The Aging of
Will Boomers Change Aging?
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MESSAGE from the publisher
The Times They Are a-Changin’ It was 1964 when Bob Dylan first sang this tune, yet in some ways his lyrics seem even more relevant today. Just as we begin to grapple with the changes and challenges of aging, Boomers find ourselves smack dab in the middle of another societal upheaval. Old and new battles and opportunities have arisen that require our experience, attention, and action. Will we get it right this time? I was one of tens of thousands who participated in the Seattle Women’s March on January 21. It was not my first march, although it had been decades since I participated in one. It was the first protest march for many I met along the route that day, and lots of these first-timers—women and men alike—were in their seventh, eighth,
or even ninth decade of life! Marching together, we felt our collective power, we felt confident in our voice, we felt relevant. And now it’s up to us to move from feeling relevant to being relevant. In this issue’s feature a r t icle, T he Ag ing of Aquarius, writer Sally Fox wonders if once-activist Boomers w i l l become activists again, “busting up ageism to create a culture that values its elders.” Gerontologist, activist, and author Dr. Bill Thomas believes we have one more chance to make a real difference—and we should seize the moment. At 89, Seattle feminist and activist Alene Moris is not giving up her unwavering devotion to working for progressive change. She recognizes that there is still much work to be done, and that it’s also time to pass the baton to the next generation to continue the work. If, as many experts say, a hallmark of living a full, happy, and long life is living with meaning and purpose, then we have many opportunities to embrace our power, to live with purpose, and to make a difference right now. Wherever you choose to focus your time and energy, these changing times require your voice and action. Volunteer, speak out, show support with your dollars, and refuse to be marginalized. Heed the words of another Dylan, Dylan Thomas, and “Do not go gentle into that good night.”
“Boomers find ourselves smack dab in the middle of another societal upheaval.”
Publisher Victoria Marshall with Hinda Kipnis, age 85, at the Women’s March in Seattle.
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
OU R VI SI ON 3rd Act Magazine endeavors to inform, inspire, and entertain older adults. Our stories and articles challenge worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Aging is good, let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and let’s age together with confidence. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Julie Fanselow ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna, Gayle Fox ADVERTISING Victoria Starr Marshall, Kim Salzwedel DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall CONTRI BUTI N G WRITE RS Judith Adams, Ashley T. Benem, Misha Berson, Kyle Ciminski, Rebecca Crichton, Annie Culver, Patti Dobrowolski, Julie Fanselow, Sally Fox, Hollis Giammatteo, Dori Gillam, Joe Guppy, Ann Hedreen, Charlie Hinckley, Lynne Iser, Jennifer James, Nancy Linde, Don McDonald, Kellie Moeller, Teri Thomson Randall, Stacy Romillah, Richard Seven, Liz Taylor COVE R PH OTOG R APHY Ernie Sapiro WRITE TO US 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320 3rd Act Magazine is published quarterly by Oshi Publishing, LLC. The opinions, advice or statements expressed by contributing writers do not reflect those of the editors, the publishers, or of 3rd Act Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice, or other content contained herein. Oshi Publishing, LLC makes no representation and, to the fullest extent allowed by law, disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied. The content published herein may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. Copyright 2017 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC 81 Canal Lane · Brinnon, WA 98320 360-796-4837 Email: info@3rdActMag.com For subscriptions and additional information, see us online at www.3rdActMag.com.
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contents FEATURES 20 SEEKING PLEASURE AT
EVERY AGE Sex and intimacy
evolve as we age. JENNIFER JAMES
24 FROM COMMUNES TO COHOUSING Find the right mix
of independence and community. RICHARD SEVEN
28 N EVER GIVE UP
At 89, Alene Moris is ready for action. ANN HEDREEN
38 THE AGING OF AQUARIUS
Will the youth-obsessed Boomer generation change aging? SALLY FOX
42 SAYING ‘YES, AND…’ OVER
AND OVER Joe and Nancy Guppy
on getting older with enthusiasm. SALLY FOX
ARTFUL AGING 10 AGING DELIBERATELY
Time to get real about aging in place. LIZ TAYLOR
12 G IVING VOICE TO VALUES How to appreciate the other side. REBECCA CRICHTON
14 LOOKING FOR A SIGN
Sometimes a little “woo-woo” helps. ANNIE CULVER
50 THE PERILS (AND HOPES)
OF QUEER AGING Significant
challenges remain for LGBTQ seniors. HOLLIS GIAMMATTEO
58 LIVING INTO DYING
Imaginative options to lay a body to final rest. ASHLEY T. BENEM
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine
Just the Right Notes I’ve come across two issues of 3rd Act at the library—one last autumn and one yesterday—and have been impressed with your publication. For my sensibility, you’re hitting just the right notes to educate, inspire, and just plain share the joy of Act III. Thanks so much for your efforts! — Carol Klacik, Olympia
LIFESTYLE 16 THE POWER OF PORTFOLIO DIVERSITY It’s essential to build
diversity into investments (and life). DON McDONALD
18 K ITCHEN TABLE
Becoming an elder activist. LYNNE ISER
44 MY 3RD ACT
Improvising my way into the future. JOE GUPPY
46 K EEP SINGING FOR A
CHANGE Remember to make
music and sing. SALLY FOX
WELLNESS 31 H OW DO YOU SHINE? Letting go for better health. STACY ROMILLAH
32 VOLUNTEER. IT'S GOOD
FOR YOU, TOO. Yes, it's still
better to give than receive. TERI THOMSON RANDALL
36 THE GODFATHER OF
FITNESS Jack LaLanne's simple
routines started it all. KYLE CIMINSKI
48 C ANNABIS CULTURE,
52 W HAT ABOUT BOB? Dating (again) over 55. DORI GILLAM
54 H AIR’S THE THING
To dye or not to dye, that is the question. PATTI DOBROWOLSKI
56 H IT THE ROAD
RVs spell freedom in all shapes and sizes. JULIE FANSELOW
50 YEARS LATER Are older adults
using marijuana? Yes, and here's why. CHARLIE HINCKLEY
IN EVERY ISSUE 8 TIME TO TALK
Help with pressing questions on aging and transitions. KELLIE MOELLER
60 O N THE TOWN
An insider’s hot tips on Seattle area arts events. MISHA BERSON
62 BOOKS SPRING 2017
The Aging of
Aquarius Will Boomers Change Aging?
The Pleasure Bond Sex & Dating MICROBUS TO MOTOR COACH Living an RV Retirement
NEVER GIVE UP Alene Moris’ Lifelong Activism
COHOUSING The New Communal Living
Cover: At 61 and 56, Joe and Nancy Guppy are younger members of the Boomer generation. But as entertainers, they have a deep understanding of what it means to age in the spotlight. Photo by Ernie Sapiro
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
Upbeat and Inspiring This new magazine is like a fresh breath of air. I first saw it in a medical office, then took it to my doctor, who loved it and ordered it for her clinic. It is upbeat and inspiring. Every article is so appropriate for those of us who are in transition. Particularly loved the article by Jennifer James. — Sue Parks, Redmond
From a Younger Fan– Relevant for 40-Year-Old Picked up your second issue at the Port Townsend Library, and have become a fan! (I think I’ve found and read all the issues.) I am not in my third act yet—I am 40 years old, have a career, and am raising a son who is in elementary school—but the relevant topics and mindful perspective in your publication resonate with me. I am also helping my parents make decisions about moving to be close to us. Thank you for putting this magazine together, and I hope to meet you someday! — Shelly Randall, Port Townsend
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem DAVID MARSHALL
63 COMING ATTRACTIONS
Shows and events you don’t want to miss.
64 B RAIN GAMES
Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.
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time to talk BY KELLIE MOELLER
We love our pets—and how. More than 60 percent of people over age 50 own a pet, and in 2015, American Pet Products estimated that Americans spend more than $60 billion on their pets every year. Pets are an important part of our lives and bring significant physical and emotional health benefits. But when our furry friends’ needs outweigh our ability to provide for them, what do we do?
My husband and I have been married for many years and we just got a new dog that I love. The dog enjoys sleeping in our bed at night. My husband is complaining about the dog in the bedroom, but I am enjoying the warm fuzzy company and sleep better than I have in ages. This week I moved into the extra bedroom with the dog, and although I am loving it and sleep like a baby, I feel a bit guilty. Is it unusual for couples to sleep in separate bedrooms? —Sleeping Solo in Seattle
A Kellie Moeller has worked in the senior housing industry in the Northwest for more than a decade. With an insider’s view and a passion for serving seniors, she gives a fresh perspective on aging. Email your questions to TimetoTalk@ 3rdActMagazine.com or mail your questions to Time to Talk, 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320.
It is very common for people in a mature relationship to have separate sleeping spaces. In fact, a 2015 National Sleep Foundation survey found that as many as 25 percent of couples reported sleeping in separate beds. Studies in England and Japan have found similar results. The National Association of Home Builders says it expects 60 percent of custom homes to have dual master bedrooms in the future. Common aging issues like snoring, sleep apnea, and other health-related matters can make sleeping in the same space a challenge. In the end, sleeping in separate beds is a practical decision, made with the ultimate goal of both partners having a good night’s sleep. So enjoy your new space and furry company, but don’t neglect to nurture the intimacy in your marriage. Regular “pillow talk” without Fido will bring greater emotional comfort and closeness to your human relationship, too.
well fed, she is unable to take them outside, so they poop on the floor and urinate on the furniture and her home smells like a kennel. I know that she loves her pets, but where do we draw the line as a family? —Kennel Crazy in Kirkland
Pets provide companionship for people who are lonely. They fill the home with love and affection, and give us value and a routine every day. They force us to exercise and to get outdoors, while giving us a sense of being needed and the opportunity to make new friends with their delightful personalities. So why not find ways to help Mom keep her pups, if possible? Perhaps hire housekeeping services, install a doggy door, or find a dog walker who can help. If the situation gets to the point where the dogs are suffering, it may be time to offer to find them another home where Mom can visit them on a regular basis. In the end, where you draw the line needs to benefit both your mother and the pets in the best way.
My mother owns several dogs and she loves them like her children. But I can’t stand visiting anymore because she is no longer taking appropriate care of them. Though they seem happy and
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
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Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine
Time to Get Real About Aging in Place BY LIZ TAYLOR
Liz Taylor, an eldercare specialist for 40 years, lives in the San Juan Islands, where she is semi-retired. She wrote a popular column on aging for The Seattle Times for 14 years, and has consulted with thousands of older adults and their families. Liz can be reached at lizt@ agingdeliberately.com.
MOST OF US WANT TO “AGE IN PLACE” — live in our homes as long as we can as we grow older. It’s where our memories are, where we raised our kids. It’s what our parents did, and we intend to do the same. So every time I’m asked where a person should live as they age, my answer is, “It depends!” It depends on a hundred thousand details that seem insignificant when we’re healthy, but can take on unexpected importance when our health fades. Your current home can be the smartest, cheapest, and easiest place to grow old in, especially in the beginning, when you’re relatively healthy. It can also be the most complicated, expensive, miserable, and difficult. Yet few of us want to think bad things will happen. After all, voices on TV, online, in ads, and from “authorities” like AARP and the government tell us that aging in place is the right thing to do. It’s also what we want to hear, so we assume we’ll do it—without giving it much thought. We are a society that deeply denies we’re getting old. From this denial comes a profound ignorance of the physical, mental, and practical changes that being old can bring. Most of us have little knowledge of what happens to people who were once strong and vital but are now ill or frail or have dementia. We’re content to live as we always have and let life happen—until reality hits. When the bottom drops out, you can hit hard. In my work with thousands of older people over the last 40 years—including my own parents who were adamant about staying at home—I’ve
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
seen many serious barriers to successful aging in place, including: • Mind-numbing loneliness and depression due to long stretches of isolation. • Thievery or exploitation (financial, physical, and psychological) by family members and paid helpers. • Poor nutrition due to not eating properly (whether there’s little appetite, no food in the house, or it’s too much trouble to cook). • Lack of exercise leading to falls and premature frailty.
• Homes that were never designed for people with disabilities (too many stairs, narrow doorways, huge yards, slippery bathrooms, far away from stores, etc.). But the biggest challenge of aging in place is the profound shortage of people—both family members and paid—to care for us. By definition, aging in place requires you to obtain the human assistance you need when you can no longer get groceries, clean house, mow the grass, get to the bathroom, and so on. Family members provide 70 percent of this care, and most of it is free, at least in dollars. But there are often other unanticipated costs, including poor quality of care (not every adult child can or should care for an aging parent) and other issues affecting the caregiving son or daughter: strained marriages, postponed careers,
financial loss, depression, and high levels of stress. Another problem: Many of us don’t have children to care for us, because they live far away, have difficulties of their own, or were never born. An estimated one in five Boomers has no children. In 2010, there were more than seven family caregivers for every person 80 and older. By 2030, estimates say, there will be only four, and by 2050 there will be fewer still. Many spouses are caregivers, which can happen naturally as couples decline together. This can work well for a time but fall quietly apart as the unhealthy spouse becomes more seriously ill or demented, or as both spouses become ill. An 84-year old wife who cared for her gravely disabled husband told me, “Nobody understands how hard this is until they’ve gone through it.” Indeed, studies show that caregiving can lead to the premature death of healthy older caregivers due to the stress and strain of caregiving. The same demographic trends trimming the number of family caregivers will cut into the ranks of those who are paid. A severe shortage of these workers has affected home care, assisted living communities, and nursing homes for decades, but now the trend is becoming dire. In the next decade alone, it’s estimated that more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed—and by 2020, paid eldercare workers will be the largest occupation in the United States. However, given the low pay and difficult nature of the work, vast numbers of these jobs will go unfilled, and some regions and communities will have greater shortages than others. These statistics show that we all need to plan much more strategically for our aging than ever before. Reality is daunting, but it’s a better lens than ignorance and myth—and knowledge and action can offer a clearer path toward a safer, more satisfying old age for everyone.
