A good company should there be an accident.
4 will give you choices, explain them clearly and
4 let you make up your own mind.
While reviewing your options, make sure
4 you are comparing similar policies. If a pre-
4 mium seems unusually low, it might have a
4 higher deductible or more limitations.
4 It is important that you get as much infor-
4 mation as possible about each policy before
4 making a decision.
4 Customer Service
Customer service always plays a key role in
4 determining which company is best. If you’ve
4 had friends or family who have filed insurance
4 claims previously, ask them about their experi-
4 ences.
4 Some insurance companies have better
4 reputations than others. Gathering all of these
experiences will give you a good idea of how
you might be treated by them.
4 Each company has a different customer
4 service philosophy. Some of them prefer to
4 use a local representative to communicate
4 with clients. Others will discuss policies
4 through their website or a 24-hour phone
4 number.
Many insurance companies; however, use
4 a combination of these methods. They might
4 give you 24-hour access to national represen-
4 tatives along with a local advisor.
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10 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

mergency health care is no time to choose confident you are receiving quality care.
a hospital. You’ll be transported to the Awards and other certifications indicate
nearest facility suited to your particular that a hospital offers consistent care. The
illness. Magnet program recognizes excellence in
But if you require longer-term care, you’ll nursing care and other aspects of hospital

want a hospital of your own choosing — ide- work.
ally a modern campus stocked with the best Not all hospitals are Magnet certified. In
technology and staffed by the most qualified fact, this award is only given to a select few
personnel. So taking time to look at different facilities in the country.
facilities in your area today, before you need Hospitals often have several areas in which
the help, can aid you when you most need they specialize. For example, two hospitals in
4 help. the same city may offer care, but one special-
4 Here are some factors that can help you izes in gastroenterology, while another has an
choose the best hospital in your city. advanced cardiac unit.
A hospital
Choosing the right hospital for your proce-
4 Location dure will ensure you receive the highest level
of care. In fact, some hospitals will transfer
Location will play a large role in your
4 choice. The hospital should be close to your patients to another facility if it has better
4 home or workplace. equipment and specialists.
4 Some people will only have one hospital in
4 their area. Choosing a facility that’s out of the Determining the highest quality hospital
4 way will not only add to travel time, it is simply for your condition will help you achieve the
not practical. After all, when an emergency best outcome during instances of illness or
4 injury. Since hospitals offer a variety of care
4 happens, you will need to get to qualified
personnel as soon as possible. and service types, be sure to analyze all the
4 But if you have a medical condition and an options before you decide.
4 alternative facility farther away specializes in By knowing the facts and keeping your
4 it, that hospital might be a good choice. own priorities in mind, you will make a wise
4 You will have to balance convenience with choice when selecting the hospital that is best
your personal circumstances. for you.
4 Doctor privileges
4 Your preferred doctor should have privileg-
es at the facility you choose. Physicians send
4 patients to specific hospitals because it is con-
4 venient for them. They are familiar with the
4 site and can use the equipment there. Check
4 with your doctor about where he can work.
4 Insurance carriers will pay some of the cost
4 of services from a preferred provider, includ-
ing hospitals. Verify which hospitals are in
your carrier’s network. If you choose a facility
4 that is not covered by your policy, you run the
4 risk of incurring significant charges.
4 Accreditation and certifications
4 Another consideration is what other fea-
4 tures a hospital may offer. For example, a hos-
4 pital may be accredited with the Joint Com-
4 mission, an organization that verifies specific
standards of care within medical facilities.
4 Accreditation means that they are passing
4 frequent performance reviews. You can be
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12 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

btaining a mortgage is serious, Communication
sometimes a lifetime responsibility. So The best mortgage lenders will focus on
choosing a mortgage lender is nothing understanding your long-range financial
to rush into. Before you make this import- goals.
ant decision, you’ll want to engage in deep

They will ask you how long you intend to
research. remain in this new home. Your answers will
You’ll learn a great deal in your initial few help him find the best mortgage products to
meetings with a mortgage lender. Lenders suit your needs. It is a red flag if a lender fails
with excellent customer service can make to ask you this type of question.
things go smoothly for years to come. But if
your lender is only concerned with his or her
4 bottom line or making extra money on selling Local lenders
loan products, use caution. Seeking out a mortgage lender in your com-
4 munity is the best option. Interest rates vary
Good mortgage professionals are knowl-
A mortgage
4 on a daily basis. A local lender will know the
edgeable about their loan products. They are
4 willing to spend as much time as possible to rapid changes happening in the community’s
4 housing market. They will understand how
explain them to you. They take pride in guid-
4 ing you through what could be a confusing these changes may affect you.
4 process. Local lenders can monitor your loan appli-
4 They keep your best interests and financial cation closely, and will be more accessible to
priorities in mind. answer any questions you may have.
4 Do some advance research on your loan
4 options prior to meeting a mortgage profes- Personal referrals
sional. It will help you determine whether he Ask your friends and family about their ex-
4 or she is truly concerned about your needs. perience with mortgage lenders. They may be
4 Basic knowledge about the financing pro- comfortable recommending the same profes-
4 cess will help you make a sound assessment sionals they used for their home loans.
4 about a mortgage lender’s skills and abilities. Word-of-mouth is often the best way to
4 identify quality professionals in your area.
4 Purchaser’s rights Once you have a list of possibilities, verify
backgrounds so you can will confident in their
4 The mountain of forms, declarations and
even financial terminology can be daunting to ability to help you.
4 inexperienced homebuyers. It is always smart
4 to exercise care during the home-buying
4 process. Understand what you are signing and
4 any obligations you are assuming.
4 A signature is a permanent commitment.
4 Some buyers may have a very short time to
4 back out. Otherwise, they are liable for what is
in the document.
4 Even if you back out during that short peri-
4 od, you will likely forfeit deposits because you
4 broke the deal. You might also owe an addi-
4 tional amount based on the total of the initial
4 mortgage payment.
4 Extra costs can be avoided if you take time
when signing all agreements.
4 If a lender is rushing you through paper-
4 work and pressuring you to sign the form, he
4 is not doing his job properly. Your best inter-
4 ests will likely be neglected.
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14 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

ave you been struggling to understand preventing hearing loss.
what others say, think others are mum- It is usually impossible to resolve an issue
bling or frequently turn up the volume with one appointment. Follow up visits for
on your TV or phone? tests, consultations and fittings, will likely be
If so, you may be suffering from hearing necessary.

loss. Millions of Americans will suffer some If you have experienced hearing loss, then
sort of hearing impairment but don’t realize your relationship with your audiologist should
it’s happening to them. Statistics show it takes be ongoing. Make sure you are comfortable
and average of seven years before those with with this person.
hearing loss seek help. While you’re at it, it is never too early to
But there’s good news: hearing loss is not have a child’s ears checked by a qualified
4 difficult to treat. practitioner. Children who have a hard time
4 Are you or a loved one experiencing hear- hearing will have a difficult time in school,
ing loss? If so, you need to consult an audiolo- and the sooner the condition is treated, the
gist. better off the child will be.
4 Visit your primary care doctor first to dis- There is no shame in getting help for
cuss concerns about your hearing. The doctor hearing impairment. These problems do not
4 will determine if there is a physical reason go away by themselves. Visiting an audiologist
4 for the hearing loss, such as an infection or can improve the quality of your life.
4 ear wax buildup. If the loss isn’t caused by an
4 infection or other easily treated methods, your
4 doctor will usually recommend a secondary
visit to an ear, nose and throat doctor or an
4 audiologist.
4 Your primary care physician may provide
4 several audiologists to choose from. Now it’s
4 time to do some research.
4 Audiologists may have specialties. For ex-
4 ample, some professionals see elderly patients
while others may focus on helping young
4 people. The audiologist might have a special
4 skill, such as cochlear implants.
4 Consult your friends and family who have
4 experienced hearing loss. Perhaps they have
4 seen an audiologist in your area and can give
4 you a good recommendation.
4 When you have narrowed your choices
down to two or three professionals, call their
4 offices and conduct a preliminary interview.
4 Before anything else, make sure they accept
4 new patients as well as your insurance. You
4 don’t want to spend a lot of time on an audiolo-
4 gist you won’t be able to see.
4 They should inform you about the audiol-
ogist’s background and specialization, along
4 with the wait time for new patients.
4 Ensure that the professional has the proper
4 license and reliable references to patients he
4 has treated.
4 Before making an appointment, consider
4 your goals. You might want a complete hear-
4 ing evaluation. Perhaps you need a fitting for
a new hearing aid or a replacement. Or maybe
4 you need more information about ear care and
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16 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

hen you work hard for your money, well they listen and respond to your needs.
you want to find an investment firm Every person has different goals, objectives
that works just as hard as you do to and risk tolerance — and all those things can
grow and protect it. The goal should be for constantly be changing as you age. Finding a
your money to work as hard as you do. firm that understands your changing needs

Here are some things to consider when and will be able to effectively listen and re-
choosing a company to help you invest your spond to them now and down the road is a key
money wisely. part of the decision.

