3rd Act Magazine – Spring 2024

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AI A Primer for the Curious Get Out and Exercise!
THE GOLDEN BACHELOR Tarnished Fool’s Gold Life Interrupted When You Are Called to Be a Caregiver
Discover the PS2P— a Trail for All Ages
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from the publisher

A Brave New World

Marty McFly: “Hey, Doc, we better back up. We don’t have enough road to get up to 88.”

Doc: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” —Back to the Future

Lately, I’ve started challenging myself to see how often I can catch AI-generated images—meaning those created by artificial intelligence—in ads and commercials. They tend to have this oversaturated, almost caricature look, and once you recognize it, it becomes easier to pick them out. Less innocuous is receiving submissions from unknown writers trying to pass off stories as their authentic work but which are obviously written by AI. It’s tacky, a waste of my time, and a disservice to the myriad of good writers who have enough of a hard time eking out a living these days.

and those I won’t. In this issue we turn our focus forward with positive anticipation of what the future holds and our part in it, whatever our age.

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “paying it forward.” In her column (page 8) Linda Henry reminds us of all the ways we can pay it forward to our community, each other, and future generations in this life stage.

...this brave new technological world fascinates me...

Yet, this brave new technological world fascinates me, and I wonder what advances I will live to see—and possibly benefit from—

I am always inspired by people who devote time and treasure to projects to benefit others that they may not live to see completed. And that’s just what many older adults do. One such person is Steve Durrant (“A Path to the Future,” page 48), who’s dedication to completing the Puget Sound to Pacific trail will benefit people of all ages and abilities for generations to come.

Speaking of paying it forward, AARP Washington has generously provided funding for a series of original articles on caregiving in 3rd Act. Many of you will relate to our first story in the series, “A Life Interrupted,” by Sally Fox on page 36.

As we age, we can get into the habit of looking back—what technology, family, politics, and the climate was like when we were younger, not to mention our appearance and health—often calling it “the good old days.”

I disagree. Instead, as Carly Simon famously wrote in her song Anticipation, let’s remember that “These are the good old days.”


Now, more than ever, older adults are viewing their retirement as a “Third Act” in their lives: A time for reinvention, connection, and engagement. 3rd Act Magazine is a bold, fresh, lifestyle magazine for older adults in the Puget Sound region. Our stories and articles challenge the worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and age together with confidence.


Victoria Starr Marshall

David Marshall

EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall

COPY EDITOR Tina Potterf

ART DIRECTOR Philip K rayna

WEBSITE Philip Krayna

ADVERTI SING Dale Bohm, Pat Sylvia



David Marshall


Peter Kelly

3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMagazine.com or mail to P.O. Box 412, 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 3rd Act Magazine

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For subscriptions, advertising rates, and additional information, visit us at www.3rdActMagazine.com

2 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com MESSAGE
Victoria with Steve Durrant at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.


COVER: Steve Durrant is an avid cyclist and Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. After a career designing transit, parks, greenways, and on-street bike paths, he is donating his time in retirement to the development of the Puget Sound to Pacific Trail (PS2P). Photo by Peter Kelly taken at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Wash.



Susan Partnow’s life abruptly changed at 71 when she was called to be a caregiver.



Curious about artificial intelligence and its impact? We give you the basics.



Imagining a future where technology can make us immortal. Well, sort of.



Steve Durrant and the Puget Sound to the Pacific: A 200-mile trail for us all.




The importance of "paying it forward" to future generations.



“Yay me!” Adjusting to loss and finding joy in “going it alone.”



Musings on being 90 and the benefits of a positive outlook.



My not so quick response to a quick response (QR) future.



Avoid the “anti-bucket list” with longevity planning.



The hard truth about dementia.



The futility of trying to figure out what lies ahead.


4 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com PUGET SOUND SPRING FORWARD Our Public Gardens Awaken UNDERSTANDING AI A Primer for the Curious Get Out and Exercise! Discover the PS2P— a Trail for All Ages and Abilities THE GOLDEN BACHELOR Tarnished Fool’s Gold Life Interrupted When You Are Called to Be a Caregiver
n t e n t s


14 YOUNG VOTERS, OLD CANDIDATES A conversation with young voters on how they perceive age in politics.



Learning programs offer a myriad of courses designed for older adults.



It's time to downsize, but how can I give up these old friends?



Homage to the poet laureate of mortality.


52 MY THIRD ACT A scientist's plan for a remarkable next act.



Western Washington’s public gardens awaken.



Let's stop falling for a standard of perfection no one can meet—even Mr. Golden Bachelor himself.



These cozy Puget Sound independent cinemas will elevate your movie-watching experience.




Having more of these specialized physicians is the best way to ensure the future health of all older adults.



Mapping out your journey can ease the way.



Tackling tough subjects that force us to think deeply helps to keep the brain healthy.



A study of identical twins illuminates exercises impact on cognitive decline.



Personal trainer advises us to get stronger for better balance.



Simple ways to make delicious appetizers from your pantry.



62 BOOKS Tough Broad: From Boogie Boarding to Wing Walking— How Outdoor Adventure Improves Our Lives as We Age by Caroline Paul




Word puzzles to challenge your mind.


Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 5 44

Create a Bright Spot

Linda Henry’s piece about life brings up the question, “What am I creating?” (“Life is What You Create,” Fall 2023). There are many bright spots in our world, but of course it is generally the negative that gets press (3rd Act is a joyful exception). Acts of kindness and working to make a difference, while living lightly, are helping me create a bright spot within. Speaking up to those who represent me in Congress (202-224-3121) about critical legislation like renewing the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the READ Act can create bright spots for millions in our country and around the world. Making this call can make a difference by cutting child poverty in half by passing the CTC and giving tens of millions the opportunity for an education in areas of the world experiencing poverty with the READ Act. Why not try taking action to create a bright spot, within you and without you?

Excellent Caregiving Series

I want to compliment you for engaging the author of your four-part “Caregiving Series” (Jeanette Leardi, Spring through Winter 2023). I was thoroughly impressed with the way in which she covered every possible angle of the caregiving journey

clearly, concisely and with accessible language for any audience. It’s a rare gift to be able to express this thorough examination of caregiving in a way that is relatable to all who are already giving care to loved ones, or those who anticipate the need. This series should be available to more than your audience. It’s an invaluable resource. Congratulations!

Cherish Every Day

Last week, I was visiting Seattle to see my daughter and son-in-law. My son-inlaw is in residential hospice at Evergreen Hospital. During the visit, I spent time in the waiting room of Evergreen Hospice Care and there I picked up your wonderful magazine. There were a number of very good articles by people from that area that were very interesting and informative. I am doing what your magazine articles recommend. I will turn 82 in about six months. I cherish every day and every moment of this period of my life and opportunities that this Third Act has given me. I am a retired university professor and president. I have been teaching and doing research in this country in mathematics learning and teaching for more than a half century. I work with adults and children, including those who have insult or injury to their brains and as a result they might experience difficulties in learning and using mathematics. The condition is called dyscalculia or acalculia. Thank you!

—Mahesh Sharma, Framingham, MA

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PUGET SOUND ELDER ORPHANS Alone with Dementia LONGEVITY SQUARED The Quest for Immortality 70 FOR SEVENTY A Birthday Travel Challenge How to Live a Good Life The Simple Secret to Living a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life Pleasurable Sadness The Redemptive Power of Beautiful Music Jennifer James Has Never Been Happier The Bittersweet (but mostly sweet) Reality of being 80 6 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 Independent, Active 55+ Community FREEDOM to live on your own with no home maintenance . COMPANIONSHIP with people living an active, enriching lifestyle. PEACE OF MIND with live-in managers. Come join our Family of Friends CALL FOR A TOUR 7 DAYS A WEEK! 206–243–0300 BoulevardParkPlace.com 2805 S 125th Street Burien, WA 98168

What are you looking forward to?

You’ve lived a full life, but you’re not ready to slow down yet. And you shouldn’t be.

The years you’ve spent earning money have hopefully paid off and now you’re in a place to move on to new adventures. What will those include? It’s your choice.

If you’re ever tempted to think you’ve lost the opportunity to fulfill a dream, consider this: Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published. Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa when he was 75 years old. And Grandma Moses didn’t begin to paint until the age of 76.

Sure, you may never become the world’s next Michael Jordan or

president of the United States, but the world would have been a lot poorer had Laura, Nelson, or Grandma Moses decided to just sit and watch television in their golden years. They, like you, had things to contribute.

Perhaps they didn’t know it at the time, but history proves that many older adults have stores of knowledge, creativity, and wisdom to share with the rest of us.

We know that well at CRISTA Senior Living. It’s why we have a podcast named From the Eyes of Wisdom that pairs our senior residents with high school students, enabling them to tell their stories and share their wisdom to the younger generation. It’s why we have a large art studio and woodworking shop at Cristwood Park in Shoreline where residents create beautiful and useful things every day. And it’s why we have many resident-led interest groups, a choir, a missions committee, a lay chaplaincy program, and many volunteer opportunities at King’s Schools for seniors to engage in.

One of the residents said it best: “We’re not done yet!” If that’s true for you, visit us and find out what makes CRISTA Senior Living a place where you have a lot to look forward to.

CRISTA Senior Living is home to seniors 55 and older, with two campuses located in the Puget Sound and customized to suit your lifestyle. Cristwood, our Shoreline campus, is a Christian Life Plan Community, with apartment living options for independent lifestyles, to assisted living and memory care. Crista Shores, our Silverdale campus, offers apartment living options for an independent lifestyle and assisted living on the beautiful Dyes Inlet waterfront.

If you would like to speak to one of our senior living experts, please call us today at 206-546-7565, or visit cristaseniorliving.com.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 7

Paying it Forward

Linda Henry writes regularly on topics related to aging, health care, and communication, and is the coauthor of several books, including Transformational Eldercare from the Inside Out: Strengths-Based Strategies for Caring. She conducts workshops nationally on aging and creating caring work environments. Her volunteer emphasis is age-friendly communities.