“We are a society that deeply denies we’re getting old. From this denial comes a profound ignorance of the physical, mental, and practical changes that being old can bring.”
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 11
GIVING VOICE TO VALUES
The Other Side BY REBECCA CRICHTON
Rebecca Crichton is Executive Director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that topic in the Seattle area. She worked at Boeing for 21 years as a writer, curriculum designer, and leadership development coach. She has master’s degrees in child development and organizational development, and she is a certified coach.
WHEN I WAS IN MY 20s AND LEARNING TO WEAVE, I acquired a thread counter. This little magnifying tool still resides in my purse, a reminder that there’s more going on than meets the eye. My magnifier reveals the multicolored threads that can’t be seen when viewed from a distance. Using it, I learned about complex weaves, where different patterns, colors, and effects reveal themselves on each side of a fabric. While there is usually a “right” side, the one the designer had in mind, the reverse side— equally strong and useable—can be surprisingly beautiful. My living room chairs are upholstered with the back side of a fabric that enchanted me, even if it wasn’t the right side. And so it is with our conversations. During my career at Boeing, I helped managers learn to ask open-ended questions. We often front-load our questions in ways that make disagreement uncomfortable: “Don’t you agree that…?” and “Isn’t it...?” give a clear message about the response we expect. Open-ended questions require letting go of knowing what the answer will be and taking a chance on someone disagreeing with us. Such questions require a person to pause, think, and reflect, so they promote honest exchange and call forth deeper answers about how a person really feels. Words and phrases such as “why,” “how,” “tell me about,” or “what do you think about?” help us gain understanding, rather than what we expect to hear. Andrea Cohen is a Compassionate Listening curriculum developer, author, and facilitator, and she was co-director of the Jewish-German Reconciliation Project, a program that helped people heal the wounds of World War II through
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
the practice of deep listening. Since last fall’s election, she has provided skills-building sessions at Seattle venues to help people connect across the political divide. “This requires an act of courage and a capacity to listen with our hearts as well as with our heads,” Cohen says. It helps us notice—and manage—how we react when we hear something we don’t like. Why do that? For the sake of understanding, “and for making our relationships with family, friends, and others we encounter just a little bit kinder,” she adds.
Cohen suggests that we start by asking ourselves honestly about our own motivations. “Are we really open to learning something new, or do we simply want to reinforce our stereotypes about the other person? If we’re really serious about understanding what lies beneath the other person’s positions, we’ll need to leave our assumptions at the door.” It is relatively easy to find out what others think. (How many noisy encounters have you engaged in or heard over the past three months?) It’s harder to ask about the experiences that formed these strongly held opinions. Even harder is the willingness to explore the foundational values that motivate us and others. This process requires respect and bravery. Yet clarifying our own values, and being open and curious about the values of others, helps us see the connecting threads and diverse patterns of life. Through deep listening, we can better see, understand—and perhaps appreciate —the other side. www.3rdActMag.com
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Looking for A Sign BY ANNIE CULVER
Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early ‘90s, she worked for websites where she wrote sassy essays for women readers. More recently, she morphed into a writer for several universities in the Northwest. She retired this year, yet still enjoys freelancing.
I’M NOT EXACTLY THE WOO-WOO TYPE. I’ve never taken a class in healing with angels or aligning my chakras. When inner child discoveries were the rage, I toyed with writing a how-to book on finding the spoiled brat within. I’ve definitely known my share of woo-woo characters, a few of whom claim to channel spirits of the dead. I have no desire to master that trick. But I do recall the day my mother summoned her dead grandmother. Mom was in the kitchen cutting up potatoes when she suddenly looked up and asked, “Big Mom, can you give me a little help with this?” She sought guidance from her departed grandma so she might slice those taters into perfect wedges for French fries. I was maybe 13 then, so I just rolled my eyes. But after Mom died, and because she had planted this quirky notion, I started to call upon her for domestic wisdom when I’d struggle over something she had taught me. Now that I’ve done it for decades, it’s as though I can sense her drop what she’s doing in her ethereal world to pop by and help me. On the day my Dad died, the most conservative colleague I had in the newspaper business took me aside and told me to keep having conversations with my father over the next few days. She said I should tell him whatever I needed to unload, as well as what he needed to
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
hear from me, including the fact that he had my permission to depart the planet. I couldn’t fathom this advice had come from an old-school, hard-nosed business editor. Nevertheless, I followed her recommendation. I even had a few noisy tiffs with dear old Dad as I shed some tears and encouraged him to be on his way. If nothing else, it sure was cathartic for me, and I’ve since urged others to follow the same advice. A few years ago, while mourning the unexpected death of a friend who had a massive heart attack, I was changing the battery in a hiccupping smoke alarm. I removed the old battery, but before I replaced it, the dang thing went off sans battery. I got a chill. I could practically hear my buddy laughing. I mentioned this to one of my woo-woo gurus who matter-of-factly said the dead have an ability to mess with electronics. Mischief, she called it. I was pondering all this today when the phone rang. “You called?” my brother in Massachusetts asked. “Nope, why’d you think that?” “It says on my phone I missed a call from you,” he replied. “When?” “Just now.” “Huh,” I said, “must be Mom.” “Or father,” he added with a laugh. “If the dead are so good with electronics, why can’t they send email?” Turns out author Laurie Frankel wrote a novel called Goodbye for Now, which might have some thoughts on that. It’s about a computer expert who develops an algorithm that keeps people connected—via email—with loved ones who have passed away. Apparently a film is in the works, too. Now that’s woo-woo I’d like to experience.
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 15
The Power of
Portfolio Diversity BY DON MCDONALD
The host of the nationally syndicated Don McDonald Show for over 20 years, Don now co-hosts Talking Real Money with Tom Cock on Seattle’s KOMO radio Saturdays at noon (talkingrealmoney.com). Don also publishes the investing magazine, real investing journal (realinvestingjournal. com).
IT USED TO BE VERY FEW PEOPLE INVESTED—about 11 percent of the population in 1959—and most of them speculated in the stock market. Buying stocks was (and is) more like gambling than real investing, as individual companies can go bankrupt, losing stockholders everything they invested. But starting in the 1960s, better-educated workers discovered mutual funds as a way to increase wealth. The funds offered several advantages over buying individual equity securities. Since most stocks were only sold in “round lots” of 100 shares, buying shares in even one firm was beyond the means of most. Mutual fund portfolios were available to those with $1,000 or less to invest. Mutual funds offered another huge advantage to investors—diversity. People could invest in a large segment of the economy and worry less about the possibility of total loss. Losing everything in a fund was still technically possible, but even in a fund with 20 or 30 stocks, it was far less likely. So it’s no surprise mutual funds have become popular. In 1970, about 250 U.S. mutual funds were managing a mere $50 billion. That number has mushroomed to over 8,000 funds with more than $16 trillion invested. Globally, mutual funds manage more than $31 trillion. Boomers were the first generation of Americans to have the opportunity to be what I call “real” investors, which I define as someone who understands that investing is not synonymous with speculating. These are folks who have learned that buying a stock or two
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
(or even several) is far too dangerous to their future wealth. No matter how good a company might be today and how confident you are in its prospects, it is impossible to know what the future will bring. Millions of investors rode General Motors (GM) stock from $93 per share in 2000 all the way down to worthless when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2009. In the 1960s the prevailing belief was that “as goes GM, so goes the country.” Thankfully, despite GM’s crash, the country goes on. (And so does GM: After its original shareholders shareholders lost everything, the company reorganized. The new GM stock was trading at about $37 a share in mid-March.) If you bought $10,000 worth of GM stock in 1970, you would have nothing today. However, if you invested $10,000 in a diversified portfolio consisting of almost every publicly traded stock in the U.S., you would likely be sitting on over $1 million today. (This is a hypothetical example and does not represent actual past returns or imply any future results.) A globally diversified portfolio would have done slightly better. Yes, you would have suffered through some frightening declines—like watching your $10,000 drop to about $8,000 in 1974 or your $500,000 plummet to about $300,000 in 2008—but, barring an asteroid strike or global nuclear war, there was no chance you could have lost it all. The same reasoning applies going forward: Portfolio diversity is good for you and your future.
Get in the Act! 3rdActMag.com TOGETHER, LET’S AGE WITH CONFIDENCE! VISIT US ONLINE TO: • Interact with us, our writers, and other readers • Share your favorite articles on Facebook or email • Read articles found only on our website • Access past issues and stories • View great videos • Listen to engaging Podcasts • So much more!
Kitchen Table Transformation BY LYNNE ISER
Lynne Iser and Mordechai Liebling being arrested with “Elders Standing for Democracy Spring” along with 1,200 others. April 2016 Right: Gathering for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia before the Democratic National Convention July 2016 We had high hopes!!! Below: Grandparents from Conscious Elders Network marching for the future
y life changed at an unexpected moment eight years ago. My youngest daughter was 16, lingering in the kitchen as I sautéed onions and mushrooms for dinner. She was reading the newspaper and suddenly turned to me in tears and said, “I wish I grew up in the 1960s.” Her sorrow shocked me because she’s had so many more opportunities than I had at her age. Yet as she read the newspaper, the fragility of our planet and of humanity weighed heavily on her heart. And it broke my heart to see my children living in fear, traumatized by news of violence, economic disparity, and the many global crises that dominate our lives. At that moment, I didn’t know what to do, where to begin. However, as I spoke with friends, went to workshops, and read widely, I began what has become the most exciting phase of my life. Inspired by my daughter, I now work to assure that her future holds promise, and that the perils of global warming and social injustice don’t rob her of hope. In my new career as an “elder activist,” I do my best to address issues such as climate change, racism, growing economic inequity, failing schools, and global migration. I’ve
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
learned that these issues are all connected. My activism has taken the form of study and action groups, marches and rallies, and in-person meetings with state and congressional leaders. Throughout these experiences I’ve been surrounded by hard-working folks, many with grandchildren, who are seeking a better world. We feel a sense of unity and strength as we work together. I believe the Boomer generation could truly make a difference if we reconnected with the values that animated our activism in the 1960s and revived our long-ago ambitions to improve civil rights, safeguard the environment, and work for peace. Imagine if a return to activism inspired even a fraction of the 10,000 Boomers who will turn 65 today, and each and every day for the next 19 years. What a better world that would be! We would truly be a force to be reckoned with, an age cohort with the potential to push our world toward a tipping point.
Pussy Hats By Judith Adams
This is what I hope will be my legacy—to be part of a generation that reclaims our voices as elders, standing tall in the public square, speaking truth to power and working together to leave a more peaceful, democratic, green, and beautiful world to future generations. We’ve reached the age where we have little to fear unless we do nothing. Today, my daughter tells me how proud she is of me and says my activism gives her hope for her future. Because I want her to experience so much more than just hope, I urge you to join me in pursuing this vision, so she and future generations can experience the security of a thriving and more just world. Lynne Iser has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas. She created Elder Activists (see elder-activists.org) to inspire, educate, and organize elders to work toward a thriving and more just world. Lynne previously co-founded the Spiritual Eldering Institute (online at sage-ing.org), and she currently teaches workshops on “Becoming Vibrant Elders.”
Aging with Confidence
Knit and purl of solidarity. Reeling from Twitter’s shallow language, make America think again. Flaunt what is feminine, what is abused. Men march in pussy hats for their women. Together we choose levity for the sake of our daughters. This is not a one time protest but beginning lift off to the Pentagon. The old order of supremacy soon shipped by the inevitable to the other side. In the meantime, we minimize the damage, we walk, we allow the sound waves to reach the White House. Cities of the world join us. We are not one country, we are people of one planet. Judith Adams is an English-born poet living in the U.S. since 1976. She has published four books of poetry and recorded several CDs of her work. Her poems have been published in magazines, in anthologies, and choreographed for dance. Judith conducts poetry workshops for youth and adults and most recently is leading Grief Writing programs in Langley, WA. She has been selected for the Washington State Speakers Bureau for 2017-20.