The first thing to judge is whether the firm
4 deserves your trust. The Financial Industry
4 Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recommends

4 you ask the potential investment firm a series
4 of questions:
4 • What experience do you have working

investment 4
with people who are like me?
• What licenses do you currently hold?
Are you registered with a state, the SEC, or

firm 4
FINRA? If so, in what capacity?
• What relevant professional designations
do you hold?
4 • Do you have any special areas of exper-
4 tise?
• How long have you been with your cur-
4 rent firm? Where did you work before? How
4 long has your firm been around?
4 • What investment products and services
4 do you recommend to your clients? Why?
4 • Are there any products or services you
4 don’t recommend? Why?
• How much will I have to pay for your
4 services? What is your usual hourly rate, flat
4 fee, or commission?
4 • Do you or your firm impose any mini-
4 mum account balances? If so, what are they?
4 And what happens if my portfolio falls below
4 the minimum?
4 • How frequently will we meet to discuss
my portfolio and the progress we are making
4 toward my investment goals?
4 • How will you communicate with me?
4 • Who else in your office will handle my
4 account?
4 All those questions will help you get
4 insights about the firm, but it’s not the only
way. You can also ask your friends, family, and
4 co-workers which investment firms they use
4 and what their experience has been.
4 Listening
4 One of the most important aspects of
4 choosing an investment firm is gauging how
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18 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

arents who choose private school for credentials ever will — so ask around to see
their children do so for many reasons: what people in your community think of the
to provide them with more personalized school’s teachers and administrators.
education, the teacher-to-student ratio, and to
prepare them for higher education, but also to Students

reflect their personal values and beliefs. Before you pick a private school, you
Not all private schools are equal. Some will should plan on making at least one in-person
have better facilities and more qualified teach- visit for a day. Sit in on a few classes and watch
ers than others. Additionally, tuition cost from how the students behave and how the school’s
school to school can vary widely. staff deals with any discipline problems.
Here are some things to consider if you’re Parents of current or former students
4 shopping private schools for your children. should be able to give you the inside scoop
4 about any concerns that exist among the
Values student population, so ask around. No school
A private
4 One of the reasons to send your children has perfect students, obviously, but some do a
to a private school is to reinforce a set of better job dealing with problems than others.
values — both from the educators and faculty Whether the school uses a strict discipli-
4 members who teach them and from the other narian approach or a more laid-back style, you
4 students your child will be growing up with. should be confident that your child will be in
4 Shared values can be a powerful thing. a safe, comfortable learning environment at
4 That means the first step is finding a all times. Watching how the students interact
4 private school that values the same things you during and after school can give you some
do. insights about it.
You’ll want to know whether the school is
4 associated with a certain religion or denom- The opportunities
4 ination, of course, but also look in depth at If you’re thinking about sending your child
4 how much religious teaching is done at the to a private school, chances are it’s ultimately
4 school. Some private schools include religious to give them more opportunities in life.
4 classes and worship services as part of the The specific school you pick can have big
curriculum; others are less formal about their implications on which opportunities will open
4 up to your child later in life, from college
religious affiliation, focusing on providing a
4 very high-quality secular education and less entrance to extracurricular activities such as
4 on a specific church or belief. Some private music and sports.
4 schools aren’t affiliated with a religion at all. Ask if the school has any data about the
4 Keep in mind that values cannot be judged percentage of its students that are accepted
4 by written statements alone. Look at the way into college. Some private schools have a long
4 the school’s employees and students live their track record of preparing students for presti-
lives — including the school’s reputation in gious universities later in life.
4 the community — to make your decision. You should also pay close attention to both
4 the extracurricular activities that are available
4 Staff now and the ones that will be available in the
4 Private schools can vary widely in the staff future.
4 they employ. Some have credential require- Your third-grade child may not think much
4 ments that go above and beyond what public about athletics right now, for example, but a
schools require; others have looser require- soccer, football or basketball team could be-
4 ments for education and training. come very important to them as they get older.
4 If it’s important to you, you should ask A private school that offers a lot of well-run
4 about the teaching staff’s credentials. Know extracurricular activities will open up more
4 where they went to college and what degrees options for your child in the middle-school and
4 they hold, along with whether they have any high-school years.
4 certificates and ongoing training on the cours- By looking closely at the values, staff,
4 es they teach. students and opportunities that are offered,
Again, the school’s reputation will tell the choice for your child’s education should
4 you a lot — perhaps even more than paper become clear.
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hoosing a university or college to attend that will be beneficial and meaningful. They
isn’t always a solitary decision, but it can also add a dimension to your work and
does set the tempo and foundation for perhaps even give you another hobby. You
your career and the beginning of your life might even enjoy your electives so much that
away from home. you decide to switch majors. Before applying

Many factors go into selecting a university to a college, view a list of possible electives.
— your grades, your budget, the quality of ed-
ucation, its physical location, alumni, athletic
and extracurricular activities — but ultimately
Alumni connections
Don’t forget to think of alumni connections
it is you who will endure this challenging part in your family or circle of friends. A letter of
of your life bridging high school with your recommendation or contact with others in
4 eventual life and career. your prospective field of study can advance
4 But there are more than 4,000 colleges and your career. Colleges look kindly upon people
universities in the United States. So how do
A university
4 with alumni connections. These profession-
you know which one is right for you? als could also give you insight into avoiding
4 On one hand, the right college or universi-
4 pitfalls and how to best use your degree after
ty will help you achieve your professional or graduation.
4 monetary goals. On the other hand, the wrong
4 choice could leave you buried in a mountain of
4 tuition debt.
Social activities
Extracurricular activities and social events
4 Here’s how to pick the right school for your
are another element to consider when choos-
4 needs.
ing a college. Connections you make outside
4 of the classroom are very important. Some
4 Large or small school? universities are famous for their sororities
Ask yourself if you learn better in an and fraternities. Others colleges have excel-
4 intimate setting or a large classroom. Some
4 lent sports programs. Any school activities
schools have a small student-to-teacher ratio can help you network and make new friends.
4 while others have auditoriums filled with Students even develop lifelong friendships this
4 students listening to a lecture. As you begin way. The culture of your prospective universi-
4 your research, be sure to look for information ty should be a strong factor in your decision.
4 on class sizes and student population.
4 Online classes
4 Areas of specialty When you have outside commitments or
The reputation of a university or college you prefer to learn at home, consider taking
4 is very important. It can open or close doors online courses. Internet classes can save you
4 in your career. Most colleges are renowned money, especially when it comes to transpor-
4 for a handful of majors. Does the learning tation.
4 institution specialize in your area of interest? Online courses may allow you to work at a
4 Attending a prestigious university or college faster pace than traditional university classes.
4 will give you opportunities and resources. The Working at your own speed can assist you in
possibility of employment after graduation graduating quickly or tend to your active life.
also dramatically improves when your school If you are thinking about choosing an
4 has good name recognition. online school, be sure to check their academic
4 credentials and reputation. Also pick an insti-
4 Minors tution in good standing.
4 Once you have decided upon a major, think
4 about your other areas of interest. Many Choosing an institution for higher educa-
4 colleges offer students the choice of adding a tion can seem like a difficult, daunting deci-
4 double major or minor to their plan of study. sion. But once you understand your academic
4 Even if you are going to pursue only one and lifestyle needs, you can find a school that
major, you will likely need to have elective is perfect for you.
4 courses in your schedule.
4 These classes allow you to study something
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 21
22 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

ecause heart disease is the No. 1 cause field. Others will diagnose and treat a wide
of deaths in the United States, cardiolo- range of heart problems and diseases.
gists occupy the front-line in treating this Your personal heart health needs will
life-giving organ. determine the kind of cardiologist you should
Heart attacks are not the only reason one see.

would encounter a cardiologist, but they’re
certainly among the most prominent. Diseas-
es of the heart are numerous and complicated,
Many cardiac procedures require regular
and treating them is key to your cardiovascu- visits to check on the condition of your heart
lar health. over time. And the help and support you get
As with any health issue, prevention is par- after any heart procedure is important.
4 amount. A cardiologist can also help you take You may need to eat a healthier diet, get
4 preventative care of your heart by explaining regular exercise, quit smoking or lose weight
what heart troubles you are most risk of de-
4 to improve your heart health. These things
veloping and giving you a plan to protect your can be aided through a support group or spe-
4 bodies busiest muscle.
4 cialized health program to keep your cardiac