“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”

I once attended a workshop where participants were asked how they wanted to be remembered at their death. Most wanted to be remembered for having made a difference. They want their lives to have mattered.

The idea of “paying it forward” was popularized by the 1999 book, Paying It Forward and the 2000 movie of the same name. Based on the premise that when someone does something for you, rather than paying it back directly, you pass it on to another person who in turn passes on the kindness. Many people practice this principle believing that such acts build exponentially, thus enriching the community around them. They may be motivated by a feeling of gratitude for what they have received or by the desire to follow in the footsteps of someone they admire.

While few of us will pen a book that will transform the way we view society, serve our country in a way that will be meaningful to

future generations, or invent a vaccine that will eradicate a disease, there are many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. Some years ago I received a phone call from a casual acquaintance the day prior to my surgery wishing me well and assuring me that she would be thinking of me. Such a simple act, but it touched me deeply.

Has your life been touched by someone either known or unknown? How did you feel? Does it inspire you to “pay it forward?”

Consider some of the ways you can pay it forward and make a difference:

• Be informed. Trust reliable sources to learn what is happening in your community, schools, or other organizations to determine how best to contribute.

• Stay involved. Support local programs that assist individuals facing specific needs such as food or housing insecurity. Make your voice heard by voting.

• Volunteer. There are endless opportunities to volunteer with organizations or individuals. Tutor through the schools, teach English as a second language, sit with the family of someone undergoing a medical procedure, drive someone to a medical appointment or treatment, call to check on someone’s health, or simply sit with someone who needs to tell their story without judging. Use your skills and abilities to create something new. A retired nurse I know created a care team in her church. A community theater enthusiast formed a drama group as a fundraiser for an organization they support.

• Become part of someone’s personal “choir.” When a friend of mine was facing an important job interview, he asked a group of friends to become his choir. He envisioned them sitting on his shoulder sending him positive thoughts at the time of the appointment.

These are only a few examples. Our challenge is to think of others.

Although I may not always know that I have made a difference, I hope never to stop trying to do so.

8 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com
AGING WITH PRIDE GenPride serves LGBTQ Seniors THE OTHER BOOM Retirement Living Options Surge Live Like You Mean It Don’t Let Age Limit You A Whole New Place to Retire 3 Washington Towns Worth Considering Brain Power Join the Golden Age of Lifelong Learning 3rd Act Magazine— a Positive Voice for Aging with Confidence! • Conscious Aging • Health & Wellness • Retirement Planning • Lifestyle & Travel • Insights & Inspiration PUGET SOUND THE CARGIVERS JOURNEY How Can You Prepare? NAVIGATING GRIEF After the Loss of a Partner MEMOIR WRITING In the Time of a Pandemic 10 Things I’m Glad to Let Go There’s Joy in Lightening Your Load Building a Better Future Clarence Moriwaki’s Values-Driven Life Fuels his Third Act PUGET SOUND ELDER ORPHANS Alone with Dementia LONGEVITY SQUARED The Quest for Immortality 70 FOR SEVENTY A Birthday Travel Challenge How to Live a Good Life The Simple Secret to Living a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life Pleasurable Sadness The PowerRedemptive of Beautiful Music Jennifer James Has BeenNever Happier The Bittersweet (but mostly sweet) Reality of being 80 If You Love 3rd Act Magazine, Your Friends Will, Too. Go to 3rdActMagazine.com to order a one- or two-year subscription for you or a friend today! We will send a greeting card to the recipient informing them of your gift.

Yay Me! Finding Joy in Going it Alone

I once read that grief is a lonely, solitary room. Truly, for me it was. Friends and family can provide some comfort, yet most experience sorrow as personal and private. Those who share a similar loss will experience something comparable, although not the same. We can console one another by sharing stories and trying to be empathetic, but ultimately, we still come up short because each is on our own grief journey.

This is a journey that cannot be rushed, wished away, or powered through—only survived. If you can accept this one truth, then you can lean into your singular sorrow and find ways to build a new life around your grief. I have come to believe that this is the best approach to grief: You can’t get though it or around it, but you can isolate and insulate grief as your new life without your loved one unfolds. In other words, you learn how to live solo with a “Yay me!” frame of mind.

That new life may include staying single. This is not to say that as a widow or widower you won’t have another relationship in your future, or that it is not something for which to hope. My message is that you can still lead a full and happy life while consciously choosing to remain single after the death of a spouse—or even after divorce. Yay me!

I recently Googled, “Is it normal to be happy alone?” Apparently, to my great relief, it is. Being alone and enjoying one’s solitude and company is very different from being lonely. I have carved out a new life for myself that—despite missing my sweetheart every day—fulfills me. I am blessed to have a large circle of wonderful family and

friends, lots of interests and activities, and a deep curiosity to learn and expand my mind. Yay me!

I have learned to quietly say to myself Yay me! when I tackle something challenging like when I attended a wedding in Portugal alone, or go to a large cocktail party where I only know a few guests. And these days if I want to see a movie or play, I just go by myself. Fortunately, I have found

that this is not all that uncommon anymore. As a self-assessed introvert, embracing these— outside my comfort zone—activities are worth a pat on the back. Yay me!

Yet, my alone time is where I really find strength. It is the recharge I need after going out in the world. I hope every person gets to experience the pleasure of one’s own company as it is very life affirming. I once picked up a small prose book called My Best Friend only to discover that the author was writing about himself. We should all be our own best friends and cheerleaders. Yay me!

After losing her husband in 2021, Marilee Clarke began writing her book on navigating grief. Excerpts from the book (still in progress) often appear in this magazine. Her passions include mixed media creations and traveling the world every chance she gets. She currently splits her time between Issaquah, Wash., and the California desert, enjoying the best of two very different and beautiful locales.

10 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com NAVIGATING GRIEF

Enjoy unparalleled service, impeccable amenities and thoughtfully designed surroundings at Queen Anne Manor. From a beautiful outdoor courtyard where you can take in the beauty of Seattle, to exciting excursions within the city, Queen Anne Manor is designed to provide a purposeful and independent lifestyle with the comfort of knowing that a reliable care team is available when needed.

Call (206) 488-0319 to schedule a tour!

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At Harbour Pointe, you’ll enjoy a rich social life in a carefree setting surrounded by family and friends. From live music and exercise classes to BBQs and happy hours, there’s never a dull moment.

Continue living the life you love while receiving the assistance you need in the privacy of your apartment. Best of all, maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, and restaurant-style dining are all included in your rate.

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Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 11
Care that fits your lifestyle
Living & Memory Care
Peace of Mind to Live Freely
Assisted Living & Memory

90Musings On Being

It is fashionable these days to take the onus off aging with these falsehoods:

“60 is the new 70,” “70 is the new 80.” But I am living proof that 90 is 90, and always will be. It doesn’t matter if you are 91 or 95, and don’t even think of declaring yourself in the “early” 90s. Everything about 90 is late. The universal perception about being 90 is there is not much to look forward to except the dubious possibility of reaching 91.

On the other hand, 90 is not the same for everyone. A lot depends on one’s mindset. Those with a positive mindset tend to focus on the bright side and approach challenges with a positive outlook. My mother did not have a positive outlook. When she reached 70, her life became defined by what she could no longer do. She took off her apron and passed her kitchen and household duties on to her daughters. Though my right knee has been 90 for some time now, I refuse to let my knee determine the quality of my life.

My friend Carol is also 90. She is a poet, her head is in the clouds, not in the oven. She observes as I continue to preside over family dinners and holiday feasts as if she were watching a foreign film in a language she doesn’t understand. I read the poems that flow from her pen as something otherworldly. I am moved by the beauty in some and the despair in others, all a part of who she is. The challenge for both of us at this late age is that we do not forget who we are.

I admit there are daily reminders of my advanced age that I cannot deny. My memory is deserting me. It takes

Truth is, being 90 is not for the fainthearted, though I did experience a tangible advantage to being a venerable woman recently.

longer to do tasks I used to zip through, and more often of late I find myself searching for a conversational word, sometimes never finding it.

On the plus side, I am amazed at how eager strangers, especially young people, are to help me. Without my asking, they rush to open a door, to stretch up to a high shelf at the supermarket to grab an item I can’t reach. Others refuse to believe I know where I am going and how to get there and offer help I don’t need, but graciously accept. Then there’s the time when, exhausted from running errands, I stopped at Starbucks for coffee. When it was my turn to order, I said, “I’d like a medium decaf, please.” The young man behind me in line, speaking directly to the girl behind the

counter said, “You better make that a regular. She looks like she could use some caffeine.”

There is an emotional downside to an unusually long life—my generation of family and friends is mostly gone. I began life as the youngest member of a large family. I am now the matriarch of a group of vibrant millennials and Gen Z. I am learning more from them than they are from me. In fact, if someone were to ask me what the key to a meaningful late life is, I would answer—continued learning. I am at an age when I have earned the right to say “Enough! I’ll just coast the rest of the way,” but my mind won’t let me. Neither will it let me take afternoon naps. With so little of it left, I refuse to waste time.

Truth is, being 90 is not for the fainthearted, though I did experience a tangible advantage to being a venerable woman recently. My last Visa statement showed a charge for an expenditure I didn’t recognize—it was a series of letters and numbers that spelled nothing. I called Visa Customer Service and asked if they knew what I was being charged for. The service rep put me on hold while he searched for the identity of the charge. When he returned, he told me I was paying for a subscription to a dating service.

“I’m 90 years old,” I said. “Do you think I’m looking for a date?” The charge was rescinded immediately. Cathy Fiorello

12 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com
in the
freelance writer based in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in T he New York Times, Still Point Arts Quarterly, and Scholastic magazine. She is
author of the recently published Paris, Sharing the Magic, a memoir of her experiences
city she has loved and visited for many years.
Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 13
the Future of Healthcare Tasso is looking for participants in the Seattle area to join our research studies. You can earn $50 or more in Amazon gift cards by participating. tassoinc.com/3rdact Sign up today!