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SEEKING PLEASURE at EVERY AGE BY JENNIFER JAMES
In 1974, in what seemed like a wild notion at the time, sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson introduced the idea of mutual sex as a “pleasure bond.” They theorized that couples reaffirm their commitment through affection and intercourse, orgasm releases pair-bonding hormones, and this pleasure bond lasts a lifetime, even as our sexual desires evolve with age. Decades later, we know how the reassurance of touch, sexual or sensual, is essential to our well-being as singles or doubles. Yet even when we are free from raising families or full-time work, it is no surprise that desire continues to diminish. Fatigue, surgeries, medications, and disabilities take a toll. Familiarity and incompatibility are factors, too. Some older couples become satisfied with affection. Others want more and end up negotiating what is acceptable and what will
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
satisfy. We are individuals with varying sexual desires, and when desires don’t match, it’s essential to talk about differences because silence feels like rejection. Self-stimulation is a common remedy when patterns don’t match. Happy couples report that, for them, sexual contact becomes less goal oriented and more pleasure oriented as they age. It is a different, but still wonderful, kind of excitement that gives them a deep sense of satisfaction. This special intimacy requires trust, which requires monogamy. Humans aren’t alone in pairing up: Orcas, grey wolves, beavers, albatross, bald eagles, barn owls, swans, and even some rats and vultures form bonded pairs. For humans, the monogamy dilemma is that nothing seems to replace the early thrills of the unknown, the chase, the first times with someone new (assuming it goes well). That particular kind of sexual intensity is built into our genes to ensure we reproduce. But people who have a high need for that intensity over and over find it rarely turns out well. A few seniors seek the www.3rdActMag.com
The Aging of
rejuvenation of a much younger lover. Sometimes it works out, especially for older men (think Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Tony Randall) who have money and charisma. But more often, age differences matter and multiple partners corrode the deeper pleasures of sex as well as long-term relationships. There are easier ways to re-create sexual thrills, whether you’re single or partnered. Mrs. A, an 84-year-old-widow who spoke to my medical school class, had almost given up on men after an excited lover nearly suffocated her with a pillow. But she found that creating an imaginary scene starring herself as a Playboy model helped get the juices flowing again. Of course, students in the 1970s were stunned that this dumpy grayhaired granny was even sexual. Arousal and passion are psychological as much as physical. Couples make intimacy easier by scheduling time together—mornings are usually better for older men—and then creating anticipation by complimenting, helping each other, flirting, or playing favorite music. During the “date,” everything from clothing, toys, and high-tech lubes and even pornography can generate thrills, as long as there’s mutual agreement. Trust is basic—but so is openness to new things. We all have stored sexual scenarios we can call on. I am partial to cowboys and scientists! Reduce performance pressure by eliminating the goal of orgasm, or take turns reaching that peak. The missionary position is hard on aging bodies and there are many alternatives. (Who knew that at 21?) You don’t even need a bed if you have the right chair. It takes longer to be aroused, so just being close is sensual and satisfying. Sex works best when communication is easy, both parties can laugh, and no one pretends. Selfstimulation is fine, vibrators can help you “finish,” and offering a “quickie” is fair. If you are left up in the air, then cuddle and resolve your situation together. Remember that medications, more than age, can affect both desire and erections. Too many doctors do not talk about the side effects of various treatments, so don’t hesitate to Google for information. Perhaps you are thinking, “What will the kids say?” Protect their psyches. Remember to
lock the door. I always called my elderly mom in the morning, but one day there was no answer. Finally, at 11 a.m., I was worried and went to their nearby house. No one answered the door, so I quietly entered…and quickly backed out. Another time—while cleaning out the house because mom, widowed again, had moved into a retirement center—I found Polaroid pictures under the mattress. I wish I had not looked. Alert! Clean out your own nightstand. A friend was helping her parents pack last year and ended up in a discussion about whether her parents should take their sex toys to the assisted living home. It’s a new world, no one was embarrassed, and yes, they packed them. And what will the kids say if you date? My son assumed I would just be granny when I was widowed at 59, but I got lonely despite having amazing friends. I needed someone to talk to in a different way. When a girlfriend hung a thong and a note on my front gate the same day a neighbor, wearing an oxygen tank, knocked on my door and asked me out, I knew it was time to do something.
WE ALL HAVE STORED SEXUAL SCENARIOS WE CAN CALL ON. I AM PARTIAL TO COWBOYS AND SCIENTISTS! I wanted conversation so I joined Science Connection, an online group that required members to have a medical degree or a doctorate, so I had hopes of interesting emails. Given the gender imbalance in science, women were outnumbered 10 to 1 among the group’s participants and I was suddenly popular. When I joked with my son about being “hot,” I got a serious condom lecture similar to the one I had given him 30 years before. I eventually dated four or five men but stayed celibate. Then I met my now-husband, a molecular biologist, when we were both 60. I started playing Elvis CDs while driving to dates with him. I began to feel like 17 instead of 60, but I shied away from sex. Most of the men I had met pushed sex way too soon. (CONTINUED ON PAGE 22)
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Jennifer James has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and master’s degrees in history and psychology. She was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington Medical School. Jennifer is the founding mother of the Committee for Children, an international organization devoted to the prevention of child abuse worldwide.
It’s OK to be cautious, go slow, and stick to your pace. Do not invite anyone to your house or discuss your finances until you are sure the relationship is serious. Watch out for alcoholism and do not ignore red flags or your past mistakes out of loneliness. Tell the truth about your age and health by the third date. There are guys who will push for sex before you know their name. If you are a man, resist the idea that you always have to make a pass. Men and women alike have told me about one-night stands. Some laugh, but it feels creepy. Okay, I sound conservative about intimacy, but just wait until you feel safe and cared about. Then bring pajamas and stay overnight. You need a safe place and a generous spirit to feel truly passionate. The first time with someone new, inexperience is fine. There can be no bragging, no comparisons, nothing but compliments. Take precautions and be easy with mishaps. My now-husband lit a romantic fire but forgot to open the fireplace damper, which set off a smoke alarm that could only be reached by a
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very tall ladder. It was very funny, and watching him run around in his shorts warmed my heart. Remember that it takes time and a good sense of self to find your new rhythm. Trust yourself: If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it just to please someone else. That kind of generosity is for long-time partners. Ask for an exclusive relationship if you continue to be intimate. You do not have to share. Sex is good for you. It feels good, it is fun, and orgasm relieves pain and stress. Intimacy with a beloved is wonderful, but it’s better to be alone than to take risks to be with the wrong person. If you’re not ready for sex, remember that affection, hugging, or massage also provide the touch and comfort you deserve. Finally, remember that pleasing yourself is always an option. The hand you hold the longest will always be your own. Loving yourself is basic; loving someone else is a gift.
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From Communes to Cohousing BY RICHARD SEVEN
Somewhere along the line, it seems front porches gave way to back decks. Neighborhoods began to feel more like a collection of random people living next door to one another than a community where shared interests were often debated but always celebrated. Privacy trumped belonging. But as you age, and as your kids and friends begin to scatter, chores get harder, and your social calendar grows sparse, you wonder: Now what? The cohousing movement offers a possible answer by building on the bedrock notion of community. Cohousing developments, usually multigenerational, are called “intentional communities” for a reason. Individual dwellings surround common open space to nudge conversation. Residents gather in a shared building—the heartbeat driving the goal— to dine together, do laundry, perhaps exercise, and socialize. Cohousing supporters say the model offers the best of both worlds: private dwellings (with kitchens included) amid a tight-knit neighborhood. The homes are typically smaller than those in a single-family neighborhood and are bunched closer together so
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
common space can be enhanced and the development’s footprint can be maximized. The movement is still relatively small. There are about 163 cohousing communities in various stages in the U.S. (with more than 20 in Washington state) and another 134 are forming. The Cohousing Association of the United States says that since the communities are part of the new sharing economy, they’ll likely expand in the next few decades as people seek sustainability and as changing demographics force innovation. “Interest in cohousing has surged in recent years, a trend driven by baby boomers seeking a downsized, community-oriented, and environmentally-friendly lifestyle,” says Alice Alexander, executive director of the association. “This group, who began turning 60 in 2006, does not want to retire or grow older in the same kind of aging institutions in which they placed their own parents.” Shelly Parks of Seattle has spent much of her career in the senior housing arena. She is an ardent backer and student of the cohousing concept and believes it represents Boomers’ perpetual quest for doing things better. She is convinced the lifestyle will take off when people learn what cohousing is and is not. “A commune-type setting often comes to mind and people then quickly reject the notion because they think they will be giving away all privacy,” she says. “But privacy is an important part of cohousing.” Cohousing made sense to Pat Hundhausen and her husband, David. They are founding members of Quimper Village, a 28-home cohousing community for people 55 and older scheduled to open in the Olympic Peninsula town of Port Townsend this fall. She believes it will be the first senior cohousing development in the state.
The Aging of
Top photo: A resident of Silver Sage Cohousing in Boulder, CO, tends to her garden plot. Photo courtesy of CoHousing Solutions. Inset: Rendering of Quimper Village in Port Townsend, WA, architectural work by McCamant & Durrett Architects.
“Working on building Quimper Village has been life-changing for many of its members including myself,” Hundhausen says. “I knew nothing of cohousing, but I knew I wanted to live in a close and caring community as I aged. I think I will have more fun and live longer and healthier.” The core group involved in Quimper found the location and hired experienced cohousing architects Kathryn McCamant and her husband, Charles Durrett, to lead the group in planning the community. The pair coined the term “cohousing” in 1988 after they studied the concept in Denmark. McCamant, now president of CoHousing Solutions, and Durrett have worked with groups across the U.S. and Canada. Durrett also wrote The Senior Cohousing Handbook: A Community Approach to Independent Living. McCamant says the “common house” is a critical component for any cohousing
Aging with Confidence
development because it is a sharing place. “I don’t have to clean up my house for you, and we can come and go as we please,” adds McCamant, who lives in a cohousing development in Nevada City, CA. “I feel like my common house is an extension of my living room that I share with neighbors. We use it all times of day and night for a wide variety of uses including community dinners, meetings, parties, smaller gatherings, and guest rooms.” While upfront costs, planning meetings, years of development, and perhaps a few squabbles can make cohousing seem daunting, proponents say it is a more costeffective and sustainable way to live. The little perks, like having a nearby carpool
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For more information: quimpervillage.com Cohousing Association of the United States cohousing.org McCamant & Durrett Architects cohousingco.com CoHousing Solutions cohousing-solutions.com CoVision Consulting - Shelly Parks covisionconsulting.com
partner or neighbors who will keep an eye on your home when you’re gone, add up to something greater. Instead of 32 sets of tools for 32 houses, everyone can use the community workshop. Gretchen Krampf of Orcas Island is looking to create a cohousing “hybrid” of residential units and a learning
institute that could also attract arts and cultural events. She sees cohousing as a youthful way to age. “There is a mindful ease in creating spaces to age gracefully and share resources,” she says. “Sharing common areas and building a resilient community where my husband and I can have our own space, and shared, common spaces for social interaction and ease-of-living opens up lots of time, energy, and money.” Parks, the Seattle cohousing advocate, acknowledges cohousing takes collaboration and give-and-take. But she says it also spurs intellectual growth, staves off loneliness, and expands opportunities. “My husband tends to be an introvert and when I first began exploring cohousing, I thought he would not be supportive,” she says. “To my surprise, he quickly embraced it and very much wants to be in a community. I think cohousing is great for introverts. It builds in an easy way to not become self-isolating.” Richard Seven has lived and worked as a journalist in Seattle for more than three decades. He spent most of that time as a feature writer and editor for The Seattle Times.
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3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
WHATâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S YOUR NEXT STAGE? Monthly Networking & Community Building Starting in April, mark the 2nd Thursday of the month to gather with others rehearsing for their next role. We might call it retirement, re-priorment, or renewal, but we still want to contribute and share our experience. We have time, energy and desire to discover worthwhile opportunities and step up to new challenges. Speakers, facilitated discussions and networking. $15 per session. Register at Brown Paper Tickets. http://nwccanextstage.bpt.me
Monthly networking and community building for people who are ready for the NEXT STAGE of their lives
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Northwest Center for Creative Aging joins our partners, 3rd Act Magazine and the Bridge at Green Lake, a space for older adults, in launching this new community effort. www.nwcreativeaging.org firstname.lastname@example.org NWCCA
Aging with Confidence
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Never Give Up: Alene Moris is Ready for Action BY ANN HEDREEN PHOTOS BY TERI THOMSON RANDALL
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
ALENE MORIS is on high alert, but that’s nothing new. Alert is her default mode, and it has been for 89 years. Yes, she was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton, and yes, she is heartbroken. But curling up or giving up is just not what she does. “I’m doing everything I can to stay logical, rational—and emotional. I don’t discount emotions,” Moris says. She contends that it is our emotions that guide us toward doing what we know needs to be done, which is not always the most logical or rational thing to do. For example: In 1965, when Moris and her Lutheran pastor husband were happily posted at a parish church in Helena, Montana, their hearts said yes to a job offer in Sabah (then British North Borneo), Malaysia, where they stayed, with their four children, for four years. Moris was asked to teach at the local college preparatory high school. When her students began to pepper her with questions about America’s involvement in Vietnam, she ordered a stack of books. “I read day and night for one whole weekend,” Moris says. What struck her, as she read, was the complete absence of women from diplomatic and military leadership in the United States. Men, and only men, had made the “logical and rational” decisions to send young soldiers off to a doomed war. Moris vowed then and there to devote her life to encouraging and training women to become leaders. When she returned to the U.S., she pursued a master’s degree in psychology with the goal of becoming a college and career counselor. Her husband was offered a church position in Seattle, and Moris got a job working with Dorothy Strawn, then dean of women at the University of Washington. It was a turbulent time at the UW. Student activism was at its peak and the administration
Aging with Confidence
was tense. After Strawn successfully lobbied for equal treatment of female students, university officials deemed her job redundant, and she was asked to head a new, minimally funded continuing education program for women who were re-entering the workforce. Strawn and Moris thought they might get 20 students in their initial “What are you going to do with your life?” workshops; instead, they were soon running five workshops a week on their shoestring budget and serving 150 women at a time. It was the hectic beginning of what is now the UW Women’s Center. For Moris, it was also the beginning of a new career. She knew she would never have the autonomy, or the budget, to reach all the people she wanted to reach if she stayed in academia. So she founded her own career counseling center, called the Individual Development Center. Her early clients included women struggling to start careers (“displaced homemakers” was the quaint phrase of the time); women and men laid off by Boeing, which cut 86,000 jobs in the early 1970s; and contracts with the Sisters of Providence and Weyerhaeuser, the timber giant. She became a frequent speaker, particularly on her favorite topic: the importance of getting more women into leadership roles in all sectors, but especially in politics and business. In early 1992, Washington’s then-governor Booth Gardner and his wife Jean Gardner hosted the national Governors’ Conference. Jean Gardner asked Moris to speak to the governors’ wives on “what to do with your life when you’re married to an important man.” Moris recalls that in the front row was the “most active participant you’ve ever seen,” Hillary Clinton, then the first lady of Arkansas. Moris and Clinton began corresponding. When Bill Clinton was elected president and Hillary was pilloried for her commitment to her own career (“I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and
had teas,” she famously said, “but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life”), Moris sent her a note in which she printed, in large letters,
Ann Hedreen is a writer, filmmaker, and the author of Her Beautiful Brain, winner of a 2016 Next Generation Indie book award. Together, Ann and her husband Rustin Thompson own White Noise Productions and have made more than 150 short films and five feature documentaries, including Quick Brown Fox: an Alzheimer’s Story. Their newest film, set in Peru and inspired by Ann’s great-uncle, is Zona Intangible.