If you’re looking for a cardiologist, here are rehabilitation on track. Your cardiologist can
4 a few things to keep in mind: help facilitate these services after your initial
4 treatment and provide valuable resources to
4 Word of mouth help you care for yourself.
4 Talk to your friends, family and colleagues Your unique situation will determine which
4 about their experiences with local cardiolo- cardiologists you choose. But getting the right
4 gists. one is vital to ensuring you enjoy your best
4 They’ll be able to tell you the good and bad heart health for years to come.
things they experienced from their cardiol-
4 ogist and can help give you insights that can
4 only come from a first-person testimonial.
4 This will be the best way to learn whether the
4 cardiologist has a friendly staff and a good
4 bedside manner.
4 Area of expertise
4 What’s most important, however, is wheth-
er the cardiologist has the right training,
4 qualifications and experience.
4 Cardiologists must first be certified in
4 internal medicine and then earn an additional
4 certification in cardiology prior to practice
4 following medical school and residency. So,
4 you’ll want to be sure yours is board certified.
The American Board of Medical Specialties
has set up a website, CertificationMatters.
4 org, where you can search to see which board
4 certifications a doctor holds.
4 A cardiologist will have different board
4 certifications than a cardiac surgeon. Your
4 regular doctor can help you sort it out and
4 pick the best cardiologist for you.
Also consider the cardiologist’s specialty.
4 Some cardiologists become experts at one
4 particular procedure by performing and
4 perfecting it over many years. They’ll earn a
4 reputation for being experts in that narrow
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 23
24 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

ou are ready for an adventure—or you your warranty, and help you have a great
need some optional transportation or adventure.
you need a work horse for your farm or So go shopping and Ride the Adventure,
property or you need something new for hunt- Live your Dream.
ing and recreation.

Whether it’s your first or one of a long line
or one just to add to your stable, it’s always fun
to shop. Every year and every season, there
is something new. For 2020, Side by Sides
(UTV) tend to be the choice for the off road
buyer. For drivers 16 and older, there is still
4 room for passengers and they are equipped
4 with seat belts. They come in all sizes and
speeds — from the 500cc 2 seater with a small
A side by side
bed or just a back platform to large 6-8 seater
4 700cc and 1000cc with full tilt beds. Kawasaki
4 has the new Teryx 1000 sport that is amazing.
4 And the Honda Talon is another sporty ride.
4 The accessories are what make the SXS your
4 machine. A quick trip to the ATV dealership
4 will open your eyes to all the choices you
4 have in tire tread, CV boot guards, additional
racks, tops, windshields, cabs, sound systems,
4 larger tires, fancy chrome and colored wheels,
4 mirrors and most anything else you can think
4 of. In choosing your Side by Side, you need to
4 decide exactly what your main activity will be
4 — whether speed, mud, work, or leisure is the
4 most important.
If the sporty SXS is not your style, remem-
4 ber Kawasaki has a great selection of sizes
4 in their Mule line up and Honda has a great
4 utility machine in their Pioneer. Again, acces-
4 sories make the machine. Winches, tops,wind-
4 shields,doors, and full cabs are just some of
4 the ways you can make your SXS more useful.
4 These units are great for the garden, trips
to the fishing pond, working in the yard and
4 picking up firewood.
4 Always remember your safety gear — a
4 good fitting helmet — just because it feels
4 like a car — and may have doors — you still
4 need head protection. Eye protection in the
4 form of glasses or face shield, a jacket (even in
summer) to protect your arms, long pants for
4 your legs, gloves, boots preferably, but at least
4 shoes. No flipflops! If you have passengers,
4 especially kids, they need helmets also. You
4 only get one brain. Take care of it.
4 The biggest part of choosing a SXS is
4 choosing your dealership. The internet is
4 great for looking but you need to buy in a store
from someone that will show you the features
4 of the SXS, service your machine bike, explain
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 25
26 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

visit to the dentist can strike fear into es, but an experienced practitioner will be less
anyone, least of all children. likely to make a mistake with your child.
Thankfully, specialty care among Inquire about the hours of operation, pric-
dental professionals is available almost every- ing and procedures. See if you can schedule
where. Pediatric dentists are trained to help an appointment so your child can meet the

youngsters feel comfortable and put them at dentist.
ease while they receive routine dental care. A
good pediatric dentist could even make your
youngster look forward to a routine cleaning.
Meet the dentist
Your child’s comfort level will have a big
Here’s how to find a pediatric dentist in part in whether a dentist is the right choice for
your community. them. Take him or her to meet the prospective
4 dentist.
4 Starting your search The visit will help you understand the den-

A pediatric
4 As you begin your search, it is important tist’s personal skills and patience level.
4 to start gathering names and contact informa- A friendly attitude and tolerance is essen-
4 tion. tial when working with children. This person

dentist 4
Check with parents in your neighborhood.
They should be able to tell you where they
take their children for dental care. Ask them
must be able to defuse tantrums and do the
right things to make your child comfortable.
The only real way to see if you have selected
4 about their experiences. the right person is to watch him or her inter-
4 Your own dentist might give you a referral act with children.
4 to a pediatric dentist.
4 Also, look for a list of pediatric dentists on Visit several dentists before making a
4 the Internet, telephone book or in your local choice. When your child is excited to visit his
newspaper. The American Dental Association dental friend, you know that you have selected
4 will have a list of qualified pediatric dentists the best one for your child.
4 in your area. Professionals who belong to this
4 association are committed to the public’s oral
4 health.
4 The American Academy of Pediatric Den-
4 tistry is another excellent resource.
4 Search with your provider
People who have dental insurance may be
4 limited to a network of dentists. Some of these
4 professionals may give quality care.
4 There is a phone number on the back of
4 your dental insurance card. Call and ask
4 customer service for three pediatric dentists
4 within the network. Note the information and
visit their offices.
Anyone without dental insurance should
4 make a list based on personal recommenda-
4 tions and research.
4 Make phone calls
4 Contact the pediatric dentists on your list
4 to ask questions. Be sure to take notes during
4 the call.
4 Request background information on the
office. How long have they been open and how
4 long as the dentist been practicing? Less sea-
4 soned dentists are not necessarily poor choic-
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 27
28 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

inancial Planning is more than invest- goals and concerns. Whether your desired
ment advice. Financial Planning involves outcome is to launch a small business or send
putting together a plan to meet your goals your kids to college, share these thoughts
and objectives, and it includes several areas of with your financial planner.
finance. But a plan coordinates those areas as Finally, discuss compensation with any

a road map from where you are to where you financial planner, so you can understand the
want to be. cost.
A plan starts with what you have coming in Taking the time to research will help you
and what you have going out; a budget. Mak- select the best financial planner in your area.
ing sure how you spend your money aligns You will be on your way to a healthier financial
with your long-term aspirations. Sometimes future.
4 the first step in a financial plan is defining
4 your needs and comparing them to your
spending on wants.
A financial
Money management means having a plan
4 for emergencies and opportunities. Money
management includes a cash reserve, money
4 that you can easily access when something
4 good or bad comes up. The next step is protec-
4 tion against the really bad things, not being
4 able to work, having a health problem, losing
4 property, or leaving behind someone depen-
dent on you for their support and livelihood.
4 After these steps, a planner can help you
4 plan for retirement, invest for things in the in-
4 termediate-term, and also for what you want to
4 happen to what you own when you pass away.
4 With the right questions and research, you
4 can find a financial planner to trust and help
you with all of these key areas of financial
4 planning, including investments, but not only
4 investments.
4 Seek referrals from your friends, family,
4 and trusted individuals. Birds of a feather
4 flock together. You likely know someone who
4 has helped them with similar planning to your
4 needs.
Ask the educational and professional
4 background of each recommendation. Find
4 out if that person has worked with people who
4 match your financial circumstances.
4 Verify that each prospect has the right cer-
4 tifications. Credentials vary according to the
4 location and advising type, but all must have
formal training.
4 Once you are ready, meet with several
4 financial planners to gauge their trustworthi-
4 ness. Integrity is one of the key qualities of a
4 good financial planner.
4 During the meeting, honestly explain your
4 financial goals. Wealth building should be a
4 goal. Minimizing risk and maximizing returns
will help grow your resources. Find the plan-
4 ner who listens and understands your needs,
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 29
30 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

s with most of our senses, we only no- ers like the look and feel of plastic frames.
tice something is wrong when they don’t Opticians will adjust the fit of your frames
pick up on normal cues. Vision is one so they are not too tight or loose on your face.
of the most complicated and sensitive areas of If your current glasses are leaving red marks
abilities, so it’s essential that we care for our on your face, they need to be adjusted. The