Later this year, I will most likely vote for a presidential candidate who has spent more time in the public sphere than I have spent alive.

found that 77% of people see Biden as “too old to be effective for four more years.” Ageism is rampant in our society, but do these number reflect ageism or perhaps something more?


If the race for America’s top elected official continues as expected, the president will be in their 80s by the end of the next term. The two leading presidential candidates—Joe Biden (81) and Donald Trump (77)—are more than 50 years my senior.

Whether we agree it should be an issue or not, age is on the ticket in 2024. In a poll released last summer, reported that “For Biden, 37% of Democratic and Independent voters say the 80-year-old president’s age makes them less likely to vote for him…” A different poll, also from 2023,

Young voters have a unique relationship to this upcoming election—few, if any, candidates on the ballot represent someone from their generation, yet the policies they do or don’t enact will impact these voters the most.

Bret, 25, works as an engineer in Tacoma, Wash., and has friends and family who think politicians should retire when they get older and worries about Congress not being able to regulate things like social media effectively. “Term limits might help some of

14 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

that,” he tells me, “But it doesn’t address the root problem of elections being bought and paid for.”

Drew Palmer, 24, an optical engineer living in Berkeley, Calif., says he started thinking about age in politics within the last three years but has a different view: “I think wisdom and experience is a really key part of being a politician,” he says. Palmer shares that his father brought up the idea of “age as experience” to him. Voters “would lose a lot” if you set something like term limits, he adds.

But Palmer does think about the age requirements in place to hold office, as well. “If there’s a lower limit on age, why can’t there be an upper limit on age?” he says.

“I value age in voting but there’s not that much choice for me as a voter as—in many cases—the options are pretty much all the same,” says Allie Highsmith, 24, a student currently voting in the U.S. from abroad. Highsmith only recalls a few previous voting decisions that were influenced by age.

The lack of choices young voters face in age began as an unspoken starting point for this article. But instead of talking about age itself, which I was anticipating, I found Bret and Palmer quickly pivoting to policy solutions like federal age and term limits. We skipped over age as a metric and went straight to exploring solutions to ease the malaise they feel around voting.


I spoke with my cohorts to get a sense of how or if the ages of our current candidates would impact their voting choices and what they would change if they could. Their opinions do not, by any means, represent younger voters as a group. However, I found myself on common ground with many of their points—on term limits, on age restrictions, and others. But one of my takeaways is that someone’s chronological age may not be as important as acknowledging how cultural biases around leadership traits can impact our perception of a candidate’s potential effectiveness as a leader.

“Trump gives this impression of being very vigorous and forceful and all of these things that sort of connote an amount of energy that Biden does not project,” says Thomas Jankowski, the associate director for research at the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology who also holds a PhD in Political Science.

“Biden’s always had a very soft voice. He speaks softly. He’s had a speech impediment, which he still works to overcome, that gives the impression of his speech being kind of halting and not particularly smooth,” Jankowski adds. Palmer brought up the popular meme of “Sleepy Joe,” a nickname used by Trump in a tweet for President Biden. It has since become the subject of political research and widespread internet memes.

Bernie Sanders, 82, escapes some stereotypes of aging and has been widely supported by younger voters. “Why don't people think of his age as being a problem?” says Jankowski. “Well, because Bernie Sanders is a tornado, you know? He speaks very forcefully. He’s got a lot of energy and so people don’t associate that with age.”

★ ★ Bridging the generational divide will require everyone—at every age—to step up and be ready to work together, supporting policies that ensure a bright and dynamic future for all. ★ ★ ★

National media focus on President Biden’s and other national leader’s ages may have tapped into our underlying cultural age biases. Both Palmer and Bret separately mentioned the issue of cognitive decline in older candidates, an issue covered by national outlets in 2023 after gaffes by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the late Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“When anything having to do with older adults is covered, it seems like there’s always this sort of bifurcated view of them either as sort of a wise sage or the doddering fool … when most older adults are just people,” Jankowski says.

Bridging the generational divide will require everyone—at every age—to step up and be ready to work together supporting policies that ensure a bright and dynamic future for all. “I really hate the idea of generations being at odds,” Jankowski says. “Because every young person, if they’re lucky, is going to get old.”

Zachary Fletcher is a freelance journalist covering aging and other news, most recently for The Kitsap Sun/USA TODAY. His work has appeared in PBS's Next Avenue and The Sacramento Bee, among other publications. He lives in Seattle with his partner. Learn more about him at fletcherzachary.weebly.com.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 15

My Not So Quick Response to a Quick Response (QR) Future

he first time I eyeballed a QR—short for quick response—code, I tried to decipher it like a palm reader might. Maybe I should’ve thrown up my arms then, instead of riding out the evolution until now.

In those early days, I was fascinated that a little square code could take me places for useful information. One exception—the foolishness of restaurant QR codes once COVID became less threatening. Real menus enhance the experience of the full meal deal. The QR code was developed 30 years ago by a Japanese engineer who worked for a subsidiary of Toyota. His goal was to track auto parts in the assembly process.

Fast forward to 2024, when a group of befuddled folks in a parking area under a Seattle medical building are scrunching their noses, phones in hand, as they try to figure out why they need a QR code to register their

vehicles before they can see a doctor. Some don’t even have a wireless connection beneath the building. Many give up and shrug, hop on elevators, and head upstairs to be met by medical receptionists who point to a computer so we can register our presence.

The computer prompts patients to insert drivers’ licenses and insurance cards. After that comes a screen boasting a litany of release forms that had been texted to my phone for advance check-in. Several were so long on legalese and small print, I chose not to address them.

Sheepishly, I ask for help from one of the uninterested receptionists. This is an eye doctor appointment. Why the fine print? One receptionist walks around to where I stand. He doesn’t read what’s on the computer, only gives me the gist of each subject area, then points to where I need to click to sign each one. What’s all this legal mumbojumbo I’d just signed?

By now I’m late for my appointment, even though I arrived at the building 20 minutes early. Good thing blood pressure checks aren’t part of eye exams.

I complain to my eye doctor—one I’ve seen at this location for nearly 20 years—about all the new tech insanity. His response?

“We’re trying to save on cost,” he says. “But when you leave, as long as you have a credit card, just veer to the left and someone will take your payment for parking.”

“How will they know how long I’ve been here?” I ask.

“They photograph your license plate when you come in,” he says.

“Then what’s up with QR code antics?”

He shrugs much like the rest of us did in the parking garage. Are businesses killing themselves with technology to cut costs? I thought QR codes were created to provide

16 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com THE LIGHTER SIDE

information, not to replace people.

“Can I pay less for parking given all the time I’ve been here?”

“Good luck with that,” the doc says with a chuckle as he leaves the examining room.

By the time I’ve gone through all the rigamarole, I’d been there well over two hours.

As suggested, I drive out to the left where I get a handwritten slip of paper for $11.99—a suspiciously odd amount for parking—from a woman in an exit booth. The gate goes up.

Wait, this tale has a glimmer of hope!

The next day, I’m able to grab a familiar card that opens a parking gate and cruise into a garage for yet another Seattle doc appointment, one with my

primary care physician.

Big signs on the walls just inside the entrance beckon, “PARKING FOR SENIORS.” While there’s not always an empty spot, I luck out, slip into a senior space and catch an elevator.

With numerous people working the clinic reception area, the wait is only a few minutes before an employee, standing or sitting, waves with a smile to come his or her way.

No long forms to sign, no computer interactions. They scan IDs. Conversation is animated and congenial. One of the seated receptionists is a hoot, with a work area decorated in playful slogans, greeting cards, and tchotchkes all in tune with the season. She’s such a crackup, my fears about the loss of human

connection in the not-too-distant future melts away. I even had low blood pressure that day.

When I depart, the man in the booth who takes my parking card says he heard the horrors of QR code parking nearby. We both grimace, then laugh, as he hands me a printed $8 receipt, then raises the gate.

On the drive home, I thought about Dinah Washington as I tried to hum,

“What a Diff’rence a Day Makes.”

Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early 90s, she went to work for websites where she wrote sassy essays aimed at women. In recent years, she morphed into a writer for several universities in the Northwest. She retired in 2016, yet still enjoys freelancing.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 17
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Avoid the “Anti-Bucket List” with Longevity Planning

You know how when you are shopping for a new car you start seeing the same make and model everywhere? There is a name for that, it’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Your brain is subconsciously looking for the car, and as a result, you start noticing it more. I experienced the BaaderMeinhof phenomenon, but it wasn’t about a silver Volvo, it was about my mom and retirement in America. Call it retirement interrupted.

Retirement Interrupted

JoJo was vivacious, youthful in appearance and spirit. She was also hyper-flexible, and a lifetime of aerobics had left her in need of major hip surgery. Eight torturous weeks in a body cast ahead. That’s retirement interrupted. But here’s the kicker: Ten days after surgery, on a Friday afternoon, we got some shocking news. First, the nurse said that Medicare wouldn’t continue to pay for her stay because they couldn’t do more physical therapy until the cast was removed. Second, she had to be out in 72 hours—so by Monday. She couldn’t go home and she couldn’t stay at the rehab facility. But she’s in a body cast for six-and-a-half more weeks. We cried. Welcome to the American health care system and Medicare coverage.

Now JoJo was energetic, vibrant. She had a bucket list a mile long. She also wasn’t shy, a good communicator you might say. And now, amid the tumult, she forcefully voiced her anti-bucket list.

JoJo’s Anti-Bucket List

First, JoJo says, she never wanted to be forced from her home or become a burden on her children. She also didn’t want to lose her life savings to long-term care costs. Above all, she wanted family peace and harmony. These seemed eminently reasonable wishes. We were determined to help JoJo avoid her anti-bucket list. But how?