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3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
“Don’t let the bastards get you down.” Two years later, Hillary Clinton was the guest speaker at a luncheon honoring Moris. So it’s no surprise that Alene Moris was heartbroken by Hillary’s loss. And that she is now alert—“and I’m going to stay alert”—and ready for action. Sutapa Basu, director of the UW Women’s Center since 1993, says she “used to be so intimidated” by Moris but she now considers Moris her mentor. They talk every few days and have dinner once a week. Of Moris’ career, Basu says that she “tremendously contributed to getting women in leadership and to training men to shift their thinking” about women. Through the Women’s Center, Basu runs the Alene Moris National Education for Women’s Leadership (NEW) program, a six-day summer institute designed to give undergraduate and graduate women the necessary skills and networks to become political and civic leaders. The UW Women’s Center is housed in Cunningham Hall, the first building
built for women on campus in 1909. In its early years, it was a meeting place for Washington state suffragists. The day I visited, young women of every description strolled through or studied in its tiny, airy library. As I left, a woman in a cheerleading outfit came running up the steps. I thought of her later as I read Moris’ 1982 book of essays called Uncommon Sense, in which she predicted that “in the future, women will be impossible to categorize. They will design complex, individualistic life patterns. What is good for one woman will no longer be seen as necessarily good for the next woman. And this uniqueness will nurture creativity, the one essential for survival. We must not lose this honoring of a woman’s right to design her own life and to keep the gains she has made.” Moris takes great satisfaction in the work of the NEW program which bears her name and is now in its ninth year. “I’ve always seen myself in a relay race,” she told me. “And we’ve got to pass the baton to the next generation.”
How Do You Shine? BY STACY ROMILLAH
our health is an expression of the unseen forces within you. Every medical tradition I know of—except the relatively young Western medical model—is based on knowing that the heart, mind, and body are not separate, but a weaving, a symphony, a continuum of vibration. To heal any part of us requires increased harmony along the entire continuum. Our modern Western systems primarily approach healing from the physical level, often ignoring the more subtle causes of disharmony. With this approach, symptoms may be temporarily alleviated or pushed underground only to emerge in new ways at a later date. Vibrant health is far more than the mere absence of symptoms. It is a shining of light through the body that we can witness as a glow of the skin and a sparkle in the eyes, or a peaceful feeling in the presence of one with such health. Simply living a long life is not a sign of health or happiness. So, how does one begin to shine? It always begins by letting go of the pain and trauma held in the body, the negative self-talk habits and emotional patterns that feel constricting.
Aging with Confidence
As you let go of what no longer serves you, you make space for your dreams, and for your current, authentic self to shine. • You can let go of physical toxins through a whole foods detox or cleansing activities, like saunas and proper hydration. • You can let go of physical pain patterns by dancing, shaking, doing yoga, and through healing sessions. • You can let go of mental emotional patterns through mindfulness, meditation, introspection, guided meditation, and breathwork. It’s the holding on that takes so much energy. When we hold on to our identities, beliefs, and habits that drain and constrict our energy, we have less energy available to manifest our dreams. It’s simple, but not always easy to let go. When you do, it changes the whole game. You begin to feel more vibrant, your joy levels rise, your stress levels fall, and you feel more aligned: head, heart, and body—peace at last! Stacy Romillah is a licensed East Asian medicine practitioner, health consultant, and yoga instructor. She has maintained a private practice on Orcas Island for over 20 years and also travels the world offering classes and retreats. You can access her many free articles and resources at the Vibrant Life Academy at StacyRomillah.com.
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Volunteer. It’s Good for You, Too BY TERI THOMSON RANDALL
Teri Thomson Randall is a journalist, photographer, and filmmaker residing in Seattle. Her writing experience spans the arts and sciences, including staff writing positions at the Journal of the American Medical Association and Pasatiempo, the weekly arts magazine of the Santa Fe New Mexican. She holds graduate degrees in microbiology, science communication, and film production.
WHEN WE VOLUNTEER TO HELP OTHERS, we are driven by a desire to improve the lives of those we serve. We may be less aware of the benefits we receive in the exchange, but they are every bit as real. In fact, studies show that volunteers actually benefit more from their acts of service than those on the receiving end. Research from the last two decades indicates that volunteers experience lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. The findings reveal not just a relationship between volunteering and better health, but direct cause: volunteering actually contributes to better physical and mental health, personal fulfillment, and sense of purpose. Even better news: Experts say these benefits appear to kick in after age 40. Being of service to others, including complete strangers, has been a cornerstone of American values throughout our history. The French diplomat and political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville was so struck by the spirit of volunteerism when visiting the United States in 1832 that he wrote extensively about it in his book Democracy in America. Tocqueville and many others have suggested that democracy in the U.S. owes its very success to philanthropy and volunteerism, which promote the common good of all people, not just the interests of an aristocracy. This is heady stuff. Every time we step up as a volunteer, we help our democracy thrive. We are exercising our freedom to create the society we want by advancing the causes that are important to us. And we are keeping taxes lower. (That’s right: By providing a service to those in need, we relieve the government of that role, thereby reducing the need to raise tax dollars.)
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Although our volunteer work is unpaid, it has a tremendous economic impact. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, a federal agency, 62.6 million people volunteered 7.8 billion hours in the U.S. in 2015, producing an estimated economic value of $184 billion. That’s more than the GDP of three-quarters of the countries on the planet! Americans have always volunteered, but each generation approaches it differently. Boomers, now seeking to enrich their retirement experience through community service, are pursuing different volunteer experiences than their parents did, says Patrick Tefft, volunteer services coordinator for the City of Kirkland. While volunteers from the Silent Generation would show up every week without fail, and trek through two miles in the snow (up hill, each way!) just to stuff envelopes or do data entry, many Boomers are eager to find higher-level volunteer assignments that put their intellect and professional skills to use. “Baby Boomers are looking for volunteer engagement that is self-actualized,” says Tefft. “They often want project-based, consulting work with a medium-term commitment.” This generation is less interested in showing up every week and doing basic tasks, he says, so charitable organizations, particularly those that have relied on that kind of traditional volunteer, are scrambling to adapt. On the other hand, organizations that are seeking skilled volunteers—or are at least open-minded when they show up—are reaping the benefits. Tefft gives an example of a volunteer at Sound Generations (formerly Senior Services) who had extensive experience in sales and was an expert in price modeling. With the green light from agency leadership, the volunteer conducted a business analysis and determined that the agency was undercharging the fee paid by other organizations across the country to adopt Senior Services’ proven model. “This consultant helped the agency realize it was undervaluing the service from a sustainability standpoint,” Tefft says. “It was a type of acumen that the agency didn’t have, but leadership was receptive to it, which is key.” www.3rdActMag.com
Get Involved Today’s retirees come with talents and gifts and they want to have those gifts recognized, says Janice Jaworski, a long-time director of volunteer programs. Jaworski tells of a retired business professional with experience in computer programming. The woman started volunteering at one agency answering the phones, because that’s what the agency needed, but she didn’t feel she was using her gifts. She ended up volunteering for a theater group and overseeing the agency’s entire volunteer and administrative functions. She even upgraded the computer program for the theater’s gift shop. This trend toward the “volunteer consultant” is not absolute, Tefft notes. For every volunteer seeking a high-level role, there is someone who just wants to drive people to their appointments. And after decades of hard work, many people are happy to give up meetings and not have decisions to make. But the move toward higher engagement is an exciting trend, he says, adding, “It is meeting volunteers where they are at and capitalizing on their life experience.”
Aging with Confidence
April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week, a time to inspire, recognize, and encourage people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. Set some time aside this week to imagine new ways to be of service—then take action! Seeking the perfect fit for your skills and interests? Several online resources help you research volunteer opportunities in your community: Volunteermatch.org, a national website, matches local nonprofits with volunteers. United Way chapters throughout Western Washington also list volunteer opportunities throughout the community. Search for your county chapter’s website and click on the “Volunteer” or “Get Involved” tab.
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Senior Housing Now
Senior Housing Then When your parents talked about a “nursing home” for grandma, there was a gravity to the discussion. Looking at today’s options for seniors, what a difference! Today’s seniors are so lucky to have an array of options that can fit most any type of senior.
What’s Available and How Much? Outlined below are three types of senior housing, their average monthly costs, and what is typically included. Use the worksheet below to compare the costs of a retirement option with your current living situation. Average monthly costs are based on a 2016 survey in Washington; actual prices will vary depending on location.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
their assisted living and higher care areas for current residents needing to make a transition. A senior can truly “age in place” within a CCRC. There may be one-time entrance fees that can vary from $10,000 to $1 million, depending on the community, location and the apartment or home size. The monthly rent and care costs depend on the type of CCRC, the apartment and the level of care needed.
These are apartment-style buildings, cottage-style homes, or townhomes. This community type offers multiple levels They can be anywhere on the spectrum of homey to grand, depending on what of senior living and care, starting with independent living and continuing through you’re looking for. Services such as meals, the levels of care to skilled nursing services. housekeeping, and activities are provided They can be homey, trendy and upscale or or available for purchase. Most retirement completely opulent. Many CCRCs will only living is offered on a monthly rental basis. offer their independent living vacancies to The average cost for a studio apartment in retirement or independent Living is around the general public, reserving vacancies in MONTHLY COST
Rent/mortgage/property taxes/insurance Utilities Telephone/cable Car/transportation Housekeeping/home maintenance Meals/groceries Activities/entertainment Care costs TOTAL MONTHLY COST:
LIVING AT HOME $ $ $ $
SENIOR LIVING $ $
$ $ $ $24+/hour In-Home Care $
Included Some are included Included
Included (except for some independent living) Included $ $
$2,500 per month. Retirement-only communities are not licensed or regulated by a governmental agency. Some things that impact the monthly cost are: frequency of meals and housekeeping, staffing, location and whether the community is part of a continuum of care. Generally, some or all utilities are included, except phone and expanded cable services.
Assisted Living (AL) or Assisted Living Facility (ALF) These are apartment-style housing options offering a kitchenette, bathroom, and ADA accessible shower. The emphasis in assisted living is interaction and community. There is a communal dining room for meals and meeting rooms for activities. These communities provide assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) (bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, toileting, medication management, etc.) The average rent for a studio apartment in assisted living is around $4,000 per month. The monthly rent is called the “base price”. This includes three meals a day, housekeeping, most utilities, some transportation, and activities. People who need assistance pay “care costs” in addition to the monthly base price. Care costs depend on the level of service the resident needs. The community calculates care costs either by units of time, called ‘points of care’, or based on pre-determined ‘levels of care’.
Helping Seniors and their Families Find the Resources they Need
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 35
TRAINING FOR YOUR FUTURE
The Godfather of Fitness BY KYLE CIMINSKI
THE FITNESS INDUSTRY IS EVER CHANGING with new fitness equipment, techniques, and trends. As a personal trainer, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting research that will help guide my clients to fitter, healthier, and happier lives. While there are many new approaches to exercise and fitness, I have found that the best practices—the fundamentals I use every day—are neither new nor exciting, but were laid out over 60 years ago by the godfather of fitness, Jack LaLanne. An exercise and nutrition expert, LaLanne was regarded as the first fitness superhero. During the 1950s, fitness gyms were not on every other block like they are today. The gyms that did exist were populated by heavy weightlifters and were unwelcoming to women. But in 1953, LaLanne hosted the first-ever fitness television show. The Jack LaLanne Show featured exercise and nutritional guidelines, and LaLanne strongly emphasized the importance of fitness for women.
The show often opened by requesting the viewer to “run and go get mother. Tell her Jack LaLanne wants her to come to the television set.” Then LaLanne would walk viewers through a series of exercises or would discuss nutrition habits that are still recommended today. Walk into most modern gyms and you will likely find weight machines, another contribution from Jack LaLanne to the fitness world. LaLanne invented the leg extension machine and the original version of what became the Smith machine (a barbell within fixed railings, named for gym manager Rudy Smith) as ways to safely engage muscles. Jack believed that everyone could benefit from weightlifting, not just the powerlifters who had already discovered the techniques. Strengthening muscles
A Timeless Trio of Easy Exercises Kyle Ciminski is a personal trainer at the Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center in Anacortes. He holds over 30 professional certifications, and you can reach him at kyleciminskitraining@ gmail.com or at 360-969-1386. Learn more at trainwithkyle.com.
Here are three great exercises from Jack LaLanne’s TV show. All are still done today, and they can help strength, mobility, and muscular endurance. Do them in a chair or behind it. • CHAIR SQUATS – Start in a seated position with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Your heels should be in line with your knees and your knees in line with your hips. Hold your arms directly out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Applying pressure to your heels, stand straight up, then slowly lower yourself back down to the chair, maintaining your arms out in front of you for balance. Do three sets of 12. • BALLET CALF RAISES – LaLanne correctly believed that ballet exercises would increase joint mobility. Stand tall with your heels together and toes facing out in a V-shape. Press on your toes to come up, then down, using the back of the chair to help with balance if needed. Do three sets of 12. • STANDING LEG LIFTS – Hold on to the back of a chair with your arms slightly extended out in front of you and elbows soft. Shift your weight onto one leg. Holding on to the back of the chair, extend your other leg out behind you. Lift your leg up toward the ceiling and then back down without bouncing or touching your toe to the ground. Repeat for 12 reps and then extend the same leg out at a slight angle to the side. Lift up and down for another 12 reps. Repeat with the other leg. Do three sets of 12 with each leg.