eyes with checkups to prevent problems or glasses should not feel awkward or bother-
identify potential problems. some on your nose or behind your ears.
This is especially true if you require glass- If you have contact lenses, you should feel
es or contacts to correct your vision. Poorly comfortable wearing them. Proper cleaning
fitting contacts and glasses that don’t work is crucial. Your optician can help recommend
properly can irritate your eyes and cause a the best products that will help maintain your
4 lifetime of vision problems. Luckily, a good contact lenses. An assistant will likely demon-
4 optician who can make sure your glasses or strate the proper cleaning technique.
contacts work perfectly is only a phone call Anyone who wears glasses or contacts
An optician
away. knows the importance of eyewear. Along with
4 Here’s how to find a quality optician in your your eye doctor, an optician is an important
4 community. part of the team who will care for your vision.
4 Make the time and effort to choose the right
4 Certification one.
4 Filing vision prescriptions is a complex job
4 that requires frequent training. Lens materials
4 and manufacturing procedures are constantly
4 changing and improving. A certified optician
4 should be abreast of industry standards.
Ask what certifications your optician holds
4 in your state, along with what kind of training
4 he or she has received. Certified opticians
4 understand they are in a high-precision job.
4 They should appreciate that you are taking
4 the time to ask questions.
4 Selection
4 Take a look around their optical displays.
A quality optician will have a large variety of
4 glass frames and contact lens choices across a
4 range of price points.
4 While budget is always important, you
4 might find that an upgrade will be worth the
4 additional money. Consider how frequently
4 you will use your eyewear. It’s a good idea to
ask about the advantages of various features
— from color changing lenses, scratch-resis-
4 tant coating for glasses to various brands of
4 contacts. Think about what will work best for
4 your lifestyle.
4 If you have a favorite brand or designer, call
4 ahead to see if your optician can provide them.
4 Comfort
4 The best opticians will guide you toward
products that are easy to use and maintain.
4 Comfort levels vary according to each person.
4 Some people prefer metal frames, while oth-
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 31
32 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

hether you need a convenient place Hours of access
to store your stuff temporarily or a Determine how often you will need to visit
long-term arrangement to pack away your items.
rarely used items or even a car or boat, renting Some people store their belongings for
a unit at a storage center is a popular solution.

several months. They may only need access
If you’re looking into self-storage, chanc- to them once or twice during that time. Other
es are you’ve noticed there are a great deal people might need to visit their unit several
of storage facilities looking to attract your times a week.
business. The hours of operation should fit your
There are some important aspects to con- schedule easily. If your schedule is unpre-
sider before selecting a storage facility. dictable, you might consider using a storage
4 center that is open 24-hours a day.
4 Location
A storage
4 Location is a key factor when selecting a Price
4 storage company. Your ideal facility should be Don’t search for a bargain. Price should
4 close to your home or office for ease of access. not be your only consideration. After all, if
facility 4
If you need to add or take something out of
storage, you will be glad that you picked a
convenient location.
you choose an inexpensive facility, they may
be cutting back on important aspects. Maybe
they don’t have as much security as other fa-
4 Avoid using companies in risky neighbor- cilities. Maybe the building is not maintained
4 hoods. The overall security of the facility will well.
4 be stronger when it is in a safer part of town. Selecting a facility based solely on a low
4 price may cause you to pay in other ways. It is
4 Security not fun having your items stolen or damaged.
4 Security is another important consider- Of course, within a storage facility, a smaller
4 ation. Your belongings should be safe for the unit will be cheaper to rent than a larger one.
duration of the rental. Visit the facility in per- But if the overall prices are lower than aver-
4 son to verify its security protocol. If you can’t age, be very cautious.
4 see the center in person, talk to a knowledge- The best way to find a good storage center
4 able representative on the phone. The best is word of mouth. Ask your social network for
4 facilities have three security layers. recommendations. Advertisements, the Yellow
4 1. The building has a security fence that Pages and even the internet are good sources
4 is not easy to climb. It should be topped with of information. Be sure to check out several
barbed wire to discourage attempts to infil- companies before narrowing your search.
4 trate the perimeter. Start early, take your time and follow your
4 2. Heavy, secure doors seal the center. intuition. That way, you can’t go wrong.
4 Keys, codes or even biometric door locks
4 safeguard your stuff.
4 3. Cameras can help deter break-ins.
4 Unit sizes and climate control features
4 The amount of belongings you have will
determine the unit you need. Some self-stor-
4 age centers offer units as small as 24-square
4 feet. If you are storing furniture or a vehicle,
4 you will probably need a unit that measures at
4 least 300-square feet.
4 Also, if you are storing sensitive items,
4 such as musical instruments, look for a unit
4 that has climate control. You can request to
have an air conditioned or humidity-regulated
4 unit.
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34 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

n-home care options have become a popular Companionship
option for people requiring ongoing medical Homebound people often need compan-
care in recent years. Allowing family mem- ionship. An in-home care professional will
bers who need medical care and assistance provide a friendly face and good conversation
navigating their daily lives the ability to re-

as well as general care. It might be a matter
main in familiar surroundings works wonders of reading aloud to your loved one, discussing
for quality of life. the daily news or playing a game of cards.
Depending on the severity of their condi- Quality in-home care providers understand
tions, seniors and others with incapacitating that patients also need mental stimulation and
ailments can live at home with assistance. human contact in order to stay well.
This kind of care is often the perfect compro-
4 mise. Before entering a contract, understand
4 Professionals visit the home of the patient the services that will be provided. You want
to provide services. Not only is it convenient
In-home care
4 to make sure you are getting what you need
and comfortable, it is typically less expensive without paying for services that are not
4 than the care offered at a full-time facility.
4 required. If personal care is all that is needed,
Many in-home care companies also offer you should not have to pay for medical care as
4 services ranging from housekeeping and well.
4 errand running to food prep. Everyone, including you, should be com-
4 Talk to your loved one’s primary care physi- fortable with the people who work for the com-
4 cian to help you understand your choices. pany. In-home caregivers will quickly become
4 The doctor can help you select a provid- part of your life, especially as they enter and
er and help you determine the level of care exit the house. Get referrals from people who
4 required. This professional may even have
4 have been in a similar situation.
referrals to give you. The best in-home care provider is about
4 After speaking to several in-home care pro- finding the right combination of services.
4 viders, you can compare the range of services Once you have the right company, the patient
4 they offer. Typically, they will fall into three will receive companionship, comfort and cost
4 categories: savings that make in-home care such a fantas-
4 tic choice.
4 Medical care
Providers vary greatly in terms of the types
4 of medical care they provide. Some may be
4 able to offer 24-hour care while others are
4 better with simple tasks, such as monitoring
4 blood sugar or reminding patients to take
4 medication.
4 Always inquire about the medical quali-
4 fications of any in-home care providers you
are considering. All workers should have the
4 proper training, degrees and certifications.
4 If you are unclear about the exact level of
4 medical care your loved one will require, ask
4 your physician. The doctor will also be able
4 to tell you what qualifications in-home care
4 providers should have in your situation.
4 Personal care
Caregivers can help with daily grooming,
4 mobility and any special diet requirements.
4 They can help prepare meals or run simple
4 errands.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 35
36 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

f you’re considering cosmetic surgery to of the best cosmetic surgery work is the kind
improve or alter your physical appearance, that no one can tell was done. It’s subtle.
it’s not a decision to take lightly. If you know someone who has undergone a
While there may be many benefits to cosmetic surgery procedure before, though,
cosmetic surgery, all surgery carries risks you can try to find out what they thought

so you’ll want to search for the best-qualified about their experience. First-person referenc-
surgeon to explain the process to you. es about doctors are always insightful.
If you’ve set your mind on having a cosmet- In addition, you can look at before-and-after
ic procedure, it’s vital that you have it per- photos that show the surgeon’s work. Ideally,
formed by a well-qualified cosmetic surgeon. you’ll want to look for patients who have a
Here are the main things to consider while similar facial structure, breast shape or body
4 searching for the right doctor to give you that shape to yours so you can see what to expect
4 perfect look. for your personal results.

A cosmetic
4 Board certified Connection
4 Most cosmetic surgeons are Board certi- While it’s less important than their medical

surgeon 4
fied in a specialty other than plastic surgery.
They have achieved additional training in the
practice of cosmetic procedures during their
background, it’s nonetheless worth mention-
ing that you should look for a doctor that you
connect well with personally.
4 residency or post graduate training program. Communication is a big part of the cos-
4 The American Academy of Cosmetic Sur- metic surgery process, and you should try
4 gery provides fellowships and post graduate to find a doctor with whom you can clearly
4 programs to those interested in performing communicate your wants and expectations for
4 cosmetic procedures safely and properly for the procedure. You should be confident that
their patient. they understand how you want to look and can
4 Ask whether your surgeon is Board cer- deliver the right results for you.
4 tified in a medical specialty recognized by Trust is a big part of that relationship. You
4 the American Board of Medical Specialties should be able to trust the surgeon’s recom-
4 (ABMS). This does not guarantee one sur- mendations and be comfortable discussing
4 geon is better because of Board certification, your detailed medical history and habits with
4 but it demonstrates he/she has made the them.
effort to achieve recognition for the hard work In the end, if you can find a cosmetic sur-
4 it takes to accomplish this status. geon with the right training, plenty of experi-
4 ence in your procedure and a good connection
4 Specialty with you, you’ll be more likely to have the best
4 Some cosmetic surgeons are generalists, outcome from your procedure.
4 performing a wide range of procedures, oth-
4 ers specialize in one particular subsection of
4 the field and can perfect their skills over many
4 years performing that one type of procedure.
Some surgeons specialize in body proce-
dures, for example, while others might spend
4 most of their time doing facial surgery or
4 breast augmentation.
4 Ask how long the surgeon has been
4 performing your particular procedure and
4 how many times they have performed it. That
4 information can help guide your decision.
4 Reputation
In the cosmetic surgery field, some doctors
4 have better reputations than others, and it can
4 be tricky to find the best ones. After all, some
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 37
38 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