JoJo had done a lot of third-act or longevity planning with health, financial, and legal professionals. Yet, she worried constantly about her anti-bucket list. Whose fault was it? Her doctor said, “I fixed her hips, I did my job.” Her financial advisor said, “I invested prudently, I did my job.” Her lawyer said, “I prepared her will and powers of attorney, I did my job.” Everyone was doing their job but no one was doing the job. JoJo felt vulnerable as if she again got tangled up in the health care system all her worst fears might come true.

Once it happened in our family, I noticed it everywhere. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. The truth is that retirement interruption and the anti-bucket list comes for most families. It even comes for wealthy and loving families.

But what if there were easy steps families could take today, while everyone is healthy and independent, to actually avoid the anti-bucket list down the road?

What if when the nurse says Mom can’t go home, for example, you knew a professional to call to work with the hospital and coordinate the pieces to bring her home instead?

What if you could make the system work a little more for your family, instead of against it, all without overwhelming your life? That’s the promise and opportunity of an emerging industry called longevity planning. Now’s the time to look for a planner near you.

Scott Schill, a Northwest native, found his calling in longevity law after a searing experience advocating for his mom. As the Director of Longevity Law & Planning at S. R. Schill & Associates, and founder of Thrive Longevity Law, Schill believes that relationships are key to longevity. He lives in West Seattle with his family.

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Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 19

for Elder Health Care: Geriatricians Rx

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in January the world’s population surpassed 8 billion. Because of improvements in public health and advanced treatments for chronic disease, there are more people everywhere and they are living longer. In this century—and for the first time in human history— our planet is inhabited by more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 5.

And while this trend is good news for us older adults, it also poses some challenges, mainly because our bodies change as we get older. Our cells gradually lose some of their ability to ward off infection or other potential environmental damage, and aren’t as efficient in repairing or reproducing themselves when the need arises.

While aging itself isn’t a disease but is instead a natural process, it does make us more prone to develop certain chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, hypertension, heart and pulmonary disease, and dementia. The National Council on Aging reports that about 95 percent of Americans ages 60 and older cope with one chronic condition, and about 80 percent deal with two or more.

But biology isn’t the only way in which we elders differ

Having more of these specialized physicians is the best way to ensure the future health of all older adults. BY JEANETTE LEARDI

from middle-agers. Our emotional and social needs change with the passing of time, and often our goals change as we envision a different life purpose. We can also find ourselves affected by negative cultural attitudes and public practices that often marginalize us and present us with greater challenges in maintaining our quality of life.

Fortunately, specially trained doctors called geriatricians can help us navigate the landscape of our later years. What do they do and when should we consider consulting one for our care?

A Person-Centered Approach

“When I tell people that I am a geriatrician,” says Suvi Neukam, DO, assistant professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore., “it is not uncommon for them to assume that I only ‘help people die.’ Sure, death is a part of geriatrics, but goodness, there is so much more to the field of aging.”

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In addition to advising patients about hospice and palliative care, Neukam is responsible for helping them with the maintenance of their physical function and cognitive health, reduction of medications, care planning, and addressing their concerns regarding falls, bone health, urinary incontinence, and delirium.

“A 70-, 80-, 90-, or even 100-year-old is quite different from a 20-, 30-, 40-, or even 50-year-old,” she explains. “They are in a different chapter of life with different medical considerations, a different social context, and different existential questions and values.”

Wayne C. McCormick, MD, MPH, professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington and head of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, would agree. “As we reach advanced age,” he says, “there are natural changes in kidney, heart, and liver function that change the way medicines are metabolized and cleared. Some medicines may last twice as long in the body when you are 90 versus 55.”

He nevertheless clarifies that “a solid majority of U.S. citizens over age 75 are completely healthy and independent. Most do not need a geriatrician. When an older person in their 80s or 90s has multiple medical issues, cognitive and/ or functional debilities, and trouble with falls or sensory impairments, it’s time to consider a geriatrics evaluation.”

For her part, Neukam believes that geriatricians don’t invariably “do less” for their patients. Instead they “do differently” by considering how each patient’s personal values and goals interface with the medical condition at hand. And that often means doing more, not less, in terms of care.

Says McCormick, “We focus on patients with multiple problems and seek objectives that are practical, embracing the patient’s goals verbatim. If they want fewer meds, you aggressively work on that. If they want a house call versus a clinic visit, you do a house call. If they do not want life-saving measures if seriously ill, you adhere to that wish.”

Providing such person-centered care involves a different way of practicing medicine. Geriatric office visits are usually more involved and last longer than the average 15 to 20 minutes that most general primary care physicians spend with younger adult patients.

Unfortunately, this difference comes at a cost to doctors who choose to be geriatricians. Because their patients are on Medicare, which has lower reimbursement rates than those of commercial insurance, a board-certified geriatrician makes about $20,000 less than internists who see a wider age range of patients. This inequity can be a factor in discouraging many medical students with large student loan debts from

specializing in geriatrics. And this has resulted in a huge problem in elder health care.

Wanted: More Geriatricians

Currently, the U.S. has a serious shortage of geriatricians. In March 2023, a total of 7,300 physicians—fewer than 1 percent of all doctors—were board certified in geriatrics. Some public health experts estimate that our health care system should have more than 25,000 geriatricians to keep pace with the growing older population, and by 2030, we’ll need at least 5,000 more. Yet, according to the American Geriatrics Society, of our 183 medical schools surveyed in that same period last year, only 11 of them had full departments of geriatrics.

Low wages may not be the entire reason for this dearth of specialized training. Medical school students tend to encounter patients of advanced age primarily in hospital settings under highly stressful, acute circumstances, and may assume that there is little upside in treating people who don’t have much longer to live and therefore it’s futile to try.

Neukam reflects on the possibility that ageism might be at work. “Geriatrics is not prestigious. Is this a reflection of a lack of intergenerational respect in our society? Or perhaps an anti-aging mindset? Or a belief that medicine is only about ‘fixing’ and ‘curing’? I’m not sure.”

What can be done to grow the field of geriatrics to meet the needs of an ever-larger elder population?

Neukam suggests establishing new medical school loan forgiveness programs as well as increasing Medicare reimbursement and expanding its coverage to include “in-home care, caregiver support, long-term and memory

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 21
Looking for a Geriatrician? To locate a boardcertified geriatrician in your area, visit these websites: American Board of Internal Medicine www.abim.org American Board of Family Medicine www.theabfm.org Certification Matters www.certificationmatters.org Health in Aging www.healthinaging.org/find-geriatrics-healthcareprofessional (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)


nonpharmacologic treatment options, geropsychology, and hearing aids.”

McCormick offers an equally wideranging solution: “When all medical students receive comprehensive geriatrics training as part of medical school, we’ll be in better shape.”

There is an irony about the many negative perceptions of the field.

According to the American Geriatrics Association, “geriatrics ranks among the most satisfying health professions … [and] geriatricians ha[ve] the highest job satisfaction of physicians practicing in any subspecialty. Geriatrics health care professionals cite their encounters with inspirational older adults, the deep and meaningful relationships they develop, and the typically steady work hours as significant factors adding to their job satisfaction.”

“People of very advanced age bring tremendous wisdom to every encounter,” says McCormick, “if we’d only take advantage of it. It is profoundly satisfying to follow these patients on their final journeys, and to let them know you’re going to stick with them, no matter what.”

“We truly like spending time with elders, and in my experience, this sincere enjoyment is mutually felt in patient visits,” says Neukam. “Many of us would say, ‘The patients chose us.’”

Whether or not each of us seeks out the expertise of a geriatrician for our own care, one thing is certain: Geriatricians can have a promising future only if society chooses to care for them as well as they care for us.

Jeanette Leardi is a Portland-based social gerontologist, writer, editor, and community educator who has a passion for older adult empowerment. She gives popular presentations and workshops in journaling, memoir writing, ethical will creation, brain fitness, creativity, ageism, intergenerational communication, and caregiver support to people of all ages. Learn more about her work at jeanetteleardi.com.

22 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com H AV E Q UE S T IO N S A B O U T LE G A L P L ANN I N G FO R DEMEN TI A ? How does it work? R E A DY T O G E T S TA R TE D ? 425-780-5589 www.dementia legalplanning.org T H E DEMEN TI A LE G A L P L ANN I N G T E A M CA N HEL P Y O U MA K E P L AN S FO R T H E FU T U R E This p rogra m is f und e d, on b e hal f of t h e Deme n t ia Act ion Collabora t iv e , by t h e A ging an d Long - Te r m Suppo r t A d m inis t ra t ion/ D S H S Connect with us – by phone or online We match you with a volunteer attorney to guide you You complete Powers of Attorney for finances and health care, health care directives, and the dementia directive form No cost to you

Keys to Successfully Navigating YOUR FUTURE

For thousands of years our ancestors created and used maps to show where they were, where they wanted to go, and how to get home again. They also began to develop the skill of planning to ensure the safety of the trip—who to trust, what to pack, and how to protect themselves from hazards along the way.

Today, we have reached the point where our cell phones can immediately show us where we are and even what road to take to avoid traffic. We are at a place technologically where mapping and planning are built into our everyday lives, except in the very important aspect of successfully navigating our own personal voyage.

Our third act in life requires knowing the territory we face so that we can adjust our plan. It involves bringing together those whom you trust to assist on your journey and the development of your own personal map.

Understanding the Changing Dynamics

As an early “Baby Boomer,” I have experienced firsthand the impact our cohort of close to 73 million has had. We were the youth culture, we affected change in almost every aspect of our society, from clothing and lifestyles to attitudes on sexual behavior and global politics.

And while we chronologically change, the same long-held beliefs we had about changing the world around us are still valid. We will be the generation who reshapes and reconfigures how the older population is viewed, treated, and valued.

Our understanding of the territory ahead of us is affected both by the demographics (numbers) and the attitudes our society holds.

First the demographics. In Washington, the number of people age 65+ increased by 63 percent from 828,000 in 2010 to 1.35 million in 2022. Life expectancy in our state has now increased to 80.2 years. A real shocker was the 2020 Census Report showing that by 2034, for

the first time in history, there will be more Americans age 65+ than those under the age of 18. And, within six years, all remaining boomers will be over 65.