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
helps prevent osteoporosis and helps maintain independence as we age. Jack’s routines demonstrated that anyone can work out, even if they don’t have access to a gym. Sixty years later, this is something I still stress to my clients. Jack insisted that you don’t even need dumbbells or weight equipment; he encouraged viewers to grab soup containers or milk jars. To work the legs, Jack recommended a simple chair. LaLanne also produced the first line of at-home gym equipment, the Glamour Stretcher, an early forerunner to the stretch cord. Jack encouraged cardiovascular exercise, too, by explaining that 30 minutes of walking around the block, riding a bicycle, or swimming (his favorite) was significantly more beneficial than sitting on the couch. His personal feats of fitness are still regarded as some of history’s most ambitious and outrageous. On his 70th birthday, Jack swam one mile pulling 70 rowboats, some containing people, with his hands and feet shackled. As a fitness professional, I consider that pretty impressive. Outside the gym, LaLanne was the first to connect the importance of nutrition on physical fitness and health— an uncommon idea at the time. Today nutrition is a fundamental topic in conversations about health and fitness. I find that many of my clients remember Jack and his show quite fondly. His philosophies were ahead of their time in many ways. Jack LaLanne was an inspirational and informative role model. He had a unique way of directing and informing the viewer that I have applied to my training. I studied him in school, and even now, I will go back and watch clips of his show on YouTube for ideas of how to communicate the message of fitness. As we look to our future, sometimes it pays to take a lesson from the past.
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Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 37
The Aging of
Aquarius WILL BOOMERS CHANGE AGING?
In the “youthquake” of the 1960s, America witnessed the early skirmishes of a culture war that’s still with us, together with the dawning of an age of new consciousness. Today, the Boomer generation that once cried “Don’t trust anyone over 30” has members turning 70.
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The generation that once challenged the meaning of adulthood now has an opportunity to reshape how America views elderhood as they begin to join its ranks. Will once-activist Boomers succeed at busting up ageism to create a culture that values its elders? Or will they try to deny aging, heeding the call of massive consumerism catering to the cult of youth? BY SALLY FOX
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
The Aging of
Gerontologist, activist, and author Dr. Bill Thomas is barnstorming the country this year to engage Boomers and others in a new narrative about aging. With an entourage of musicians, storytellers, and speakers, he is traveling to 36 cities in a rock ‘n’ roll style bus to spread the good news that aging can be beautiful. The Age of Disruption Tour includes stops at Pierce College in Puyallup on May 2 and Town Hall Seattle on May 3. Disrupting old ways of thinking is nothing new for Thomas. In the 1990s, he radically challenged conventional wisdom about nursing homes by bringing in children, plants, animals, and birds for residents to watch and care for—with remarkable results. Through what became The Eden Alternative global non-profit, he showed that any care environment could be transformed to feel like family settings rather than institutions. Later, Dr. Thomas created an alternative to traditional nursing homes called The Green House Project, small homes for up to 10 residents with private rooms and bathrooms. Now he wants to challenge attitudes about aging—especially among Boomers who once vowed never to get old. In his 2014 book Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life, Thomas wrote that the Boomers failed in their quest to change the culture. Even though two colorful groups, the hippies and the activists, captured the media’s attention during the Woodstock days, Thomas believes a large group of “squares” always subscribed to existing norms about being an adult. And as Boomers aged and took on jobs, mortgages, and kids, the squares won out, reinforcing a culture that valued efficiency, idolized youth, and disregarded its elders. “We bought into an achievement-oriented, performance-oriented, outcome-oriented, materialistically-oriented, hyper-caffeinated, hyperactive, vision of adulthood,” says Thomas. In short, we wound up with an ageist culture, according to Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto
Aging with Confidence
Against Aging. With verve and sass, she’s campaigning to eradicate the roots of ageism which begin “when we pretend aging is not going to happen to us.” She adds, “If we’re lucky, we’ll someday grow old, whether we want to admit it or not!” Ironically, ageism targets not just the elderly, but our future selves. The people who see elders as “the other” will likely someday become “them.”
Are You a Denialist? Realist? or Enthusiast?
Applewhite doesn’t mince words about the harm caused by prevailing myths and stereotypes. “The negative messages around aging are what makes getting older in America so much harder than it has to be, especially for women,” she says. “Attitudes towards aging,” she adds, “affect how our minds and bodies function on the cellular
| 3rd Act magazine 39
The Aging of
level.” Research she cites shows that people with positive attitudes toward aging have a life expectancy averaging 7.5 years longer than others. She also discusses how scientists have found a “happiness curve,” with people reporting that they’re most content near the beginning and toward the end of life. Applewhite doesn’t deny that as we age we may encounter pain, declining health, or dementia. Yet she adds, “The irrational fear of aging is way, way out of proportion to the actual experience.” That fear is what needs to change. Thomas would agree. At his events, he’s hoping to influence Boomer attitudes and replace fear with hope and excitement about the future. He places Boomers in three camps when it comes to their approaches to aging: In the first camp are the “denialists,” who collectively pump billions into “age-defying” products, pretending old age won’t happen to them. “Realists” are in the second camp. They don’t deny aging but hope that between lots of kale, yoga, and active living, they won’t have to deal with it for a while. In the third camp are “enthusiasts,” people like Thomas and Applewhite, who actively embrace aging, acknowledging its beauty and possibilities, as well as its potential challenges. Thomas believes Boomers can awaken their activist roots and reinvent elderhood. “They have one more chance to get it right.” For those who want to become enthusiasts,
“We bought into an achievementoriented, performanceoriented, outcome-oriented, materialistically-oriented, hyper-caffeinated, hyperactive, vision of adulthood.” —Bill Thomas
he recommends getting to know the elderly and learning what happens as we age. None of us can know in advance what our experience of aging will be. By becoming curious and spending time with those who are older, we can disrupt our preconceptions and develop attitudes about aging that are both informed and appreciative. Applewhite offers us a phrase, modified from a saying about Mexican matadors: “The bull looks different when you enter the ring.” That older woman you see in a wheelchair may be loving her life. As many of us begin to approach the ring ourselves, we’ll be better off if we trust that there’s something great on the horizon. Olé! Sally Fox is a coach, consultant, speaker, and podcaster who is helping individuals and organizations to bring their best stories forward. She lives and ages on Vashon Island. Read about her work and find her blog at engagingpresence.com. Listen to her podcast interviews with Dr. Bill Thomas and Ashton Applewhite at 3rdActMagazine.com.
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| 3rd Act magazine 41
The Aging of
JOE AND NANCY GUPPY SAY
‘Yes, And’ ...Over and Over
He’s an actor and teacher. She’s the host of the TV show Art Zone. They’re both well-known presences in the Northwest’s cultural scene. Like everyone, Joe and Nancy Guppy are getting older, but they’re doing it more publicly than many of us. As artists, comedians, and writers, they have freedom to create their own script about aging, just as they’ve shaped highly creative careers, with wisdom, wit and an improvisational flair. One of improv’s core principles is saying, “Yes, and” to what your
partner offers. The Guppys have shaped their careers by saying, “Yes!” to opportunities. They said, “Yes!” to working with Almost Live, Seattle’s comedic answer to Saturday Night Live. They said “Yes!” to moving to L.A. to become television comedy writers. And they said “Yes!” yet again to returning to Seattle, Nancy to rejoin Almost Live (and then to Art Zone), and Joe to a career as a psychotherapist, tutor/ mentor, and improviser. Joe is 61 and Nancy is 56, so they’re younger members of
BY SALLY FOX PHOTO BY ERNIE SAPIRO
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
the Boomer generation. But as entertainers, they have a deep understanding of what it means to age in the spotlight. Joe is still practicing improv (as you’ll see in his “My 3rd Act” column accompanying this story). He’s one the few older company members in Unexpected Productions, where he also teaches. Joe explains that improv theatre, as a relatively young field, doesn’t have many older players. But instead of saying, “I’m too old, I’ve got to step aside,” Joe’s been curious about “what it’s like to have older people on stage with the young people.” The result has been a stronger company. As host of the City of Seattle Channel’s TV show Art Zone, Nancy pours her abundant energy and curiosity into highlighting regional art events and artists. For example, she shares her fetching laugh and comedic timing while interviewing arrivals at opening night of the Seattle International Film Festival. And those few wrinkles? She knows they hardly matter when you’re the celebrated host of your own show. Still, they’re not escaping some challenges of aging. Recent experiences with back pain were sobering. As Nancy says, “If this is the way it is, forget it! I don’t want a lot of pain!” The Guppys are also learning about aging through their experiences with Joe’s mother, who recently died, and Nancy’s aging parents. Joe reminisces about visiting his mother in her assisted living facility. “When I saw my Mom, I had all this pain because she used to be so sharp. I saw this continuously diminishing shadow of a really sharp, powerful person Aging with Confidence
and I was overwhelmed by that loss. But I was missing something. I wasn’t seeing who she was in the here and now.” He recounts, “I remember a tremendous moment with my Mom before she died. I watched a caregiver come up and give her a huge smile and a kiss on the cheek. Through her eyes my Mom was like a beautiful child.” Joe had been focused on what his mother had lost, but the caregiver saw who was still there. Nancy adds, “To have a bigger imagination and acceptance of aging, you have to be around older people. You have to familiarize yourself—so they’re not ‘the other’ or you’re not thinking, ‘that’s not and cannot and will not be me.’ You have to be close so that the fears and stereotypes can melt away.” When it comes to senior moments, improv imparts another lesson. Joe shares how one of his company members slipped and invented the word “barbelling” in a performance. No problem. The whole group on stage just took up the word. Joe says, “Improv is a lot about getting the wrong word anyway!” Nancy says, “You have to remain curious. Not that it’s a bad thing to bring your old experiences into new experiences, but you have to be open minded to look the fool, fail, and be willing to look wrong. Because if you don’t, you tighten up and start battening down the hatches.” Looking to the future, the Guppys are excited, curious, and ready to keep learning—even if exactly how that happens remains to be seen. But as Nancy reminds us, “Life is one, big, fat improv.”
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MY THIRD ACT
IMPROVISING MY WAY
INTO THE FUTURE
ACT I: IMPROV! ACT II: PSYCHOLOGY! ACT III: IMPROV AND PSYCHOLOGY! In the early 1980s, my improv group, The Off the Wall Players, regularly earned rave reviews and played to sold-out theaters. I recall the thrill of looking from a balcony of the Bagley Wright Theatre at a line that stretched far around the building before one of our shows. Next I joined the cast of KING-TV Seattle’s comedy show Almost Live, where I won eight Emmys. After that, I moved to Hollywood, where I wrote on network TV projects for directors John Landis and Blake Edwards, both legendary comedy forces. I’d had a great first act. But by Act 2, in my early 40s, I wanted something different. I enrolled in a Seattle
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
BY JOE GUPPY PHOTOS BY ERNIE SAPIRO
University therapist training program to earn a master’s degree in existential-phenomenological psychotherapeutic psychology. Explaining this makes terrific cocktail party conversation. For 10 years, I worked in community mental health, followed by another decade in private practice. I didn’t lose sight of the arts: I used improvisation exercises for my teen anger management group and a couples communications group. I wrote a memoir and performed improv from time to time. I had expected Act 3 to be pretty much the same as Act 2. Plenty of therapists practice into their 70s or 80s. But, by 2015, I was eager for something different. And so my Act 3 combines psychology with the arts. I help organizations, corporate groups, and individuals learn how to use improv as a resource for team building, creativity, and wellness. I present insights from two perspectives: the scientific study of the brain and reflections on the phenomenon of one’s own lived human experience. www.3rdActMag.com
In the winter of 2016, in the early stage of my improv renaissance, I show up at a drop-in improv gathering at the Seattle Center. About 12 improvisers are in a circle, engaged in a fastmoving warm-up game. Everyone looks at least 20 years younger than me. Someone tells me the rules. Players pass an imaginary ball around the circle—to the left, to the right, or across— by shouting one of three tongue-twisting phrases: Whiskey Mixer, Mister Whiskers, or Misty Vista. I have two thoughts: 1) “I LOVE IMPROV! ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW!” and 2) “Holy shit! I had better rev it up if I want to keep up with these young brains!” My brain and body fire up the adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine —and I have a blast. When I started improv, we were taught that we had to box out the left brain—the linear, logical brain where the “censor” lives—in favor of the right brain: our creative, playful side. While it is true that MRI studies show that the inhibitory area of the brain is muted during improvisation, I am convinced that improv is also a joyous collaboration of the left and right brain. My left brain loves the challenge of trying to follow the rules, while my right brain rejoices in the silliness, play, and creativity.
Aging with Confidence
The New York Times recently reported on a study of “super-agers,” like Warren Buffet, who continue doing work they love into their 80s, and whose brains resemble those of much younger people. The study noted that most people, in retirement, decide to “take it easy” in their pursuit of happiness. But what keeps brains young is the “I am convinced sometimes painful process of real effort, of trying to solve a problem, that improv is also a of trying to craft something well, of joyous collaboration learning something new. Scientists of the left and right used to believe that, after our late brain. My left brain teens, the brain starts losing cells and it’s downhill from there. Now loves the challenge we know that we retain “brain of trying to follow plasticity,” the ability to make new the rules, while my neural connections, well into old age. But this takes effort. Like when I right brain rejoices learn a new improv game. Or write in the silliness, play, an article like this one, which, up and creativity.” to this point I’ve been improvising, merrily typing a first draft as fast as my thoughts and fingers will go. Editing it down to the essay you are now reading will take some concentrated, and sometimes painful, effort. Bring it on!!