ew elements of our personal health say Ask if the dental office provides emergency
more about us than the quality of our services. If you break a tooth or need to have
teeth. We’re taught from a very young age a root canal done right away, you will want
that caring for our teeth will save us a lifetime to use your chosen dentist. You don’t want to
of pain and costly procedures — and that’s have to search for a dentist when you are in

very true. So choosing a dental professional pain.
you can trust, along with scheduling regular Lead time for appointments is another
care and cleaning can result in just that — a consideration. Some offices might be able to
lifetime of beautiful, healthy teeth. see you right away, while others may have a
If you don’t already have a regular dentist, three-week wait time.
choosing the right dental health profession- Your prospective dentist should accept your
4 al is essential to helping you maintain your dental insurance. If don’t have dental insur-
4 health and appearance in addition to helping ance, inquire about payment plans. The office
you avoid nasty dental problems down the should give you an estimate before perform-
A dentist
road. ing any work.
4 No one wants to have a root canal redone
because of shoddy work.
Find a dentist who makes you feel com-
Office visit
When someone meets all of your require-
4 fortable and explains every procedure in an ments, visit the office. The staff should be
4 understandable way, and you’ll be in good professional and friendly. Every dentist should
4 hands. be willing to answer all of your questions.
4 Finding a dentist near your home or work- Some people are afraid of dentists or of
place will help you make your appointments pain. If you have any concerns, communicate
4 on time. When searching for a dentist, make
4 with the staff and dentist. Many professionals
sure the office hours work for your schedule. are willing to go above and beyond to help you
4 So how should you start your search? work through these issues.
4 A basic oral health history should be taken
4 Ask around by the dentist or staff. They should tell you
4 First, ask your social network for recom- about future treatment and prevention options.
4 mendations. Friends, family and colleagues A quality dentist will help you feel comfortable
4 can be a great resource. during your visit.
Searching on the Internet for dental offices The best dentists offer friendly, happy
4 in your area will also help. Professionals often dental experiences.
4 have their own websites, which include the Teeth are extremely important to your
4 backgrounds of those working there. The overall health. They can also help or hinder
4 website may also tell you about how they your appearance. Finding a good dentist is
4 handle procedures and appointments, as well like finding a friend who consistently brings
4 as specialized services they offer. out your best smile.
4 Your local newspaper will likely have adver-
tisements from local dentists. Oftentimes you
4 can find specials and discounts.
4 Interview dentists
4 Once you have gathered a list, begin calling
4 each prospective dentist. You can talk to a
4 receptionist or other staff person if the dentist
4 is unavailable.
4 Check to make sure the dentist earned the
necessary degree from a reputable school
4 and is current on all licensing and continuing
4 educational requirements. Ideally, he will be
4 familiar with the latest dental technologies
4 and trends.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 39
40 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

hether you’re looking for a reward- employees and their families the way we want
ing career or the right company to to be treated with home time weekly.
haul your freight, the factors that re- Rapid turnover is all too common at some
sult in the best trucking companies are clear. trucking companies. If you find a company
Here are some things to consider. with a roster of longtime drivers, that’s a great

sign for how well they take care of their most
A culture of safety important people — which in turn results in
happy clients.
The top trucking companies all have one
thing in common: an intense focus on creating
a safe culture. Timeliness
Being serious about safety has an obvious In today’s world of just-in-time manufactur-
4 benefit to professional drivers, whose job ing and consumers who expect quick delivery
4 entails maneuvering big, expensive machinery right to their doorstep, the scheduling and

A trucking
4 through traffic. timeliness of trucking companies is more
4 It’s a serious benefit for freight custom- important than ever. Our customers call us
4 ers, too. Trucking companies with the best at midnight and we are hauling their freight

company 4
safety records can qualify for the lowest
insurance rates, something they may be able
to pass along to their clients. Insurance rates
within an hour sometimes.
Finding the right balance between speed
and budget is the key. The best trucking com-
4 increased this year by 50% in many cases be- panies can offer guaranteed delivery windows
4 cause trucking industry insurance companies if you need them, or flexible logistics plans for
4 haven’t been profitable in decades due to the large-scale deliveries if you’re looking more
4 increase in lawsuits against truckers. for efficiency.
4 A long-established company will have a
good track record of delivery consistency,
with fewer loads delayed or damaged in traffic
Experience and focus
4 Finally, the trucking company’s experience
accidents because they have had the time to and focus should match your goals.
4 develop training methods, systems and re- We pride ourselves in being one of the saf-
4 porting that lead to safer outcomes. All things est, quickest and most efficient van and dump
4 equal, a company with a long history of safety haulers in the industry. We also offer a variety
4 will be a better choice than a fresh upstart. of other services including hot shot, flatbed
4 and double drop shipping.
4 Well-maintained equipment Finding a trucking company with a good
Closely related to safety is utilizing a fleet reputation in the industry that matches your
4 with modern, properly maintained transport needs can be an important part of making the
4 trucks and semi-trailers. choice.
4 Newer trucks typically have more safety
4 and comfort features, something that results
4 in happier, more comfortable drivers. And
4 that’s important, because keeping the best
drivers is one way the top trucking companies
set themselves apart from the competition.
4 Skilled drivers
4 Any trucking company can haul freight. It’s
4 the people that make the biggest difference,
4 which is why attracting and retaining the best
4 drivers is incredibly important to a quality
4 trucking firm.
4 The best companies will not just offer
competitive pay for their employees, but
4 they’ll also have a benefits package that helps
4 them feel valued and appreciated. We treat our
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 41
42 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

or a child, visiting a doctor’s office might Parents who follow a wellness philosophy
seem like a terrifying prospect. Initial vis- might have to look harder to find a doctor who
its can make an indelible mark on children is open-minded about alternative medicine.
for future treatments and the cold, clinical If you are interested in alternative vaccine
atmosphere of most medical clinics can be an schedules, be sure to find out if your doctor is

immediate source of fear. receptive to this idea.
Fortunately, pediatricians are trained not
only in medical treatment for children but how
to make them most comfortable during their
The visit
Bring your child along for this meeting. It
visits. Welcoming, child-friendly waiting and will help you gauge their interaction.
exam rooms, along with a caring, easy-going The doctor should make your child feel
4 manner work wonders on youngsters. at ease. He should be patient, tolerant and
4 If you’re looking for a pediatrician for your friendly.
child, here’s how to get started.
4 You must feel comfortable with this med-
4 ical professional as well. He should take the
4 Recommendations time to answer your questions thoughtfully.

pediatrician 4
Family, friends and acquaintances will
likely have recommendations about good
pediatricians in your area. Parents will be
Inquire about their emergency policy. Does
the office accept walk-ins? If your child gets
sick in the middle of the night, can you call the
4 happy to share about their experiences at the pediatrician or nurse? Find out about office
4 pediatrician’s office. hours and when you need to visit the hospital
4 You can also check with your family doctor instead.
4 or OB/GYN who delivered your baby. They Is the office decorated with children in
4 will have informed recommendations to help mind? Is it a safe, inviting atmosphere? Does
you select the best doctor. the practice use modern equipment? Are
4 Don’t just collect one or two names. Ideally, exam rooms clean?
4 you should have a list of at least three profes- Many pediatricians now offer separate wait-
4 sionals. It will help you compare and made the ing rooms for children who are not sick. These
4 right selection. “well child” waiting areas help stop the spread
4 of viruses. If your child is there for a checkup,
4 Insurance it is a bad idea to have him sit next to another
child who has the flu.
4 Next, look at your insurance policy. Find
4 out if any of the people on the list are part of
your network plan. Remember that children With this strategy, you should have an
4 visit the doctor more frequently than adults easier time selecting a pediatrician. Choosing
4 because they catch a lot of viruses while build- well now will save you time and trouble in the
4 ing up their immune systems. Doctors not future.
4 covered by your insurance should be crossed
4 off your list. You might also reconsider your
4 insurance policy.
4 Narrowing the list
It is time to arrange a meeting with each
4 physician so you can find out who will work
4 best with your child.
4 Look at their office locations. They should
4 be in a convenient location, not far from your
4 home. You will probably visit this doctor quite
4 often, so convenience is a big factor.
4 When you meet with the doctor, focus
on his or her philosophy. Some physicians
4 prefer to run lots of tests. Others have a more
4 relaxed and homespun approach.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 43
44 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