Now for the attitudes. I grew up in a family with stoic Scandinavian values where personal issues and feelings were rarely discussed. Dad worked and controlled all the finances. Mom stayed home and managed the household and I learned early not to ask questions about the home finances, the health of any relatives, or any truly personal questions. When Dad died suddenly at age 60, the family was thrown into chaos. Mom had no idea how to get into the bank accounts or safe deposit box to access the life insurance policy.

Many attitudes about financial and family issues have changed over the decades, but some of those old views have stuck with us. According to the Volunteers of America, more than half of the 45-65 year olds surveyed have not talked to their family about the care they want to receive as they age. They have not completed their will, or other legal documents needed to allow their family to make important medical or legal decisions.

An Important First Step—the 40-70 Rule

For all of us boomers, now is the right time to change family dynamics and stop looking at our individual aging as a solo journey. Instead, implement the 40-70 rule. This rule says that when the children hit the age of 40, or parents reach 70 years, it is imperative to begin the family discussions on aging options. Topics such as what do you want to do if you have a physical or cognitive impairment? Do you want to have support to live in your own home or to instead move to a care facility? Do this together, as a family, so the road map to the future is understood and supported by all.

Fred Nystrom’s media and publishing experience include starting a tabloid on outdoor recreation and growing it to a national circulation; a decade with Sunset magazine; publishing the Special Places travel guides, plus local magazines and contributing editor for a local newspaper. He is now focused on the issues and challenges of aging.

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Lifelong Learning Keeps Your Mind Young

There is an old saying: “You don’t stop learning when you get old; you only get old when you stop learning.” A few years back, I found myself aging (mentally) from a decline in learning and intellectual activity.

As a young man, I went to college and graduate school. After that I became a professor of mathematics. Throughout my career, I enjoyed teaching and learning. But after retirement, I slowly began to lose my edge—my learning instinct. I still read library books and the newspaper, but it wasn’t the same. Perhaps my mind was aging from my lack of intellectual stimulation.

As a man near 70, I didn’t feel comfortable taking courses at a local university or community college with students my grandchildren’s age. And I certainly didn’t want to cram for quizzes and tests. I just wanted to learn and be stimulated again.

Then I discovered the Creative Retirement Institute (CRI), a lifelong-learning program at Edmonds College in Edmonds, Wash., that has been around now for more than 30 years. It offers short, non-credit, college-level courses at a modest cost. The courses meet once a week and are between one and four weeks long.

CRI is not alone. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is associated with the University of Washington and offers similar non-credit courses to people over 50. These programs

have everything you loved about school—the excitement of learning, interesting professors/instructors, making friends with your classmates, and having fun.

Even better news, they have none of the things you hated about school. There are no term papers, no quizzes or examinations, no oral reports, no grades, no $200 books to buy, and no pressure. Basically, all the laughs and none of the tears.

So, I began taking courses at CRI in a broad gamut of areas, many of which I had never taken in college. I took short courses on the philosophy of science and existentialism, the physics of music, the geology of the national parks, the art museums of New York and Paris, the art of Georgia O’Keefe, and the history of America, China and medieval Europe.

I took courses on opera in Hollywood films, the birds of the Northwest, the history of jazz, the history of maps and mapmaking, political cartooning, conspiracy theories, the intertidal zone, trees and forestry in the Northwest, and the creation of the borders in the Middle East.

Again, no tests, just the pure fun of learning and meeting other intellectually curious adults, in courses taught by instructors very well versed in the topics they are teaching.

It was a thrill to be learning again. However, at some point, I asked one of the leaders of CRI, “Why are there no math courses?” The answer was simple. “Nobody has offered

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any; how about you, Howie?” So, if I was sincere in my quest to renew my intellectual stimulation, I needed to accept this challenge.

So I did. I wrote a proposal to teach a mini-course on the paradoxes of infinity. The trick would be to explain the subtleties of infinity in simple, understandable terms to intelligent, non-mathematicians. Also, I couldn’t stand and teach at a chalkboard as in the good old days.

I had to relearn PowerPoint and with it create more than 200 slides. And each slide had to have clear and vivid graphics. That required a lot of visits to the internet, especially Wikipedia, and various books on the topic. But that was the idea, to get my mind active again, and to be teaching in front of people again. And I’d like to think the older adults in my CRI “Paradoxes of Infinity” course found the very counterintuitive notions of infinity getting their minds active again.

After that I devised and taught a CRI course on visual mathematics, which involved topics such as tiling floors with shapes other than square tiles, spaces where there are no parallels, situations where coffee cups and donuts are the

same thing, why the coast of Norway is somewhere between one and two dimensions, and so on. Again, interesting counterintuitive material.

I then went on to create courses on “How to Lie with Statistics” (exposing tricks advertisers and politicians use with numbers), “The History of Zero and Other Numbers You Love,” “What We Learn from Big Data” and a course “About Time.” In all of these I knew the underlying mathematics, but there were still subtleties that were new even to me.

I was learning along with my retired classmates. Our minds were staying active and alert. And in that sense, we were staying young. Of course, we still had arthritic knees, but our minds were firing on all cylinders. And I thank the Creative Retirement Institute and all the other lifelonglearning programs for that.

Howie Silver grew up near Chicago and has degrees in physics and information engineering, as well as a PhD in mathematics. He is a retired professor of mathematics and computer science at Chicago State University. He moved to the Pacific Northwest to be near his children and grandchildren.

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This is Your Brain on Astrophysics

It’s never too late to learn more about the universe and how it relates to our everyday lives.

Why study astrophysics?

Simply put, it’s interesting and challenges the brain.

Many studies confirm that our brain has the ability to learn and grow as we age—a process called brain plasticity. But for it to do so, we must train and challenge it on a regular basis.

“Eventually, your cognitive skills will wane and thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve,” says Dr. John N. Morris, director of social and health policy research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging Research. “Embracing a new activity that also forces you to think and learn and requires ongoing practice can be one of the best ways to keep the brain healthy.”

Astrophysics is a complicated science. Not only do we learn about massive objects in the universe like stars, galaxies, and black holes, there are tiny quantum particles to study as well. The coolest thing about astrophysics is exploring universal questions: How did our universe start? What happened after the Big Bang? Where is our universe headed? Everything on earth is intimately connected to the sun, moon, and planets in our solar system, not to mention the quantum particles that govern every atom in our bodies.

Over the years, I’ve gained knowledge from books, the internet, and science programs on TV such as PBS Space Time hosted by Matt O’Dowd, and Complex Questions Answered Simply hosted by Arvin Ash. I’ve learned the most from O’Dowd, who has a PhD in

Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Melbourne and is an Associate Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Here’s a brief overview to get you started. Grab a dictionary or Google, put on your seatbelt, and get ready to learn and challenge your brain!

In the Beginning

When faced with complicated questions, it is always best to break them down into their simplest form. A famous quote by Albert Einstein states, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” In the beginning, moments after the Big Bang, our universe was very simple. It was a hot soup

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of fundamental particles and their antiparticles. Neutrinos decoupled one second after the Big Bang and traveled freely into space, creating the cosmic neutrino background. Scientist are now trying to detect these neutrinos at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is located at the South Pole.

Protons and neutrons formed from the fundamental particles and became hydrogen and helium nuclei. As the universe continued to expand and cool, hydrogen nuclei gained electrons and hydrogen atoms began to pair up, sharing their electron shells with opposite spin electrons. Much later in time, stars began to form, and our early universe developed black holes from supernova explosions of massive stars. Finally, galaxies formed around the black holes.

notes), with every mode appearing as a different particle in a specific quantum field.

The Ghosts of the Universe

Quantum Fields Forever

If you go even smaller than a particle, there are 24 different quantum fields that govern all the properties of our universe. The Standard Model of Particle Physics describes the most basic particles of the universe as six different quarks, six different leptons, and five different bosons, with each a particle in their own quantum field. One of the bosons called a gluon, carries the strong nuclear force and has a total of eight different quantum fields. One scientific theory, discovered by Italian physicist Gabriele Veneziano back in 1968, is called String Theory. Basically, it states that the fundamental particles of all matter are strings of extremely small scale, which vibrate at specific frequencies within a quantum field. The strings vibrate in different modes (just as a guitar string can produce different

Neutrinos continue to expand from supernova explosions and carry particles on a neutrino “wind” throughout the universe. Neutrinos are tiny particles traveling near the speed of light and are the second most common particle in the universe. A neutrino is similar to the electron except it is electrically neutral. Neutrinos are able to pass through matter almost undisturbed and are created as a result of decay and nuclear reactions. There are three types (or flavors) of neutrinos that oscillate between each type— electron, muon, and tau neutrinos. After a supernova, zillions upon zillions of neutrinos are released and carry heavier particles throughout the universe and make it possible for more complex atoms to form.

Tiny but Mighty

A neutron star is only about 20 kilometers in diameter, however it has way more mass than our sun. Neutron stars result from massive super red giant stars that would dwarf our sun. After these stars have finished burning their nuclear fuel, they undergo a supernova explosion. This explosion blows off the outer layers of a star and the central region collapses under gravity. It collapses so much that protons and electrons are crushed together and combine to form neutrons. If the neutron star is large enough, it will create a black hole and its light will disappear from the universe forever.

Obey the Laws

Through the study of astrophysics, the laws of nature are revealed.

By examining these laws and the particles that make up our universe, we can incorporate that information into our own lives and better understand our own reality.

Physicists Rudolf Clausius and William Thomson developed laws of thermodynamics back in 1860 that are still used today. The first law states that “energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, only transformed from one form to another.”

The second law states that “energy will always go from its highest energy to do work to its lowest ability to do work.”