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The Aging of
Singing for a BY SALLY FOX
WHEN BOB DYLAN
won the Nobel Prize for Literature, many of us were reminded of how music moved the nation during the late â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s. Dylan and fellow anti-war troubadours like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez brought us together in song, inspiring us to believe we could change the system, halt the war in Vietnam, and come together to save the world. In the 19th century, gospel music in the United States gave a dignity and power to a people violated by slavery, helping them maintain the subversive right to their own voices. A century later, whether it was at civil rights marches, anti-Vietnam rallies, or gatherings like Woodstock, music was a vital part of the background, sometimes live and sometimes ringing like a soundtrack in our ears. During the 1970s, as people started to rise up in Chile and other Latin American countries, an exquisite music supported them. And in the 1980s, spontaneous singing demonstrations helped restore
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
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independence in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. No matter what the decade, music has power to send messages pulsing around the globe, support dissenting voices, and convey the urgency for change. When we feel isolated in private angst about a political system that disenfranchises many, music can weave us together, renew our sense of common purpose, and feed our courage. Music comes with a secret code because it touches the heart. Civil rights organizers engaged movement-friendly churches by first sending in musical groups. They knew that their words, without song, would be less powerful. Music, especially songs that speak to the heart of the people, reminds us of who we are and who we can be. It can echo a political message, give voice to the marginalized, and offer us hope by reminding the better angels of our nature that â&#x20AC;&#x153;all is not lost.â&#x20AC;? Throughout the world, singing is a natural way for people to come together, create community, and share what they care about in such diverse settings as the fields of Mali, the streets in Soweto, or ashrams in India. But in the United States, many of my colleagues who once were glued to Dylanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s words often decline the invitation to sing with others today, muttering â&#x20AC;&#x153;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sing.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to put aside such notions! Singing together is not about having perfect pitch, but claiming the voices we have. Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more, making or even listening to music is one of the best things we can do for our brains. Neuroscientist and saxophonist Charles J. Limb has extensively studied the way music engages the mind, and he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Musical experience, musical exposure, musical training, all of those things change your brain.â&#x20AC;? Making music together is one of the best brain gyms we have. Petr Janata, professor of psychology at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, Aging with Confidence
discovered that the brain stores music in the prefrontal cortex, which he notes is one of the last areas of the brain to atrophy over the course of Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disease. This may explain why many dementia patients still respond to the music they heard as youth. The music of our early adult years appears to live in a special place in our brains. Songs from the 1960s like Dylanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Blowinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the Wind and Pete Seegerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Where Have All the Flowers Gone eventually jumped generational divides to become part of popular culture, sung by people of all ages. Yet as we savor the deep memories living in music from the past, we can continue to open our ears to new voices that emerge from other generations to address the challenges of our times. At the recent Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s March on Washington, the song Quiet by 30year old Connie Lim (performing as MILCK) became the unofficial anthem of the march. Grandmothers and their granddaughters learned her sad but cathartic lyrics: I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t keep quiet For anyone Anymoreâ&#x20AC;Ś Who knows where the next songs will come from to carry us forward? As we ponder what it will take to stay alert to the times that are still â&#x20AC;&#x153;a changinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;,â&#x20AC;? letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s remember to make music and sing. It will help us work our brains, move our hearts, support our causes, connect with each other, and work together. And for some of us, it will help us remember the commitments we made in our youth and take them into the years ahead. Sally Fox is a coach, consultant, speaker, and podcaster who is helping individuals and organizations to bring their best stories forward. She lives on Vashon Island with her horse, husband, and the inimitable Barry-the-cat. Read about her work and find her blog at engagingpresence.com. You can also listen to her podcasts at 3rdActMagazine.com.
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not just getting high, but also using marijuana for pain and difficulty sleeping. Sleep problems are not included in the Washington State Department of Health’s approved uses for medical marijuana, so legalization has opened up new options for people who struggle to sleep. Debbie used sleep medication for 25 years, but she’d still often lie awake for hours. So, last summer, she went to a cannabis store for the first time. “I thought, ha ha, I’m probably the oldest person in here. And they said, ‘No, it’s almost all old people in here.’”
Cannabis Culture, 50 Years Later
Legalization Stokes Renewed Interest in Pot BY CHARLIE HINCKLEY
magine it’s 1967. Friends are passing a joint and listening to Sgt. Pepper, just staring and nodding to the music. Soon, they’ll gobble up everything in the house as the post-high munchies set in. It was the Summer of Love. And pot. Any of that sound familiar? Debbie remembers that scene from her early 20s. But as she and her friends started careers, got married, and had kids, no one she knew used marijuana anymore—until a few years ago. Debbie recalls how, when pot became legal for recreational use in Washington state, people started to bring it out at parties again, noting, “All my friends are my age, and everyone is using pot products now.” Debbie, now 70, says they’re
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
Every shape, size, strength, and flavor The surprise for a lot of baby boomers is the vast variety of product available in 2017. I visited Canna, a pot shop in West Seattle, to check out the customer experience. Supervisor Kelly Lovan, barely 30 and dressed like a Nordstrom ad, explained everything. People are sometimes nervous the first time they come into a store, she said, either because they think there’s still a stigma or because they feel awkward not knowing the current terminology. Turns out it doesn’t matter; sellers like Kelly will tell you all you need to know. Here’s modern marijuana in a nutshell: You can buy flower (bud), oils, tinctures, edibles, lotions, creams, and lip balms. You can smoke it, vape it, drop it on your tongue, eat it, or put it on your skin. Lubrication for lovers is very popular. There are gluten-free and vegan edibles and pre-rolled joints in dozens of strains. Some strains have more THC if you want to get high, or enhanced levels of CBD (cannabidiol) if you want something for, say, pain management. Before cannabis goes to retailers, labs test it for mold, pests, and the percentage of THC or CBD present. Last fall, Washington officials announced extra screening for banned pesticides in pot. Ariana Ramirez, Canna’s medical and compliance manager, often advises clients about safe pot use. For example, edibles can take up to two hours to produce effects, and everyone is different, so it’s essential to start small. People who want to buy cannabis for medical purposes should ask their doctors about possible
The Aging of
For more information:
Medical marijuana in Washington: http://bit.ly/2l3zvZ5 Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: http://bit.ly/2m5QDmr interactions with other medications. Washington is one of 28 states, plus the District of Columbia, that have legalized medical marijuana use. Patients whose conditions qualify can buy larger amounts than recreational users, and they don’t pay the 37 percent excise tax levied on recreational products. But the extent of health benefits and risks from cannabis use still isn’t completely clear, and there are research challenges since marijuana isn’t universally legal. In January, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released an extensive report summarizing current research on marijuana and health. Its findings for adult use include: • Strong evidence for effectiveness in treating chronic pain, controlling nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, and improving spasticity symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Wayne McCormick sees independent, elderly patients in his clinic at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He says “a substantial number” of them use marijuana, mostly for help with sleep or pain. He says they’re all quite confident about using it, and he’s not seen problems with those who do. Most of them rely on the expertise of cannabis store salespeople for the right products. And if you’ll excuse me, I’m finally going to try out my purchase. I expect to get really, really hungry soon. Now where’s my Sgt. Pepper CD? Priscilla Charlie Hinckley has been a writer and producer in Seattle television and video for 35 years, with a primary interest in stories covering health and medicine, women’s and children’s issues, social justice, and education. She also enjoys writing really light-hearted, funny pieces whenever possible.
cartoon by Edie Everette
• Limited evidence that it is not effective for dementia, glaucoma, or reducing depression in patients with chronic pain or MS. • Not enough evidence to know if it can be effective in treating anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome, ALS, Parkinson’s, or spasticity from spinal cord injury, among other things. The report also included some risks for marijuana use: • Limited evidence of triggering acute heart attack or stroke.
• Substantial evidence of more frequent bronchitis when smoking it. • Substantial evidence of schizophrenia developing with frequent use. • Moderate evidence for increased suicidal thoughts with heavy use.
Aging with Confidence
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The Perils (and Hopes) of Queer Aging BY HOLLIS GIAMMATTEO
AS WE AGE IN AMERICA, the specter of isolation looms as a qualifying condition. A recent article in The New York Times (“How Social Isolation is Killing Us”) reported that “about one third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do.” This threat of isolation can be heightened for LGBTQ people. The U.S. Administration on Aging says that of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers, as many as 4 million are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. National real estate experts estimate that more than half of them live alone. Many older LGBTQ people identified themselves as such before the liberating Stonewall riots of 1969, an era characterized by stigma, identities condemned to the closet, and severed family ties. It is this generation, now in their 70s and 80s, that faces the most uncertainty about where to live, and how, and with whom. Last fall, for example, Kaiser Health News reported that some same-sex partners considering retirement homes feel they may not be allowed to live together in open acknowledgment of their relationship. The article profiled one Georgia couple who, concerned about overtly religious retirement centers in their region, moved cross-
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country to Oregon to live in community that actively welcomes LGBTQ seniors. Yet concerns persist, despite the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples and increased societal acceptance. For people who identified as queer and came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, you chose your people. They were your family. Will senior care facilities—out of cultural blindness or bias—forbid partners and friends from making significant care decisions or refuse to acknowledge chosen family members? Will finances and benefits normally given to heterosexual partners be withheld from surviving same-sex partners? Boom town The rate and scale of growth in Seattle has added to problems of displacement and un-affordability for many people, including LGBTQ seniors. Our city’s brisk development may have increased the value of real estate and prettied up some neighborhoods, but higher costs inevitably expel the populations that once gave character and flavor to urban areas. When communities meet the wrecking ball, where do the scattered
denizens gather to socialize, mobilize, plan, and learn? Take Seattle’s Capitol Hill, once known for its LGBTQ bars and gay-owned bookstores and other businesses. Many of those cherished places in which to meet and mingle are gone. A group that can no longer congregate loses representation. They see less of a reflection of themselves in the larger culture, and a dwindling sense of belonging and empowerment. As a personal example, in 1995, after a four-year hiatus on Lopez Island, I moved back to Seattle. Rents were already climbing, and I was advised to apply for low-income housing through CHHIP. The Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program was an organization founded to help marginalized populations. (It was true then, and still is, that “artist” and “marginal” often occupy the same sentence.) I was granted a tiny apartment in the John Carney building, a beige rectangle wedged between a large, brick apartment building and an open field at First and Broad Streets. (Yes. www.3rdActMag.com
An open field.) The field would soon succumb to the first of many condo blooms; within a year of my residency, it seemed, any open space along First Avenue had been laid siege to by the weapons of mass construction. The point is this: Had it not been for CHHIP, and the John Carney’s mission to provide housing for the mentally ill, recovering addicts, and artists, I would have found neither housing nor community. It was not, admittedly, my chosen family, but the place was clean, welcoming, well-managed, and a vibrant place in which to live and work. Finding allies But this is 2017. Growth in Western Washington has further transformed neighborhoods, and developers have been encouraged to put profit over intentional community design. Affordable, safe housing continues to be a central issue for everyone in our region. It’s one thing to articulate a problem, and another to understand
stereotype of the affluent gay—but in reality, more LGBTQ seniors live in poverty than their straight peers, and they are less likely to be partnered. The intergenerational relationships forged by Allyship’s programs have addressed this, while also forging political action. Members engage through educational discussion series, social media, community events, lobbying, and conferences. But Allyship takes it one step further, encouraging the emergence of leaders who have lived the issues. Participants become spokespeople and experts. By empowering people through education and exposure, member-activists are introduced to public officials, and to the mechanics of social and political change. Housing hope One result is Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program passed in August 2016, which ensures— for the first time—that residential and commercial developers create or
Of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers, as many as 4 million are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. National real estate experts estimate that more than half of them live alone. and implement change. An activist and advocacy organization, Allyship, founded by Debbie Carlsen, began working with homeless LGBTQ youth in 2010 when the vulnerability shared between this group and the elderly appeared obvious. A sustained intergenerational dialogue began, and for the past three years, its focus has been on affordable, safe housing. Historically, there has prevailed the
Aging with Confidence
fund affordable housing with every new project. The advisory committee consisted of 28 members: renters and homeowners, for-profit and non-profit developers, and other local housing experts. Among its 60-plus recommendations is an anti-displacement law, demanding that rents be reasonable. Allyship helped pass the 2016 Housing Levy, which required that LGBTQ retirees
be recognized as a priority population for “affirmative marketing” when it comes to advertising new and available housing. It’s hard enough planning next week’s menu let alone the details of a life over the next 10 years, yet we are continually reminded of the crucial importance of wise planning and we skip it at our peril. Where will I live as I grow older? Will it be in some form of community? What can I afford? Who will I live with? These are challenging questions facing all of us as we age, whether we’re straight or queer. The LGBTQ housing goal has never been to obtain housing for the specific group, but to insure queer friendliness in our wider communities: their dwellings, businesses, and institutions. LGBTQ people have shown inimitable resilience over the decades, but there is work to be done, and allies are ever welcome. A practicing Buddhist for over 30 years, Hollis Giammatteo has sought experiences that challenge her practice, from teaching writing to working with the elderly. She co-founded, managed, and wrote plays for The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and for Rhode Island Feminist Theater. Hollis has published in a variety of magazines, and her memoir, The Shelf Life of Ashes, was released in May 2016 by She Writes Press.
The Northwest LGBT Senior Care Providers Network is “an informal network of senior care providers of all kinds working together to promote advocacy and quality of care for the LGBT seniors of Washington state,” according to its website. Learn more at nwlgbtseniorcare.org.
3rd Act magazine
What About Bob?
Dating at Age 55 (and Older) BY DORI GILLAM
Dori Gillam speaks on aging well, aging in community, and planning for a good death. A Seattle native, she has a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and has worked for Sound Generations, AARP, and the Bayview Retirement Community. She is a hospice volunteer and board president for the Northwest Center for Creative Aging.