f you have a baby on the way, or you’re Birth location
planning a pregnancy in the near future, one For some expecting mothers, the location
of your most important choices is a quality, of their birth is a major consideration. If you
competent obstetrician/gynecologist, or OB- have a particular hospital or birthing center

in mind for your delivery, make sure your OB-
Pregnancy is a magical and life changing GYN is authorized to work there.
event, but it can also be stressful as you make Most obstetricians have admitting priv-
plans for your new addition’s birth. But by ileges to just one hospital, so picking your
choosing the right care providers and having OB-GYN means you’ll be choosing the place
a thorough pregnancy plan, you can avoid you’ll be giving birth, too. Look carefully into
a great deal of unnecessary and unhealthy the services your doctor’s hospital provides to
4 stress. make sure it meets your expectations.
4 These care providers will guide you from
the first days of your pregnancy until your
An The delivery
child’s birth. They’ll also follow up after birth
4 to make sure that mom is happy and healthy. Because every delivery is different — often
4 happening at unexpected times and occasion-
Here are some considerations for selecting
4 expert care providers. ally with complications that can’t be predicted
4 — it’s hard to know what your delivery will be
like with any precision.
4 Get recommendations The OB-GYN who delivers your baby, for
4 Chances are you have any friends, family example, may not be the one who care for
4 members or co-workers with growing fami- you during the pregnancy. There’s no way of
4 lies. They’ll usually be happy to share their knowing whether your OB-GYN will be the
4 experiences with you and recommend an OB- one on call when you go into labor.
GYN for you to use — or one to avoid. That’s an important question to ask,
4 Experience and training are obviously the
4 though, and the answer will often depend on
most important aspects of choosing any med- how large the OB-GYN’s practice is. For a
4 ical professional, but personal references can small practice, with only one or two doctors,
4 give you other insights, too. The doctor should you’ll be very likely to know the doctor who
4 have a personality and bedside manner that delivers your baby. But even if you choose an
4 makes you feel comfortable asking questions, individual practitioner who typically personal-
and they should be able to communicate with ly attends your delivery, ask about their back-
4 you clearly and completely.
4 up plan if they happen to be sick, on vacation
Getting these insights from new mothers or busy with another patient in labor at the
4 will help you know what to expect from differ- same time your baby is coming. You should
4 ent OB-GYNs in your area. know what to expect.
4 In the end, all these factors should come
4 Check your insurance together to make you comfortable and happy
4 Another important consideration is which about your decision. Asking lots of questions
4 doctors and hospitals are covered by your and picking a great OB-GYN will help make
insurance plan. sure you have a happy and healthy childbirth
Your ability to shop for doctors will vary experience.
4 widely depending on your particular policy.
4 Some insurance plans have a large network of
4 OB-GYNs to pick from, but others may only
4 give you one or two local choices unless you’re
4 willing to pay higher — and in some cases,
4 dramatically higher — out-of-network fees to
pick a different doctor.
4 For most people, choosing an in-network
4 provider is critical, so check with your insur-
4 ance company early in the process.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 45
46 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

hoosing a good wine is completely wine or rosé. Just as your food preferences
subjective. How each person defines a evolve as you mature, the wines you enjoy are
good wine is unique to them and their also likely to change over time. However, if
taste buds. Whether you prefer delicate, bold, the thought of drinking a sweet wine makes
sweet, tart or even spicy flavors, it is possi- you cringe, that doesn’t necessarily mean you

ble to find a wine you adore. These essential should jump to reds. Instead, opt for a dry
characteristics that define each variety of wine white or rosé. Beginning with a lighter-bod-
can be helpful to keep in mind as you navigate ied wine can be a step to learning to enjoy a
picking a bottle. variety of wines.
Sweetness: Wine labels often use the Reflect on other flavors you enjoy. Wine
terms “sweet,” “semi-sweet” or “dry.” A dry flavors are unique, but that doesn’t mean the
4 wine will not be sweet at all. flavors you enjoy in other drinks and food
4 Acidity: Wines with high acidity will be don’t influence what you’ll consider a good
more tart, whereas low-acidity wines will taste wine.
rounder or richer. Do you prefer apple juice or grapefruit
4 Tannin: Tannins are phenolic compounds juice? Apple juice lovers are more likely to
4 in the skins of grapes. When tannins are enjoy sweet white wine, while grapefruit juice
4 naturally present in the winemaking process enthusiasts will likely find their match in dry
4 or added through aging, the wine will have a white wine.
4 more bitter taste. Because tannins also tend Does your favorite dose of caffeine come
4 to dry out your mouth, people often confuse in the form of a latte or black coffee? Black
4 the tannin level with the “dryness” of a wine, coffee drinkers are more likely to fall for an
which actually refers to how sweet or not Old World wine — that is, wine that comes
4 sweet a wine is. The red winemaking process from one of the places where winemaking first
4 incorporates more tannins, giving some red began, such as France, Italy or Spain. If you
4 wines a distinctively dry and bitter finish. prefer a latte, try a New World wine, such as
4 Body: Wines get characterized as hav- something from the United States, Australia
4 ing a light body, full body or somewhere in or South Africa.
4 between. The “body” of the wine refers to how Consider the occasion. Are you selecting a
heavy or light it feels in your mouth. General- wine for yourself to enjoy, or are you sharing
4 ly, red wines have a fuller body than whites, as with friends? Will you be pairing your wine
4 do wines made from grapes grown in warmer with a meal or using it to prepare a recipe?
4 regions, rather than cooler ones. Wines can serve different purposes, and dif-
4 Alcohol: The higher the percentage of ferent occasions can influence how you choose
4 alcohol in your glass of wine, the more it will a wine.
4 warm your throat and the back of your mouth. Don’t stress over the age of the wine. Only
4 Measured in percentage of alcohol by volume some wines taste better with age, and differ-
(ABV), most wines contain 11 to 13 percent ent wines are best after different aging peri-
4 alcohol, but can range from 5.5 percent all the ods. Properly aging wine depends on many
4 way up to 20 percent. factors, including the region the wine is from
4 Everyone will have different preferences for and the amounts of tannins, sugars and acids
4 each of these characteristics of wine, but with it contains. In general, aging is more import-
4 the right care, you can find a bottle that fulfills ant for red wines than white wines, but any
4 your taste preferences. wine you purchase at the store will be ready
to drink. In fact, most wines are not meant to
4 Tips for picking a good bottle of wine be aged, and you should consume them within
Since “good wine” is so subjective, knowing five years of purchasing them.
4 how to choose the right wine means consid- Don’t write off bottles with screw caps!
4 ering several factors — including occasion, While wine bottles with screw have a bad
4 flavor preferences, labels and price points. reputation, they can still hold delicious wine.
4 While the combination of these factors is dif- Many great wines have opted for screw caps
4 ferent for each person, the tips below will help because they can be more convenient. How
anyone in search of that perfect bottle of wine. many times have you forgotten the corkscrew?
4 If you are new to wine, start with a white Don’t worry we sell those too.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 47
48 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

f you have a sizable lawn to care for, invest- when mowing close to homes, playground
ing a lawn tractor can save you substantial equipment and other tight areas.
time in keeping your lawn trim and looking
great. Besides just mowing, lawn tractors can
bag grass and leaves and spread seed, mulch,

The longevity of your lawn tractor is also an
and the chemicals you need to keep your lawn important consideration.
healthy. And if you pick a quality model and The brand’s reputation should weigh heav-
keep it properly maintained, a good mower ily when you are making a decision. Research
will last you for years to come. consumer reviews and talk to your friends and
family members about the best brands of lawn
The right fit products.
4 Lawn tractors come in a variety of capabil- Also, visiting a retail store and talking to
4 ities and price points which can range from knowledgeable salespeople will also help you.