Sir Isaac Newton developed the laws of motion way back in 1687, his most famous statement being that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Continuing Education

There are literally hundreds of books and programs online to learn more about astrophysics. The Hubble Space Telescope and now the new James Webb telescope have provided us with outstanding photographs and are unlocking the secrets of the early universe. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider located in Switzerland is unlocking the mysteries of the particle world, with the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. Now more than ever, scientists are learning the secrets of our universe and sharing it freely with all of humanity.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 27
Dale Bohm, advertising representative for 3rd Act Magazine , is a motocross racer, skier, athlete, closet writer, and citizen scientist. He has been curious about the universe his entire life and is a lover of neutrinos. He lives in Bothell, Wash.

I got rid of the albums. Several thousand of them. You can add your name to the list of those who counseled me: Hold a garage sale! Put them on eBay! They’re worth a fortune!

Yep, I told these well-meaning types, if I had the time and energy to devote, I might earn a little folding money. Sadly, I’m as old as some presidents but without the staff. My wife and I are focused on moving. Somewhere. To a small apartment, an assisted living space, to a location that can accommodate folks in old age. The specifics have not yet been determined, but none of the options advertise extra square footage for vinyl discs. Instead of a financial windfall for my records, I ended up paying someone to cart them to the Goodwill.

They can take my albums, but they ain’t getting my books.

I’m still reading and writing. Still collecting. (Don’t tell my wife. There is supposedly a moratorium on new book purchases.) On occasion, I have let go of various tomes. Disappointers that turned out to be less than their reputation would have it. I’ve shed some excess—I once felt it was necessary to collect an author’s entire bibliography. Salinger had only four published books—that was easy. John Updike wrote 60—that is a lot of shelf space.

I defend my decision to hang on to the 12 floor-to-almost-ceiling bookcases, plus a few modest hutches for the overflow. The approximately 200 feet of shelving supports a concept called “my library.” Again and again, these books have sent me into the world fortified with insights and bursting with questions.

Certain novels, Sophie’s Choice, for example, were so difficult to read, so sad, so real, so unsettling that they

ABibliophile’s Dilemma

took me ages to finish. I could only digest a page, a paragraph, a scene, at a time. Other fiction was impossible to put down. How could you read Slaughterhouse Five with anything other than a dedication bordering on obsession?

There are horribly written books in my library, but they are the best I’ve been able to find on particular subjects. I’m prone to zooming in on enthusiasms. My interest in exploited rock and jazz artists during the 1950s and ’60s got me looking for books about an assortment of unscrupulous record companies and singers like Jackie Wilson and Jimmie Rodgers, and musicians like Count Basie, all allegedly shortchanged by organized crime. I no longer own their records, but I hold onto the written accounts of the stories behind them.

Hold up any of my books and I can tell you what it’s about and how it found its way to my library. My set of Masterplots, purchased in the ’60s, came from the original Strand Book Store, when it was a mere corner shop at East 12th Street and Broadway in New York City. It offered books stamped “reviewer edition, not for sale,” and when I was a young teen, buying one felt akin to a clandestine transaction.

Long before you could locate copies of almost any book online, I spent years putting together the complete works of the better-known New Yorker humorists—Robert Benchley, James Thurber, et. al. Coming across Crazy Like a Fox, which completed my S.J. Perelman oeuvre, I took a deep breath, patted myself on the back, and went to work on E.B. White acquisitions.

While living in the West, I made regular runs to Acres of Books in Long Beach, Calif., comprised of three

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dusty, poorly lit warehouses containing endless rows of makeshift bookcases. I asked one of the elderly clerks there if he thought there might be any Maxwell Bodenheim books. Sure, he said, providing detailed instructions to the third warehouse, second row about halfway down, right side, top shelf, to the left. That’s how I got Duke Herring, Bodenheim’s 1931 novel.

One last bookshop reminiscence, though I could go on. I’m in Seattle on a rainy fall afternoon browsing my way through a secondhand bookstore. What a wonderful music system, I'm thinking. Amazing fidelity. I look up and find that the proprietor is at his upright accompanying my perusal.

When I think of Dickens, I recall attending high school in Massachusetts, our class sitting by a lively country fireplace, snow falling on the Berkshire Mountains, Mr. Allen reading from A Christmas Carol. My books conjure up sounds and friends and memories along with stories and ideas.

Aunt Lily gave me Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain for my high school graduation. Her present was so much more than 400-plus pages of information. It was an introduction to the author’s world, his life, his views. Boy did my aunt start a landslide. I’m one of Mr. Twain’s best customers. Often when I’m reading him, I hear my father. Dad read many books to me, including Tom Sawyer. I also hear the voice of Hal Holbrook, whose “Mark Twain Tonight” I attended during four decades of the actor’s stage transmogrifications into Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ alter ego. And Holbrook’s memoirs about becoming Twain—I have those as well as the letter I received from the actor in response to my note. Book collecting is expansive.

Certain works are masterpieces.

Hold up any of my books and I can tell you what it’s about and how it found its way to my library.

The sentences, the ingenuity, the juxtaposition of words and thoughts so brilliantly executed that I’m calling people to quote what I’m reading, emailing copies, returning to specific pages and paragraphs, underlined, of course, from time to time, because an author rouses my spirit, comforts me, or simply makes me smile and smile and smile as the years go by.

Walking into our living room, with eight bookcases lining a far wall, I know the place is alive with ideas that took thousands, perhaps millions, of hours to conceive and communicate. Many of the authors have died, but their thoughts, intentions, explanations, explorations, confessions, passions, conjectures, and questions still influence conversations I have when friends drop by. They also instill circumspection as I sit alone, book in hand, communing with a small portion of transmitted experience.

Sadly, the prospect that I’ll retain

my entire collection may be delusional. There are backup plans, strategies for preserving the essence of what I’ve built during 65 years of book collecting. Keep absolute favorite authors and discard the rest? Norman Mailer and Susan Sontag—do they go? Hang on to William Manchester, toss Stephen Ambrose? Perhaps only Booker- and Pulitzer Prize-winners? For a while I considered liberating a few categories. How about the oddball humor books like Richard Armour, Irvin S. Cobb. Max Shulman, and H. Allen Smith. Probably, I couldn’t give their books away. Should I? What if they ended up in the trash bin behind Half Price Books? How many copies of Don’t Get Perconel With a Chicken are left in this world? And, yes, that is the actual title. Could it be that I end up discarding the very last one?

My best backup plan seems to be to hire a skilled photographer to snap pictures of each bookcase. Clear, sharp images of my collection, full color, with those little mementos—theater tickets, bookmarks—filling incidental shelf space. I retain a hundred books and donate the rest of my collection to the community by holding a series of come-and-get-it open houses designed to place my books in the hands of other collectors. I find a craftsperson, service, printer, or commercial artist who can turn the pictures into lifesize wallpaper. Then, no matter where we end up, I can walk into our next residence and feel at home.

Based in Seattle, Charles E. Kraus is a writer, entertainer, and memory improvement teacher. Charles is the author of Baffled Again ... and Again, a collection of essays. His most recent book, You’ll Never Work Again in Teaneck, NJ (a memoir) is available in local libraries and on Amazon.

This piece was previously published in the Boston Globe.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 29

BILL KENNEY Being Part of the Afterlife of

It’s indecent to stalk the dead poet. I know that.

Bill Kenney, 89 when he died, was the spring breeze in winter. Dying of cancer, he joked dryly, waxed humbly in his haiku about the smallness of our earthly moments, which made him seem impossibly large standing all alone out there on the cliff edge.

family album

the stories we tell the camera

Robert Hirschfield is a New York-based writer and poet. He has spent much of the last five years writing and assembling poems about his mother’s Alzheimer’s. In 2019, Presa Press published a volume of his poems titled, The Road to Canaan. His work has appeared in Parabola, Tricycle, Spirituality & Health, Sojourners, The Moth (Ireland), Tears in The Fence (UK) and other publications.

From Kenney’s posthumous collection, Tap Dancing in My Socks (Red Moon Press/2022), that poem can serve as a field guide for much of his work. His four volumes, all from Red Moon, are dotted with wry anti-stories about ourselves, in which our array of posturings are sanded down.

happy hour

we don’t mention the cancer

I came late to Kenney, just as Kenney came late to haiku. He began writing haiku at age 72 (I started at 82.) We were octogenarians together wandering around New York at the same time. Had our paths ever crossed?

In his absence, they seem to cross every day, everywhere, especially when I am alone in the late hours of the night.

old photo the stranger I’ve become

Those moments in old age of feeling suddenly stranded. Feet not quite on the ground, but not yet under it.

There is a video of him reading from his first collection, The Earth Pushes Back (2016) in Santa Fe. Hairless, more or less, jaw slanted a bit, he read with a disarming simplicity.

“I have this problem,” he began, “you have it, too: How do you begin to write a poem when so many poems have already been written? How do you begin to write a haiku when so many haiku have already been written?”

Inclusive, playfully conspiratorial, he had the audience immediately in his pocket. The wise vulnerable father everyone wishes they had. He explained at one point how the haiku he was about to read got written. A “butterfly” haiku. The winged warhorse of the genre.

“At first I wrote, butterfly/ how long/ will I remember you. A delightful moment

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with the butterfly. How long will it last? But looking at it on the page, I wasn’t satisfied. The butterfly just seemed to be lying there somehow. Then I thought what I really wanted to ask is butterfly/ how long will you/ remember me.”

The poet’s concern with mortality culled gently from the unlikely subject of the butterfly. Seen from this unexpected angle, we get a deeply unsettling betrayal of our normal butterfly expectation of well-being. We get transformative insight.

“There was a tinge of mortality to whatever he touched,” Red Moon publisher Jim Kacian, remembers. “As though he knew his time in haiku wouldn’t be long.”

rainy autumn… the last time we did it a second time

An inadvertent “Ah” arises within me. I have arrived, with Kenney, at a mutual crossing point. Geriatric dating, where emptiness goes to fill itself with what has gone. Man’s last chance to play romantic roulette. What, I wonder, would Master Basho make of the geriatric dating haiku? Open to all sorts of strange experiences himself, he may well have been amused or bemused.