DATING OVER THE AGE OF 55 is different than when you’re 25, 35, or 45. You’re not looking for a parent or stepparent for your children. You are less dazzled by flesh and flash than you are about conversation, values, great stories, and resilience. I’ve tried online dating websites with apt addresses including howaboutwe, plentyoffish, match, eharmony, and silversingles. Every couple of years I join one of them during their New Year’s specials. (Who can resist a bargain, even for boyfriends?) By the time I was 55, my 84-year-old mother was still making suggestions on how to find a great guy like my dad. “You could go to the big band ballroom dance at the Seattle Center on Saturday nights. That’s how your Aunt Betty met Dan. Or is it Dave?” She was getting a bit forgetful. I told her I was searching online sites for suitable white knights. In fact, I had been flirting online with a guy named Bob. We nudged, winked, poked, and emailed for two days, then made a phone date for 6 p.m. I phoned Mama to tell her I’d met a guy online and that he would be calling in a few minutes. She asked how I knew he wasn’t a “raper.” “I don’t think he can hurt me over the phone, Mama. Oh, I’m getting a call on the other line. That must be him. I’ll call you later and tell you everything. Bye, Mama.” I loved the way he started the phone conversation: “Tell me about what you did last weekend.” “I went to dinner with friends I’ve known for 30 years, then on Sunday I went to a movie.” He said, “Tell me about one of your
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
oldest friends.” This was more palatable than the typical 20-questions-grill-fest. In the first 15 minutes, we even shared a few chuckles. It felt good. I began choosing china patterns and cemetery plots. Then my doorbell rang and someone POUNDED on the door. I went into the living room and through my window I saw a policeman on my porch. “Bob, can you hold on? There’s a cop at my door.” With the door still closed, I asked through the window glass, “May I help you?” “Are you the homeowner?” “Yes.” “We got a call about an intruder.” Just then another cop joined him on the porch and said it was “all clear in the back.” Cop #1, looking through the window from the porch, scoping out my living and dining room: “Are you OK, ma’am?” “Yes,” I said, but then I began to get scared. If there was a criminal running around the neighborhood, maybe they should check out the house. Cop #2 craned his neck through the glass. I realized they may have thought I was under duress; perhaps someone behind the front door was holding a gun to my head. (Yes, I watch Law and Order). “Is there anyone else home?” I asked, “Can you show me some identification?” As they showed their badges, I realized I have no idea what a legitimate Seattle Police Department ID looks like, though I could easily recognize an NCIS badge. I opened the door a little, but stood in front of it. Cop #2: “Would you like us to check out your house?” “What’s going on?” Cop #1: “We got a call from an elderly woman who gave this address and said a man was coming over right now to hurt her daughter.” Mama. Dementia. Damn. “Oh … no. I’m so sorry. My mom is 84 and has a little dementia. She loves me so much she worries. She must have gotten confused. I told her I had met a man online and was going to have a phone conversation with him at 6 o’clock and that I had to go.” I held up my phone, as if they could see Bob. Then I threw open the door so they could
see there was no one behind it. “Do you want to talk to Bob?” “No, that’s fine!” They chuckled. “If my mother calls 911 in the future, you’re not going to ignore the call, thinking she’s a demented nuisance, are you? She did this out of love.” “Oh no. We wouldn’t do that.” “OK. Well, thanks. Good night.” They started down the steps. Cop #1 looked over his shoulder, “Call your mother!” I closed the door and held the phone back up to my ear. “Bob, did you hear any of that?” “Every word!” “Would it be OK if I called you back in 10 minutes? I think I should call my mom and reassure her.” “Dori, we just had a great conversation and I’d love to meet you in person. Let’s email to set a coffee date. You have something more important to do right now.” What a guy. I dialed Mama right away, realizing she’d be frantic until she heard from me. She answered, “I’ll bet you’re mad at me.” “Oh, Mama, I’m not mad at all. I am lucky that I have a mother who loves me so much.” “Well, I’m sorry I did that.” “I know it’s been a long time since I dated, but I didn’t think I needed a police escort!” We laughed. I told her about Bob and that we were going to coffee soon, but that I wasn’t going to tell her where or when so the SWAT team could be on call for bigger things. Bob and I had an intriguing coffee date which extended into lunch. We laughed easily and weren’t parading our careers, possessions, or accomplishments.
Aging with Confidence
He said I was one fun lady and he’d like to see me again. But he was clear that since he lived in Bremerton, he only ferried to Seattle every couple of months, and I’d have to come to him if we were to date. (What happened to “ain’t no mountain high enough?” The Supremes had set me up.) I was working full time and caregiving part time. Taking an entire day a couple times a week to ferry over and back wasn’t possible. Despite our rapport, it turns out Bob was GUD (Geographically Un-Dateable), so I did not see him again. And I still wonder: Is there a guy for me who would swim the deepest ocean, climb the highest hill, or at least drive in Seattle traffic to see me? Or should I take Mama’s advice, practice up on my fox-trot, and check out the big band dance next Saturday night?
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hairâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the thing
t to dye, o n r o e y d to uestion q e h t is t a th DOBR BY PAT T I
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
OWO L SK
o matter what your hair’s color, condition, or lack thereof, what’s on top of your head can become an issue as we age. Men want to keep it, women (and men) feel compelled to dye that gray away, and all of us are unpleasantly surprised to find hairs growing in new and strange places. (“Where did that come from!” a female friend shouted in horror, pointing to a wiry black hair growing out of her shoulder blade.) We’re often reminded that life is about the journey, not the destination, but not all parts of our life cycle are equally lauded by society. As Americans, we’re pretty judgmental about aging and the telltale signs of it—Number 1 being our gray hair. Silver strands were once seen as a symbol of wisdom and power, but in the 20th century the perception shifted from respecting and appreciating the wisdom and experience that earned us gray hair to wondering how we can best maintain a fountain-of-youth appearance. The $83 billion hair-care industry thanks us! Aging brings us changing hormones, retirement revelations, and weird body anomalies, plus the pressure to dye to stay relevant and employable. When my father’s hair went completely white at 45, it wasn’t an accident that he was replaced with a spry 30-something. The experience spurred him to start his own consulting business, but he never forgot the sting, and for a time dyed his hair brown. Recently, Huffington Post posted photos of “our favorite people” who are embracing silver hair, including celebrities (all were men, I noted) and everyday people (one woman). At the same time, many Millennials have embraced gray hair as a fashion choice. What’s going on? “A young face can get away with anything, even that awful matte gray finish without any shine,” celebrity hair colorist Jo Hansford told The Guardian. “It works as a trend because it’s fun and temporary, and they know they can move on.” Yet older female celebs including Helen Mirren and Jamie Lee Curtis look glamorous and sexy with gray locks, just as many men who go gray get a “silver fox” reputation. Like most of us, I want to step in and embrace all that comes with the aging process, but I admit I’ve been a perpetual hair dyer for decades. Bleach and tone have been my hair’s mantra, Aging with Confidence
and from punk pink to chartreuse, I’ve hosted a rainbow ’round my shoulders. Yet not long ago, when gray went vogue, my hairdresser convinced me to let my “natural gray” grow out. I was so proud of my silvery locks, I made the silly mistake of telling people I was going to stay natural forever. That lasted for exactly two haircut cycles, at which point my hair reverted to its Slavic roots and curled into one big Marge Simpson frizz ball on top of my head. In an attempt to please both my hairdresser and myself, I dyed just the top purple for a cycle. The next time, much to the dismay of my wife, Julie, I went all purple. After that, and with a smile, I went back to my blonde roots. Frankly, I’m convinced blondes do have more fun—especially in my case because who has ever spiked a curl? No one. The truth is, my hair is part of my brand: bold, bright, and colorful. I’ve wondered if men worry about aging as it relates to their hair, so I began polling those unlucky enough to sit beside me on the plane. All said they don’t want to lose their hair, but those who have often shave their heads to feel “more hip.” Most of them have let their beards or goatees grow and go gray, but it’s clear that worrying about our aging looks cuts across gender lines. Looks like until our Western society values its older members for the experience and wisdom we bring, the status of our hair as a cue for instant value judgment seems destined to continue. But that shouldn’t stop us from bucking the status quo. Recently I had to buy a couple of wigs for a show I was in. That was so much fun, I realized I was going to keep them around and wear them as everyday fashion accessories. Why not? Why not have fun with your hair? You’re old enough to do what you want, when you want. There are plenty of us who will be right beside you cheering you on (or willing to loan you a wig or two). Patti Dobrowolski, author of Drawing Solutions: How Visual Goal Setting Will Change Your Life, is founder of Up your Creative Genius, a consulting firm that uses visuals and creative processes to help companies and individuals around the world make powerful and positive change. A critically acclaimed comic performer, internationally recognized keynote speaker, writer, and business consultant, she has brought innovative visual practices to Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, and small businesses. Her TEDx talks Draw Your Future and Imagination Changes Everything have inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
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Hit the Road
RVs Spell Freedom in All Shapes and Sizes BY JULIE FANSELOW WINTER HAS FINALLY FADED in the rearview mirror, and road trip season is here. For many Northwesterners, an RV offers a passport to freedom, whether we’re looking for adventure in a vintage camper, a rock-star motor coach, or something in between. RVs are hot: The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association says more than 430,000 new campers of all kinds sold in 2016, about 15 percent more than the year before. And that’s just new RVs; there’s a robust market for used rigs, too. Loyalty runs especially strong among aficionados of sleek silver Airstream trailers and classic VW camper wagons. Sunset magazine recently profiled a young Seattle-area couple who live in a 1971 Airstream instead of paying outrageous rent, and VW camper fans even have their own regional Facebook page. (Look for WetWesties, the Pacific Northwest VW Camping Society.) At the recent Seattle RV Show, I met Jim and Linda Hemans of Mukilteo, who spend several months each year as campground hosts in Washington State Parks. It’s a volunteer gig for the retired couple—he was a Seattle firefighter; she worked in IT. As hosts, they get a premium site for their 29-foot Arctic Fox trailer and plenty of free time to bike, fish, and kayak when they’re not helping fellow campers.
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
“We usually do it a month at a time, but there are full-timers” who travel from park to park while exclusively living in their campers, says Jim. The Hemans have hosted in many parks, but two perennial favorites are Steamboat Rock State Park on Banks Lake near Grand Coulee Dam (where “every site is a great site,” says Jim) and Pearrygin Lake State Park in the Methow Valley, where they’ve made friends among the rangers and local residents, “and the deer come visit every day.” Rebecca Hom spins stories for a living, bills herself as the BackRoads Teller, and had long yearned for the freedom, flexibility, and security of “a little house on wheels.” She found a 26-foot Fleetwood Jamboree motorhome she liked at a local RV dealer. Then her son, Marcus, went online and located the same model with 10,000 fewer miles and for $5,000 less. But there was a catch: The camper was in Jonesborough, TN, 2,700 miles from Rebecca’s Olympia home. Rebecca was undeterred; she knew Jonesborough was home to the International Storytelling Center, which she’d long wanted to visit. (“It was fated,” she recalls. “I was supposed to get this rig.”) The camper had excellent repair records, so she bought it sight unseen and made plans to pick it up with her husband, Dale. The Homs rendezvoused in Tennessee with Rebecca’s sister and brother-in-law from Phoenix. As veteran RV’ers, Rudene and Chuck were able to help the rookies learn the fine arts of camper life, from dump-station etiquette to mountain downshifting. The quartet took the long way home, sharing time and memories across the miles. “For me, the whole thing has been about family,” says Rebecca. She has since taken the Jamboree on tour with her daughter, Rachel—
they perform spontaneous mother-daughter dialogues on stage—and a trip with Marcus and his family to Idaho’s City of Rocks. Yet it’s personal, too. About the time she bought the motorhome, Rebecca saw a painting by Joan Miró at the Seattle Art Museum, its title translated to Woman Entranced by the Escape Velocity of Shooting Stars. The artwork inspired a nickname, E.V., for her camper and spoke to Rebecca’s lifelong yearning for adventure. After all, this is someone who lived alone in a tipi in Central Oregon as a young woman. My sweetheart owned several VW campers “back in the day.” Last fall, Tom bought a Ford Aerostar van that had been expertly converted into a pop-top camper in 1997, then was well loved for nearly two decades by an owner who meticulously recorded every repair and tankful of gas in a small spiral notebook with a lifetime Golden Age parks passport taped inside the back. Its early entries read like a ship’s log, with notes from wide-ranging treks across the Western U.S.: 2-27-00 Mojave Chevron 10-10-04 Reno Costco
Rebecca Hom of Olympia has logged several thousand miles behind the wheel of the 26-foot RV she uses as a base for her storytelling business.
Later, the script is shakier, the trips far less frequent, and closer to home: 12-20-11 Burien Fred Meyer $3.299 7-27-15 White Center Safeway $2.119 The camper finally outlived its owner, whose widow sold it to Tom. But the odometer is still under 135,000, with plenty of miles left to travel and many pages to fill. Now that it’s spring, we are eager to get started. Julie Fanselow is a veteran travel writer and the author of guidebooks to Idaho, the Oregon Trail, and the Lewis and Clark Trail. She lives just north of Seattle.
A carefully kept log hints at the many adventures one Seattle-area RV’er enjoyed over the years.
GoRVing.com covers the basics on everything from pop-up trailers to deluxe motor coaches. Northwestrving.com is a regional website from the same people who put on the Seattle RV Show each February and the Puyallup RV Show (coming May 4-7 at the Washington State Fair Event Center).
Visit Canadian National Parks FREE in 2017!
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, all Canadians and international visitors can enter any and all national parks for free throughout 2017. To get your free pass (they’ll even pay for the mailing) go to pc.gc.ca
Aging with Confidence
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LIVING INTO DYING
CASKETS, BASKETS, SHROUDS, OH MY! BY ASHLEY T BENEM
t’s hard enough to figure out what to wear today, but with the shift to bring a better quality end-of-life journey, and with more and more people wanting an eco-friendlier burial, we now have many creative, imaginative options to lay a body to final rest. Here are a few recent ideas. Some good, some interesting, some… well, you decide… SHROUDS Did you know you can be cremated or buried in a cemetery in a simple death shroud without a coffin? You can now buy a handmade designer burial shroud. You pick the color, pattern, and fabric. The cost starts at about $300, or pennies on the dollar compared to standard coffins. Shrouds can come with sewn-in handles and a board to support the body as it’s being carried. They are more environmentally friendly and can be used in “green” burial grounds. Kinkaraco, in the San Francisco Bay area, makes some beautiful shrouds. Check them out at kinkaraco.com
Handcrafted Mycelium jumpsuit designed by Jae Rhim aids body decomposition in green burials.