A lawn
4 $1,000 for a simple, basic model to $10,000 or There are plenty of low-end, affordable
4 more for a fully-featured, commercial-grade riding mowers out there, but few have a rep-
4 tractor. In between, you will find a vast mix- utation for durability. It is economical in the

tractor 4
ture of features and quality.
Select the right model by asking yourself
how you will use the lawn tractor. Lawn size is
long run to choose a well-built model from a
reputable manufacturer.
Inspect the construction of each lawn
4 an important factor to consider. For a bigger mower careful to verify that it will meet your
4 lawn, you may need a wider mowing deck. Do needs. While you probably don’t need the
4 you have any other planned uses for your trac- extreme engineering and high price of a
4 tor such as hauling garden supplies of plowing commercial-grade model, you ought to buy
4 the drive? the best model you can afford and follow the
High-end lawn tractors are more like piec- maintenance directions closely. It will help
4 es of farm equipment than traditional ride-on you get the most usage for your money.
4 mowers. You can purchase accessories for Finding a good dealer is an essential part of
4 them, such as baggers, trailers, powerful the process. When you locate an experienced
4 tillers and snowblowers. local retailer with a long track record of happy
4 You are not only buying a lawn mower. customers, you will be well on your way to
4 These tractors are platforms that can be used selecting the right lawn tractor for you.
for all kinds of jobs. So check on the accesso-
4 ries that come with each model, even if you
4 don’t plan on purchasing them yet. You may
4 appreciate the choices in the future.
4 Speed and maneuverability
4 Most people want to finish the job in the
4 least amount of time.
4 While it is true that large mowing decks
will cover more ground with each pass, there
are other things to consider as well.
4 The transmission and speed is also a factor.
4 How easy is it for you to change gears and
4 turn in different directions?
4 The zero-turn mower is another popular
4 option. These vehicles can turn quickly and
4 precisely to cut lawns of all sizes and shapes.
While they have been used for years by com-
4 mercial lawn crews, only recently have these
4 mowers become affordable for the average
4 homeowner.
4 Zero-turn mowers are particularly useful
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 49
50 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

hen you’re growing a business, the Experience with mergers and acquisitions
right accounting firm is more than can come in handy down the road, even if you
a necessary step. The best ones can don’t need it now. Most businesses at some
also become a trusted business advisor. point will either acquire other companies
If you’re thinking about hiring an account- or be acquired, so having a trusted advisor

ing company, here are some things to consid- through the process — before, during and
er. after — can help make it a success in the long
Depth of experience Some accounting firms also have expertise
in personal finance, something closely related
The best accounting firms have teams of
certified public accountants (CPAs), book- to the goals of many small businesses. They’ll
4 keepers and other professionals who know be able to help your company and you person-
4 how to navigate the labyrinth of accounting, ally manage your financial future.

4 tax and finance rules — some of which may be
4 specific to your industry. Quality of service
4 The top firms typically aren’t new. They’ve Finally, like all service businesses, the

accounting 4
been around many years and have the depth
of knowledge that only experience can bring.
In an industry that constantly changes, having
quality of the accounting firm’s staff should be
a top priority.
The best accounting firms will give you a

firm 4
the stability and trustworthiness of a long-ten-
ured firm in your area should give you peace
of mind.
dedicated person to contact with your needs,
and they’ll be very responsive to your ques-
tions and concerns. You should get thorough
4 Ideally, you’ll want to find a firm that has a answers that help you make the best decisions
4 long track record of helping companies solve for your business.
issues similar to yours. The best firms will have a reputation for
4 not just doing accounting work — something
Breadth of services any accountant can do — but also developing
long-term relationships that help their clients
Knowing one segment of accounting with
4 high level of expertise is one thing. Having succeed.
4 experience and acumen on a wide range of
4 topics is quite another.
4 That’s why the best accounting firms also
4 offer a long list of capabilities that can be tai-
lored to fit any company and evolve with your
4 changing circumstances. What you need right
4 now may be very different from the services
4 you need in a decade, especially if you’re
4 growing.
4 A good accounting firm will be able to grow
4 with you.
While all accountants can do basic book-
keeping and taxes, you should find out what
4 other services they can offer as the need
4 arises.
4 For example, a strong accounting firm will
4 have experience helping you develop internal
4 controls for good financial practices and be
4 able to conduct audits to ensure they’re being
followed. They may be able to help you devel-
4 op a package of benefits to attract and retain
4 the best employees, analyze your cashflow,
4 manage your payroll and provide business
4 valuation for sales or acquisitions.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 51
52 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

rologists are medical specialists who answer all of your questions. Does he or she
treat diseases, infections and issues have a good bedside manner?
dealing with the urinary tract system Research will give you peace of mind.
and reproductive organs. If you are experienc- Finding the right urologist will give you
ing pain urinating, it’s usually a sign of infec- freedom of pain.

tion or possibly an underlying disease. While
many general physicians can also diagnose
these problems, more complicated issues such
as kidney stones or bladder cancer will often
be referred to urologists.
When looking for a urologist, here are
4 some things to keep in mind:
Ask around
A urologist
4 Check with other physicians, including
4 your primary doctor. They will likely have
recommendations for solid, quality care.
4 Also, inquire with close friends or family
4 members whom they have used. People don’t
4 often like to talk about medical problems
4 involving this area of the body. However, these
4 issues are actually prevalent, so it’s likely you
4 know people who have had similar issues.
4 They should be glad to give you a reference.
Searching online will also help. Reviews
4 from other patients can help guide your
4 decisions. Though you should be aware that
4 anonymous reviews can be faked and rarely
4 tell an entire story.
4 Check credentials
4 Your state’s medical board will have names
4 of urologists in your area. They will be able
to confirm a professional’s credential along
4 with his history. It is important to know if the
4 urologist has faced previous sanctions.
4 Another resource is the American Board
4 of Medical Specialties. This organization can
4 tell you if the urologist is board certified. They
4 have a website (http://CertificationMatters.
org) for patients to search for local specialists.
4 Other considerations
Experience their practice for yourself. Take
4 note of how the office staff treats you. Are
4 they polite? Do they contact you promptly and
4 make you feel comfortable?
4 The location of the office is another factor.
4 Will you be continuing treatment? If you need
4 to go back for follow-ups, you will want an of-
fice that is convenient. Check the office hours
4 to make sure they will fit with your schedule.
4 Your potential urologist should be able to
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 53
54 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

ore than 40 million Americans suffer Options
from some form of hearing loss or im- When you are searching for a hearing aid,
pairment. Difficulty hearing can have look for special features that will enhance
a huge impact on our lives, from struggling your hearing and your life. Some examples
to understand conversations to enjoying our

favorite forms of entertainment. Bluetooth connections: You could
Hearing aids can help relieve the conse- connect wirelessly to Bluetooth electronic
quences of this condition and ensure that the devices, such as smart phones. It allows you
hearing-impaired lead richer, fuller lives. to hear phone conversations directly through
If you think you may need a hearing aid, your hearing aid.
it’s a good idea to talk to an expert. Types of Telephone adaptors: This feature senses
4 hearing loss vary widely, and are sometimes when you are talking on the phone and adjusts
4 quite different from person to person. the setting to make it more clear during your
Recent innovations in hearing aids include
Hearing aids
4 conversation.
digital processors to isolate and amplify the Directional microphone: You can adjust
4 frequencies a patient needs most. Ask your
4 your device to pick up sound that is directly in
doctor about your options for a quality hearing front of you. For example, when you are hav-
4 device. ing one-on-one conversations with a person,
4 it is useful to turn the microphone to improve
4 Styles your hearing. You may also change the setting
4 Gone are the days of bulky, obvious hear- to a more general setting that would be useful
4 ing aids. at public performances or concerts.
4 The most popular hearing aids on the mar- Remote control: Some devices allow you
4 ket fit completely within the ear canal. While to adjust the settings without touching it. A
they are attractive and barely noticeable, remote control can change the directional
4 their small size means they are typically more microphone or amplification.
4 expensive. There are a lot of beautiful sounds in the
4 Other styles include half-shell, full-shell, world. Don’t let your hearing loss cause you to
4 behind-the-ear and open-fit hearing aids. miss any more of them. A hearing aid can help
4 Because these hearing aids come in a you.
4 range of sizes and prices, consult with a spe-
cialist to help you choose the right style to fit
4 your needs.
4 Internal electronics
4 The design of a hearing aid will make a
4 large difference in cost and performance. Two
4 devices may look similar but produce dramati-
4 cally different results.
4 The difference is in the internal electron-
ics. Nearly all hearing aids available today are
digital. They will filter out background noise,
4 enabling the wearer to hear a conversation
4 clearly. This technology is particularly effec-
4 tive in crowded settings.
4 This technology can be tailored to help
4 with your particular kind of hearing loss. If
4 you have an outdated hearing aid, consider
upgrading to a more modern device. It will
4 help your hearing be as close to natural as
4 possible.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 55
56 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

here are many sound reasons for choos- who will guide and inform you. He or she will
ing a financial advisor to manage your continually increase your knowledge about
money. Professional advisors are experts your current financial situation and how to
in wealth management and can guide you improve it.
how best to save, invest and allot your money

for current and future needs. They can also
suggest avenues of money management that
Put it in writing
Once you have narrowed your list to one or
hadn’t occurred to you, help lower your taxes two advisors; ask each to write a plan for mov-
and guide you through uncertain financial ing you from where you are to where you want
times. to be. Get a written copy of this proposal. This
To find a reliable financial advisor, start document state your short-term and long-term
4 by asking your social network. Friends and goals. This plan should be written clearly so
4 family may have some suggestions. Research you completely understand it.
online for advisors in your area. Your local
A financial
newspaper will likely have advertisements for Once everything has been completed to
4 local advisors. Remember to research each
4 your satisfaction, you can choose a financial