But his more parochial successors, wedded to the standard haiku nature poem, would no doubt have been scandalized. Having been where Kenney went, I know of the caution its risk management (lover at 80/ quietly/ wanna lie down?) requires. Kenney had the talent to turn amorous dross into haiku gold.

safe sex saying nothing I’ll regret

Or this: singles bar she tells him she always picks losers

His trade off—the aliveness of Eros contending against the blows of rejection on the lip of the grave.

The yawning space at the right-hand margin allows the reader a long pause to take it all in, to be the participant in what has been said or left unsaid, to relate and project his or her own story.

My projection was trying to imagine myself as Kenney, old and dying, but able to remain engaged and kind to the end. How to remain open while everything around you is closing down. prognosis terminal his favorite ice cream melts in the cup

The courage to shake off all illusions, to display quietly the little that remains in the poet’s punctured bag.

In the background always, his gentle ironic hum.

wind advisory I cut one more word from a haiku

With a little luck, it will land in my pocket. The man knew what he was looking at. He could winnow the genuine from the fake without making a big fuss about either. soft rain the way the oncologist says, “we.”

Bill Kenney, poet laureate of mortality.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 31

The Hard Truth About Dementia

The SMARRT Study’s Revelations are Just Smart Aging

In 1978, as I completed my residency and fellowship training and joined the University of Washington faculty, I had a dizzying array of interests.

Aging, and especially the aging brain and dementia, piqued my curiosity, although dementia research and care was clearly not then in the mainstream. Demographic forces portended we would need a lot more research to understand aging processes. The predicted growth of many persons living to advanced old age is now a fact of life. But in the late 1970s, dementia occupied the backwaters of academic medicine.

Back then, those who lived into their late 70s, 80s, and beyond and became impaired were typically seen as just experiencing old age or normal senility. Alzheimer’s disease was considered a cause of pre-senile dementia—described decades earlier in the rare, strange case of a middleaged woman.

Changing demographics predicted a “silent epidemic of dementia in the elderly.” A growing fear of dementia likely contributed to the explosion of interest in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias since the late 1970s— fueled partly by increased federal funding for research and awareness when a revered former president, Ronald Reagan, withdrew from public life with Alzheimer’s disease.

One recollection I have is of a poll asking doctors what disease they feared most. Many expected doctors might fear a

common killer disease like cancer or possibly a heart attack. The surprising result was that the disease doctors feared most was Alzheimer’s, now recognized as the most common cause of dementia. Today, ongoing research has vastly expanded what we know about the aging brain and Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

Many wish for a cure. Perhaps a vaccine that might eliminate the risk altogether, or a magic bullet that provides a cure for those who develop Alzheimer’s. Nothing like this exists today.

Vast amounts of federal and industry resources have supported science in search of that “magic bullet”—a pill to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s. One drug has recently been approved and another is expected to be approved soon. These drugs are designed to remove amyloid, a degenerative protein implicated in Alzheimer’s. They are expensive, have serious side effects, and do not actually cure or prevent the disease; rather they modestly slow the rate of decline in carefully selected persons. Some smart alecks say the best way to avoid dementia as we get older is to die young!

A smart—not a smart aleck’s—approach to epidemics like dementia is to find ways to prevent and reduce the risk for dementia as we age. Prevention research has focused on finding factors that increase risk for dementia, especially so-called factors that are potentially reversible or at least modifiable.

The Lancet Commission on Dementia— comprised of international experts—has produced two reports and is about to publish its third. The second report estimates that 35 to 40 percent of the risk for late-onset dementia is accounted for by potentially modifiable risk factors. The key words here are “potentially modifiable.”

Is there a better, smarter way to control this epidemic?

Might it be smarter to find ways to reduce risk by


discovering ways to make changes based on these “modifiable” factors and see if they actually work? A number of mostly international studies designed to reduce dementia risk have been published. One promising study, FINGER, or the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability, focused on nutritional guidance, exercise, cognitive training, social activity, and management of metabolic and vascular risk.

The dementia research field greeted the modestly beneficial results of the FINGER trial with enthusiasm. So-called miniFINGER trials were launched in the U.S. and around the world. Earlier research had failed to show cognitive benefits of efforts from changing potentially modifiable risk factors. FINGER provided a glimmer of convincing evidence supporting this concept.

A smart—not a smart aleck’s—approach to epidemics like dementia is to find ways to prevent and reduce the risk for dementia as we age.

A recently published report sheds more light on the prospect of modifying risk factors to reduce cognitive and dementia risk. The study known as SMARRT, or Systematic Multidomain Alzheimer’s Risk Reduction Trial, was released electronically Nov. 23, 2023, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine journal in January. As the first personalized intervention, SMARRT focuses on maintaining or improving multiple areas of function. This is done by targeting risk factors based on participants’ risk factor profiles, preferences, and priorities. The research team from Seattle and San Francisco who designed the study believed that a personalized approach was better than the one-size-fits all approach used in previous research. In a planning survey of 600 older adults in Seattle, we found that most were concerned about Alzheimer’s disease. They wanted to know their personal risk factors and were motivated to make changes to lower dementia risk.

The two-year study of 172 persons, ages 70-89, at elevated risk for dementia found that participants in SMARRT had a modest but statistically significant improvement in cognitive testing of 74 percent compared to the control group. Participants also had improvements in measurements of risk factors (145 percent) and quality of life (8 percent).

The SMARRT program involved participants meeting with a health coach and nurse followed by coaching sessions. Initial visits were in-person but due to the pandemic all sessions were switched to phone. In the sessions, risk factors selected

by participants were reviewed. Coaches and participants met once per month. Coaches offered advice and discussed progress toward goal achievement including tracking hypertension with a home blood pressure monitor, walking a certain number of steps each day, signing up for a class, and challenges to achieving goals. In addition to tracking progress participants could add new goals. The most common risk factors that were worked on were physical activity (95.1 percent), hypertension (76.1 percent), sleep (52.4 percent) depressive symptoms (45.1 percent) and social engagement (41.5 percent). The less commonly chosen risk factors (<25 percent) were risky medications, diabetes, and smoking. Compared to other trials of this type, the beneficial change in cognition, while modest, was greater. I believe the SMARRT results occurred because participants were motivated to try to avoid cognitive decline, were prompted to make personal goal choices, and were able to monitor and share their progress, including, for example, by tracking increased physical activity and monitoring blood pressure.

The SMARRT study results point to the “smart” approach for individuals and those working to reduce the impacts of dementia and cognitive decline in our communities.

As awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia has grown, more people have become motivated to find ways to promote cognitive health. The good news is that improvements of these risk factors also promote general health and well-being. Changes don’t have harmful side effects or the high costs associated with new drugs.

The distinguishing feature—what made the SMARRT study so “smart”—was that participants chose personal targets that resonated with their lives and values. They kept track of their progress, even moving on to other targets. Smart, SMARRT moves!

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. He was co-Principal Investigator of the SMARRT trial and formerly Vice President for Research and Healthcare Innovation at Group Health and Kaiser-Permanente Washington. With colleagues he cofounded the long running Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study in 1986. He continues research through the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and other projects. He has participated in The Lancet Commission on Dementia since its inception. With co-author Joan DeClaire he wrote the well-received book, Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long Active Life.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 33


“Exercise is the most important thing you can do to maintain your cognitive health.”
University Medical School/Aging Brain Center

Identical twins we’ll call Sarah and Susan posed a real mystery to researchers in England a few years ago. When exhaustive biometric measurements were taken, the sisters were discovered to be exactly the same in all respects. During their years in the study, however, Susan’s brain became smaller and unhealthy compared to Sarah’s. Susan’s smaller brain led, unsurprisingly, to reduced cognition and function, whereas Sarah’s larger brain continued to function normally. Susan also suffered from weakness.

In addition to their examination of physiological and cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure, researchers examined small details of the twins’ lives. The twins grew up in the same house, had similar diets, and attended the same schools. Both married at about the same age and had remarkably similar husbands and families. Their careers were also similar. Neither was subject to more stress in their life, and neither was exposed to unique

Walking can prevent cognitive decline.

environmental hazards. When they went back to reexamine their data in more detail, the researchers found only one small difference— Sarah had stronger leg muscles. There, at last, they found their answer: Sarah walked a lot and Susan was sedentary. That small detail was the deciding factor in their vastly different mental conditions as they aged.

The researchers conducting the study know a lot about twins. They are a part of the Twin Project conducted by the department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College, London. The project has, since 1992, studied more than 20,000 twins. Its mission, as stated on its website, is to “investigate the genetic and environmental basis of complex diseases and conditions to understand how genetic variation relates to human health.” The researchers have amassed a remarkable amount of genetic data.

How, you might ask, does leg strength relate to cognitive

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health as people age? According to Claire Steves, PhD, a geriatrician who heads the Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology department, brain imaging was done at the beginning of the study. Years later, when imaging was done again Sarah, the twin with the stronger legs, had more gray matter and more white matter with less empty space in the skull. “Looking at the X-rays, you don’t need to be a neuroscientist to see that the empty spaces are much smaller in the stronger twin than in the weaker twin,” Dr. Steves says. And most people will agree that you don’t have to be a neuroscientist to know that having empty spaces in your brain is a bad thing!

Why was Sarah’s brain larger? Because, when you walk, your legs pump blood to your brain delivering more oxygen and nutrients to feed your brain, helping it to function and thrive. The legs are sometimes called “the muscle pump” or “the second heart” because they have a system of muscles, veins, and one-way valves in the calf and foot that work together to push blood back up to the heart and lungs. The vein valves open and close with each muscle contraction to prevent the backflow of blood.

We all lose muscle mass and strength beginning around the age of 30 and progressing at approximately three to eight percent per decade. The rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60. This is why we all need exercise—to slow or prevent this decline. In the case of the twins, Sarah’s walking apparently protected her from at least some of these problems since she didn’t exhibit any symptoms of frailty and weakness. Susan’s lack of walking, on the other hand, resulted in muscle wasting (sarcopenia), which contributes to frailty and falls. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 25 percent of all Americans over the age of 65 will fall each year.