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
BABY TREE URN A new product on the market pairs cremated remains in a biodegradable box that has a baby tree embedded into the container. The idea is that the ashes will nourish the tree as it grows, creating a living memorial. Our cremated remains are almost completely raw carbon and have high pH and sodium levels which would be unsuitable for plant growth. (The parts that made us good compost are destroyed in the cremation process.) The Living Urn company claims it has solved this by adding an “ash neutralizing agent” that is added on top of the ashes along with a “premium growth mix” that dilutes the surrounding environment from these effects. The company has pet urns too. You can learn more at thelivingurn.com CAPSULA MUNDI This is an incredibly beautiful idea created by industrial design engineers out of Italy for green burials. The concept is to put the dead body in a giant egg-shaped pod made of biodegradable starch plastic, with a tree planted on top of it—burying them to create memory forests instead of tombstone-filled cemeteries. But there are big obstacles to moving this idea from concept to reality, among
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MillsandMillsFunerals.com 360-357-7743 A sample of beautiful handmade shrouds by Kinkaraco. Clockwise from the top: Botanika, Peacock, Versaille. See more at kinkaraco.com
5/17/16 10:40 AM
them laws in many states and countries that currently do not allow this type of burial. Learn more at capsulamundi.it/en/ DRESSED TO FLOWER The Mycelium Suit designed by Jae Rhim is an eco-friendly, handcrafted jumpsuit worn by the deceased. According to the company website, the suit “has a built in biomix, made of mushrooms and other microorganisms that together do three things: aid in decomposition, work to neutralize toxins found in the body and transfer nutrients to plant life.” For more information, go to coeio.com
Saturday, April 29 Wednesday, April 19 Rainier Community Center Northgate Community Ctr 4600 38th Ave S, Seattle 10510 5th Ave. NE, Seattle Wednesday, May 10, All fairs are 10 am - 3 pm Miller Community Center have on-street parking and 330 19th Ave E, Seattle are served by Metro.
BASKET CASE Wicker baskets made of bamboo, willow, sea grass, or other plants are now being made to replace standard coffins. You can also get a wicker tray for the body to be used in cremation. Style is everything. Why shouldn’t your style in death match your style of living? Now that you have more options for this final party suit, get curious and remember: Beauty has no limits, not even in death.
For transportation assistance and general questions please contact: Cheryl Brown at 206-615-0619 or Cheryl.Brown@seattle.gov www.Seattle.gov/Parks/LGBTQ
Ashley T Benem is the founder of the non-profit A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service and the creator of the Art of Death Conference. She is an advocate for palliative and end-of-life care issues, empowering and supporting families to reclaim their right to die in congruence with their lives. Contact Ashley at email@example.com.
Aging with Confidence
| 3rd Act magazine 59
ON THE TOWN
Spring Sizzle SEATTLE AREA ARTS EVENTS BY MISHA BERSON
One of Hollywood’s most honored movie musicals, transferred to the stage. An eco-circus extravaganza with a Latin accent. And a lineup of top-notch musicians coming to a pleasing waterfront town just north of Seattle. These are some of the local cultural events we’ve circled on our spring 2017 cultural calendar. An American in Paris Broadway has welcomed many new musicals inspired by film hits, but not all of them have clicked with critics and audiences. There has to be something felicitous in the mingling of music, dance, and spectacle with a familiar story that makes the transformation from screen to stage special.
An American in Paris had that kind of je ne sais quoi when it debuted on Broadway in 2015, and the charm is repeated in a North American tour that glides into Seattle for a May run at the Paramount Theatre. The show is based on the exhilarating Oscar-winning film starring Gene Kelly as a former GI and aspiring artist in postWorld War II France, and Leslie Caron as the fetching jeune fille who makes him burst into song. And what Gershwin songs! I Got Rhythm, S’ Wonderful, Embraceable You, and more. The lead characters and tunes in the theatrical version are much the same, but Craig Lucas has rewritten the story to delve more deeply into the psyche of war-weary, liberated Paris. And while the show doesn’t aim to copy the inventive 20-minute dance fantasia in the movie, it is wellstocked with romantic pas de deux and joyful hoofing performed by veterans of leading ballet companies. It’s a sophisticated yet family-friendly treat. An American in Paris plays May 9-14 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. For details, call 206-682-1414 or see stgpresents.org. Cirque du Soleil The Montreal-based and internationally heralded circus with the mostest returns to the region with one of its latest spectacles, Luzia, spending the spring in the big-top tent at Marymoor Park in Redmond. An American in Paris Touring Company. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
Cyr Wheel & Trapeze. Photo by Matt Beard, costume by Giovanna Buzzi . Right: veteran folkie Arlo Guthrie.
Billed as a “waking dream” that “transports you to an imaginary Mexico,” Luzia soars on the metaphor of a butterfly’s migration from Canada to Latin America. Aerial feats, clowning interludes, a rain-calling ceremony, and visions of marigolds, hummingbirds, and jaguars are all accompanied by a soundscape that draws from Mexico’s rich musical traditions, from the salsalike cumbia to the flamenco-esque huapango. Luzia will run March 31-May 21 at Marymoor Park, Redmond. More information and tickets: cirquedusoleil.com. Edmonds Center for the Arts While Seattle is the cultural epicenter of our region, numerous nearby communities have their own thriving arts hubs. Edmonds Center for the Arts presents a roster that includes both local performing groups and highly rated musical stars. This spring is no exception, with some longtime favorites from an array of genres Aging with Confidence
waiting in the wings. The legendary soul singer Aaron Neville offers a musical taste of New Orleans on April 13. Veteran folkie Arlo Guthrie, of Alice’s Restaurant fame, brings his family show April 19. Those who count TV dance competitions as a guilty pleasure may want to catch Dancing With Our Stars featuring local luminaries and ballroom dance pros on April 22. The winning jazz crooner and guitarist John Pizzarelli shares the stage with fellow singer and cabaret star Ann Hampton Callaway on May 20. For tickets and a full list of upcoming Edmonds Center for the Arts shows, go to edmondscenterforthearts.org or call 425-275-9595. Misha Berson writes about the arts for The Seattle Times and many other publications, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).
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BOOKS My Life on the Road BY GLORIA STEINEM / Reviewed by David Marshall GLORIA STEINEM WAS BORN to the road, so travel is a fitting motif for her memoir that chronicles her life and work as an itinerant organizer for feminist and human causes. Steinem came by her wandering ways naturally; she was raised more on the road than off by her father, an antiques dealer who was happiest when driving down the road and meeting its adventures, and whose mantra was “never work for anyone else.” Her mother, tragically, was mostly just along for the ride, unable to create a life of her own. Most people know Steinem as a central figure in the history of modern American feminism and as the cofounder of the liberal feminist magazine Ms. in 1971. She began her journalism career in 1962, and soon after penned “A Bunny’s Tale,” an exposé detailing the exploitative working conditions of Playboy Bunnies that she researched while working undercover at the New York Playboy Club. In My Life on the Road, Steinem provides glimpses into the inner workings of the activist movements of the time, and how they affected the lives of ordinary people, including taxi drivers she met during her travels.
Steinem reminds us that the modern feminist movement grew out of women’s participation in the civil rights, political, and anti-war movements of the 1960s. It was a time when much women’s work outside the home was making coffee and copies until the realization dawned that all women needed to gain their own civil rights, and that this could only be achieved by working together. “We discovered the intensity of interest in the simple idea that each person’s shared humanity far outweighed any label by group of birth, whether sex, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, religious heritage, or anything else,” she writes. A major determinant to a person’s outlook is whether one sees the world as welcoming or hostile, and both frames of reference can become selffulfilling prophecies. Steinem has chosen a welcoming worldview—not espousing blind optimism, but believing that by working together, we really can improve people’s lives. As she discovers for herself, the key is to discover the and in the choices—not a life on the road or a home life. You can hit the road and you can go home; the world can be both welcoming and hostile. The key is finding the balance that makes us, and our societies, better.
GAMES for your brain ANSWERS (Puzzles on page 64 10. Violent, Violets 11. Novelty 12. Elevator 13. Loveseat, Lovesick, Lovelorn, Loveless, Lovebird 14. Boulevard 15. Marvelous 16. Voicemail
Endings and Beginnings 1. Glass 6. Cross 2. Cash 7. Food 3. Corn 8. Saw 4. Soda 9. Candy 5. Egg 10. Bean
Change a letter 1. C Cell, Cable, Camper 2. J Jail, Jingle, Jacket 3. R Rookie, Reach, Rhyme 4. G Gnarled, Glue, Germs 5. S Slight Sense Soot 6. Q Quest, Quite, Quilt 7. T Timed, Touch, Twine 8. G Grate, Golf, Goal 9. D Deaf, Drain, Drafty 10. W Wasp, Wraps, Whopper
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
Looking for Love 1. Olive 2. Solve 3. Vowel 4. Novel, Hovel 5. Evolve 6. Loaves, Louver 7. Grovel, Shovel 8. Revolt 9. Develop
COMING ATTRACTIONS The spring calendar is abloom with opportunity. Make time to get out of the house during these longer and warmer days and enjoy a few special events.
APRIL Skagit Tulip Festival APRIL 1–30
Spectacular fields of blooming tulips and daffodils. Wander through seas of blossoms in the valley and a sea of art, craft, and food booths at the street fair in Mount Vernon. tulipfestival.org Restaurant Weeks APRIL 2–6 AND 9–13
More than 165 restaurants in nearly every neighborhood in the Seattle area offer a special three-course dinner menu for $32, and many also serve three-course lunches for $18. seattlerestaurantweek.com
Sailboat Village APRIL 2017
Yachts from 12 countries stop in Seattle for a week during the Clipper Round the World Race. See the schedule for boat tours, talks, and the departure ceremony at Bell Harbor Marina on Pier 66. Boats should arrive between April 15 and 20.
A Festival for May opens with demonstrations, crafts, food, and musicians. Games and the Maypole ceremony are in the afternoon. Dinner by reservation at Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation. camlann.org
Tango Festival JUNE 8–12
Ignite! MAY 18
Ignite Seattle is the largest open submission public speaking event in the Pacific Northwest. Each person gets 20 slides, at 15 seconds each, to share a passion for 5 minutes. It’s an exercise in distilled discovery.
See vintage airplanes flying (12 to 1:30 p.m.) and on the ground at Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection, plus exhibits and vendors at Paine Field Aviation Day. painefield.com
Kick up your heels at the five-day Tango Magic Festival with classes from beginning to advanced, great music, and guest performances. seattletangomagic.com Improv Comedy Festival JUNE 18–25
The 21st Seattle International Festival of Improv explores the nature of performance and space. A unique opportunity to see international masters of improv creating funny scenes and sketches during evening performances throughout the week. unexpectedproductions.org Daffodil Festival APRIL 8
repsshowcase.com An evening with Anne Lamott APRIL 26
A prolific author of memoir and fiction, Lamott writes about all sorts of things: family, writing, addiction, and faith. Her personal essays are known for being revelatory, insightful, and relatable. She will read from her book and share stories from her experience.
Aging with Confidence
Celebrate the golden days of radio in Bellevue. The Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound present a showcase of legendary radio comedians and spine-tingling thrillers, mysteries, and adventures.
Hear live jazz and blues at the Eastside’s premier showcase for top national and regional artists.
Aviation Day in Everett
MAY 31–JUNE 4
Old-Time Radio Shows
Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival
The 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival celebrates traditional arts from around the world with hundreds of dance and musical performances, workshops, and panels at the Seattle Center.
The Daffodil Parade makes its way through Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting in a single day, and features marching bands, clowns, pirates, and floats covered with thousands of fresh-cut daffodils. The parade is the highlight of the Daffodil Festival, now in its 84th year. affodilfestival.org
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GAMES for your brain Exercise your brain and have some fun with these puzzles designed to stimulate different cognitive functions.
Change a Letter (easy)
Change the first letter of the three words in each list to create three new words that all start with the same letter. For example, given the words whine, plant, and reason, what one letter can replace the first letter of each word to make three new words? The answer is Sâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;shine, slant, and season. 1. Bell, Fable, Pamper____________________________
6. Guest, Suite, Built _____________________________
2. Mail, Mingle, Racket ___________________________
7. Aimed, Pouch, Swine___________________________
3. Cookie, Peach, Thyme_________________________
8. Irate, Wolf, Coal_______________________________
4. Snarled, Blue, Terms___________________________
9. Leaf, Brain, Crafty_____________________________
5. Flight, Dense, Boot____________________________
10. Gasp, Traps, Shopper__________________________
Endings and Beginnings (harder)
In this game, we provide the first half of a two-word phrase or compound word and the second half of another. For example, given Credit _______ trick, the one word that completes both clues is Card, i.e., Credit card and Card trick. 1. Plate________________________________ Ceiling
6. Red_________________________________ Walk
2. Petty________________________________ Register
7. Frozen ______________________________ Stamps
3. Sweet_______________________________ Flakes
8. Chain _______________________________ Dust
4. Club_________________________________ Fountain
9. Cotton ______________________________ Cane
5. Nest________________________________ Noodle
10. String _______________________________ Bag
Looking for Love (hardest) Each word in this list is missing all its letters except L-O-V-E. Can you fill the blank spaces with letters that make a common English word? For a more vigorous brain exercise, try to solve this quiz in three minutes. 1. OL ____VE
9. ____ ____ VELO ____
2. ____ OLVE
10. V ____ OLE ____ ____
3. VO ____ EL
11. ____ OVEL ____ ____
4. ____ OVEL
12. EL ____ V ____
5. ____ ____ OLVE
13. LOVE ____ ____ ____ ____
6. LO ____VE ____
14. ____ O ____ LEV ____ ____ ____
15. ____ ____ ____ VELO ____ ____
____ ____ OVEL
8. ____ EVOL ____
____ O ____
ANSWERS ON PAGE 62 Reprinted with permission from Nancy Linde, author of the best-selling book 399 Puzzles, Games, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young and her newest book, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young. She is also the creator of the website Never2Old4Games. com, which is used by many senior-serving organizations in the U.S. and Canada.
16. VO ____ ____ E ____ ____ ____ L
3rd Act magazine | spring 2017
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