advisor with an eye toward your own situation advisor. Then you can comfortably relax and
4 and goals. know that your money and future are in good
4 Once you have a list of three or four pos- hands.
4 sibilities; look closer at each choice. It might
4 be a good idea to pick a financial advisor who
4 is a certified financial planner. But the most
important characteristics are trust and some-
4 one you are comfortable sharing information
4 and following guidance. And look at FINRA’S
4 Broker/Check for complaints.
4 You can request a list of satisfied clients
4 who have goals comparable to yours. Contact
4 them to talk about their experiences.
4 Areas of expertise
Financial products can contribute to your
4 well-being and peace of mind. Some common
4 investing tools include bonds, mutual funds,
4 stocks and commodities.
4 Weighing risk is essential. Some products
4 will undoubtedly be better for your portfolio
4 than others. An experienced financial advisor
4 can customize a portfolio especially for you.
4 Fees or commissions
Inquire about how your advisor is paid for
4 services. Most offer fee-based or commis-
4 sion-based services. There is no free lunch,
4 but it’s important to know how much and how
4 your advisor is paid.
4 Interview
4 Once you have narrowed your prospects to
4 two or three possibilities, schedule a meeting
with each professional. During this consulta-
4 tion, communicate your goals honestly and
4 clearly. A financial planner should be someone
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 57
58 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

n today’s world, it is easy to self-diagnose ed employment specialists (individuals who
any number of physical ailments – from foot help people with mental illnesses find work),
fungus to chest pains, to earaches and hair supportive housing specialists, crisis workers,
loss. Websites like WebMD®,, etc., who all work as a treatment team to help
MedlinePlus, and give you instant individuals with mental illness.

information on thousands of medical ailments
and possible treatments.
On matters of a psychological nature, there
is also a list of websites that can help explain
what you or someone you know is experienc-
ing and/or feeling. More often than not, any
4 one of these websites will also tell you that the
4 website itself isn’t for diagnosing any partic-
ular condition; It is for informational purpos-
A counseling
es, especially to help you relay to an actual
4 practitioner, what is going on with you. They
advise you to talk to your therapist, Doctor or
4 other medical practitioner and discuss your
4 research.
4 Sadly, every day, someone is told for the
4 first time that they have a mental illness.
4 Every. Single. Day.
While any diagnosis of anything is an emo-
4 tional time, whether it is physical or mental, it
4 does not mean it is untreatable.
4 Selecting the right service for you is a high-
4 ly individualized process. Because, possibly,
4 hopefully, at some point, you will be sharing
4 deep and very emotional details about yourself
with a clinician, you have to develop a trust
4 with the individuals who are there to attend
4 to your treatment. Do they take your insur-
4 ance? Or do you have no insurance? Is there
4 a Psychiatrist and/or Nurse Practitioner on
4 staff and available? Will you file my insurance,
4 no matter what I have? Is someone on call
4 24/7/365 to help me if I go into crisis or need
to talk with someone? What if I need a higher
4 level of care and need hospitalization — can
4 they help?
4 When someone is told they have a mental
4 illness a counseling service is typically what is
4 called a “one-stop-shop” when it comes to be-
4 ing able to address a multitude of needs in the
psychological realm. Just as medical clinics
4 have a general Medical Doctor or Nurse Prac-
4 titioner, they may also have several specialists
4 like Cardiologist, Internists, etc. A counsel-
4 ing service typically has therapists, case
4 managers, Psychiatrists and/or Psychiatric
4 Nurse Practitioners, peer support specialists
4 (someone who also receives services, but also
works with others who are beginning seeking
4 services to adjust to receiving help), support-
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 59
60 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

hoosing a funeral home is never an easy A caring and professional funeral director
process. During times of loss, the emo- and staff will take the time to explain all your
tional pain and grief can be crippling options in an empathetic way so you can make
and making arrangements for a funeral can a better choice when choosing a funeral home.
complicate and already difficult period. If the director seems short or uninterested

But there are ways to make this difficult de- in your needs or makes you feel like you and
cision a little bit easier on you and your family. your deceased loved one aren’t important, you
Here are some tips to help make choosing won’t want to choose this facility to handle the
the right funeral home less stressful. funeral of your loved one.
While dealing with the death of a loved one
Compare prices is hard, choosing the right funeral home can
help relieve you of some stress.
4 If you have had to make funeral arrange-
4 ments in the past, you may be tempted to just If you want your loved one to receive the
proper funeral he or she deserves, following
A funeral
4 go with the funeral home you have experience
with. While this may be a smart option for the above listed tips should help you make the
4 right choice.
4 some people, it’s not always the right option.

home 4
Depending on how long it’s been since you
needed to make funeral arrangements for a
loved one, the price of that particular funeral
4 home may have gone up. That’s why it is wise
4 to shop around and compare the prices of the
4 various funeral homes in your community.
4 Ask for references from friends
4 Even if you have never had to choose a
4 funeral home in the past, you may have a
friend or two who has. Ask these friends if
4 they would recommend the services provided
4 at the funeral homes they have used.
4 They may be able to share valuable infor-
4 mation about the staff, facility and prices of a
4 specific funeral home.
4 Ask about packages
Whether your deceased loved one had a
specific list for their final wishes or you have
4 to make these decisions for yourself, it is im-
4 portant that you ask a potential funeral home
4 what types of packages they offer.
4 You will find that not all funeral homes
4 are created equal, and each offers their own
4 different ways of handling a service. No
matter what type of requirements you have, it
4 is best to choose a funeral home that will cater
4 to your specific needs in order to make this
4 difficult situation a little less daunting.
4 Caring staff
4 When visiting a potential funeral home, the
4 funeral director can be a major deciding factor
4 when you choose whether or not to use this
particular company to handle the funeral of
4 your loved one.
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 61
62 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide
How to choose guide The Dispatch • Sunday, January 26, 2020 63

hen loved ones reach their final prospective patient.
years, in-home care or visits to a Possible questions might include avail-
medical clinic or facility may prove ability of physical and occupational therapy,
ineffective. As people age and their medical accommodation of appointments outside the
conditions become more severe, round-the- facility and access to barbers and beauticians

clock care may become necessary. for the residents.
That’s when it’s time to choose a quality
nursing home that can provide both the med-
ical care and compassionate treatment they
Talk with others
You might have a chance to talk with a rel-
deserve. At no time in their lives is quality of ative of a patient who is currently living in the
life more important that during this time. nursing home. Don’t be afraid of asking them
4 A nursing home can provide a comfortable for honest opinions about the facility.
4 living environment for your loved ones while Query them about the staff and quality of
ensuring that all of their needs are met. As an
A nursing
4 care received by the residents. Solicit their
added bonus, you can rest assured knowing input on whether you should place your own
4 that quality medical care is always nearby to
4 loved one in this facility.

meet any medical emergency that may arise. These relatives are usually eager to share
4 You can’t put a price on that peace of mind. their experiences with you. Hearing their
4 Here are a few things to think about if you impressions will help ease your own anxieties
4 believe someone you love could benefit from about this important decision.
4 nursing home care.
4 Ask the doctor
4 Visit the facility If you are still unsure about your decision,
4 Take a tour of the potential facility. You or if you have reservations about the facility,
should intuitively feel warmth and safety in discuss the matter with your loved one’s pri-
4 this environment. Your visit will also provide
4 mary care physician. This professional should
clues about the general atmosphere and also be able to recommend good nursing facili-
4 morale of the residents. There should be lots ties in your area.
4 of natural light, cheerful colors, bright wall The doctor may suggest additional facilities
4 art and hints of laughter from the staff and not on your original list. When your loved one
4 patients. has special needs, the doctor will know which
Focus on the cleanliness, staffing levels facility or center can best meet these require-
4 and the appearance of other residents. Is
4 ments.
the air fresh and free from unpleasant odors Deciding to put a family member or loved
4 such as urine, feces and stale food? Are there one in a nursing facility is never easy. Care-
4 enough nurses and attendants on duty? Are fully weigh the expectations of your family
4 residents appropriately dressed? Do they member with your impressions and the rec-
4 seem clean and freshly bathed? ommendations of others.
4 Bring the prospective resident along for This is one of life’s most difficult decisions.
the tour. This facility may become home. Your Taking the time and doing the research will
4 loved one deserves to have a voice in selecting result in a better quality of life for your loved
4 the facility. Feeling welcomed are cues that one and peace of mind for yourself.
4 this could be a positive living experience.
4 Socializing is important. Are there op-
4 portunities for residents to meet each other?
4 Regular activities such as music and crafts or
an outdoor area for enjoying the sunshine will
4 enhance quality of life.
4 Most nursing home facilities are happy to
4 provide a tour of the building. Once you see
4 the environment, ask for a consultation with a
4 staff member. This is an opportunity for you to
4 ask questions and address special needs of the
64 Sunday, January 26, 2020 The Dispatch • How to choose guide

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