By her practice of walking, Sarah was not only supplying more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the brain, but also the moving blood caused profound changes in her body chemistry through a magical process called mechanotransduction. Don’t let that word scare you. If you can say mechanic transmission, it’s almost the same thing. Let’s just call it transduction.

When blood is flowing through your arteries, the blood cells create friction with the lining of that vessel, called the endothelium. The cells forming the endothelium respond to this friction by producing chemicals. It’s kind of like rubbing something to create static electricity, which is another kind of transduction.

What kinds of chemicals? Many helpful substances such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and anticoagulants. Walking also causes the muscles to produce several myokines, which are small messenger proteins that can help reduce the chemicals (tau and amyloid beta) that cause Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Marc Milstein, PhD, author of The Age Proof Brain, says, “Simply walking is really important for your brain health and people who walk 30 minutes a day can lower their risk of dementia by about 60 percent.”

“Physical activity such as walking can help you think, learn, problem solve, improve memory, and reduce anxiety or depression. It can also reduce your risk of cognitive decline, including dementia.” —CDC

According to Walking for Health, published by the Harvard Medical School, you can lower your blood pressure, fight heart disease, reduce the risk for diabetes, relieve depression, improve memory, and add healthy years to your life just by walking! Harvard advertises the booklet as, “The simple cure for the biggest health problem in America.”

Does this mean that you can delay or even escape cognitive decline if you just keep walking? Well yes, it probably does. It depends on your current health and age, any other medical conditions you may have, and how faithfully you adhere to the requirements of your walking routine. There are some requirements, of course. You should walk at least 150 minutes a week at a brisk pace of about 100 steps per minute. That’s about the tempo of Stayin’ Alive by the BeeGees, Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, or Walking After Midnight by Garth Brooks. You can walk 30 minutes a day for five days or 15, 10-minute sessions scattered throughout the week. If you really want to delay the cognitive effects of aging and stay mentally sharp, just do like Aerosmith and Walk This Way!

John Owen transitioned from life as a graphic artist/website designer to biomedical executive at the age of 61. After 20 years in the biomedical business, he now uses his knowledge of medicine and physiology to write about successful, vibrant aging. This is excerpted from his forthcoming book on superagers.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 35

When we are called to be caregivers

A Life In terrupted

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. —John

Few of us deliberately plan to become caregivers. We have lives, commitments, and passions that are important to us, all of which could be dramatically disrupted by a loved one’s illness, physical or mental challenges, or accident. While it might be difficult to think about how we would cope and provide care if the worst should happen, the time to consider it is now.

Susan Partnow’s life abruptly changed when she was 71 and her husband, Jim, received a diagnosis of laryngoesophageal cancer that required life-altering surgery. Then, two years later, tragedy again struck her family, and she added a new role to her plate—caregiver to a caregiver,

this time supporting her daughter.

At the time of Jim’s diagnosis, Susan was enjoying new freedom after leaving her job as a consultant in a health care system. For 18 months, she had been planning a service project about which she was passionate, leading a citizen diplomacy mission to Kashmir, India. Unfortunately, the trip was scheduled to begin just two weeks after her husband Jim’s surgery.

Technically, she and her husband were separated and lived independently of each other on different floors of their house. Yet Susan knew she was the one person in his life who could be his primary caregiver and that this was how she was being called to serve.

But what about India? She could cancel the personal portion of the trip. But 24 people were depending on her to lead the mission. She knew that

the surgery her husband was facing was grim, requiring the removal of his larynx (voice box) and the reconstruction of his esophagus. Even after the surgery, he would require months of rehabilitative care.

Susan said “yes” to caregiving and set to work to figure out how to lead the Kashmir mission before stepping into her new role. She was determined to make it work. “My whole being was clear—I needed to go.”

Unlike some of us suddenly confronted by complex events or tragedy, Susan had several assets going for her. She knew how to navigate the health care system and

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research appropriate care options for Jim, including rehabilitation hospitals. She had a strong network of friends she could ask for support. And she had developed many beneficial personal practices as a teacher of “Compassionate Listening.”

A plan for her absence emerged. Friends stepped up to help. One volunteered to “be Susan” in her absence. Jim moved into a rehab hospital the day before Susan's flight to India. But the move didn’t go smoothly. The weekend staff wasn’t prepared for the level of care needed to support a man who couldn’t speak and had a tracheostomy. And Jim was

scared. Hours before her flight to India, Susan held an emergency meeting with the rehab hospital director to try to improve the situation.

But when Susan woke up her first morning in India, she saw a text from Jim pleading, “Get me out of here.” Jim wanted her nearby. But she was thousands of miles away and had to rely on the friend she had left in charge, who was increasingly overwhelmed by the situation. Things did not go perfectly while she was away, but two and a half weeks after departing, Susan was back in Seattle in her new role as primary caregiver. The long haul of rehab began. Jim

could neither speak nor swallow and couldn’t eat on his own. After months of healing and speech therapy, Jim finally mastered his smartphone so he could text to communicate. Then, he learned to speak using an electrolarynx. (Sadly, he will always need a tube to eat.)

When he was finally able to return home, Jim required extensive care. Susan had to learn the mechanics of tube feeding with many messy mishaps. “I’m not a nurse, and I’m not good at feeding and wound care.” What she was good at, though, was finding help. Home health provided some. Other support came from


Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 37

(CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE) friends who visited Jim, walked the dog, and did tasks, thus giving Susan breaks.

Susan’s “Compassionate Listening” training helped her face a heartwrenching situation with more equanimity than many of us would have. She worked to have compassion for herself and Jim, and to practice returning to her heart, again and again, when challenges set her spinning. She could also ask the difficult questions some of us would avoid, like when she said to Jim, “Do you want to go on?” That question turned out to be a shocking wake-up call that helped him move forward.

Tragedy strikes again

Susan’s caregiving responsibilities would have been more than enough for most of us, but two years after Jim’s surgery, another tragedy struck the family. Her daughter, Jessica, and son-in-law, Kurtiss, were one

“Service is love and that’s what life is about. In that way, I have a purpose. I am needed. I am serving. I am both caring and feeling cared for.”

year into a happy marriage when he, at 38, had a catastrophic stroke. Kurtiss survived the stroke to face a life with disabilities affecting his mind, coordination, and movement. Impacted by severe ataxia, he can’t walk or coordinate his movements, nor can he sing or play piano, as he once had done so beautifully. His career as a software engineer is gone. Jessica must bring in income and continue her career in nonprofit management and journalism while trying to support her husband’s many needs.

It's hard enough to be a caregiver. But watching those we love bear the weight of caregiving is also painful. Susan saw her daughter’s load and

Your Vote Needed to Keep Long-term Care Benefit in Washington State

An initiative that threatens to eliminate the WA Cares Fund appears to be headed to the November ballot. Initiative 2124 would allow people to opt out of the public long-term care insurance program and would destabilize the funding it needs to succeed.

Seventy percent of adults 65 and older will require some assistance to live independently as they age. Still, most of our growing older population lacks the financial resources to pay for the care they need. While private long-term care insurance is an option, rising premiums make it too expensive for most, and many applicants are denied due to pre-existing conditions.

The WA Cares Fund provides flexible

stepped in to help. She became a caregiver to a caregiver, spending time with Kurtiss so that Jessica could have breaks, earn income, and have some life to herself. Susan visits her daughter’s place three afternoons a week to be with Kurtiss and take

and meaningful benefits, allowing families to choose the care setting and services that best meet their needs, including help with personal care, medical assistance, home modifications, and more. The benefit can also pay family caregivers to help offset lost income while they are providing care.

If I-2124 passes, Washingtonians will lose access to this affordable guaranteed benefit to help pay for the long-term care services and support they need.

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Caregiver Resources

• Sound Generations in Seattle offers caregiver support including “free, confidential and personalized services to unpaid caregivers residing in King County.


• The VA in Puget Sound offers support for caregivers supporting veterans. www.va.gov/puget-soundhealth-care/health-services/caregiver-support/

• King County Caregiver Support, a division of Aging & Disability Services for Seattle & King County, provides tailored support services addressing the unique needs of unpaid caregivers.

www.agingkingcounty.org/help-information/ caregiver-support/

him to appointments. “We’ve become great friends,” she says.

Susan is a lucky one. She has a strong community, a sense of purpose as a caregiver and activist, and well-developed inner practices. The need for care has stressed but not bankrupted her family.

Still, there are painful times when she asks, “Why were we so unlucky?” or “It’s unfair.” At those times, she tries to redirect her mind toward gratitude and appreciation, while reminding herself that dwelling in suffering and misfortune, however understandable, won’t help her situation. While Susan’s story is unique, it contains lessons for all of us who never know when we may be called to provide care:

1. Build your community now. Talk with friends about what you would do in an emergency and how you can support each other.

2. Develop positive mental health practices. Susan uses “Compassionate Listening.” You may use your faith or a meditative practice. Develop your resilience

• King County Senior Hubs provides support, outreach, connection, and opportunities for social engagement to elders throughout King County.

https://kingcounty.gov/en/legacy/depts/ community-human-services/adult-services/olderadults-caregivers/senior-hubs

• Washington State DHS Aging and Long-Term Support Administration offers caregiver resources. www.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/home-and-communityservices/caregiver-resources

• Eastside Friends of Seniors provides volunteer-based services to older adults facing the challenges of aging. www.eastsidefriendsofseniors.org/

before tragedy strikes.

3. Research caregiving resources in your community. What do people do when they need help? Are there care groups? Home health options? What rehab facilities are good? You may not need this information yet, but your preparation might also help another.

4. Be willing to accept support. When we are exhausted, overloaded, or depressed, it can be hard to ask for help. But caregivers deserve care. We can learn a lot about accepting help by discovering what supports others in our communities and then offering that help.

5. Don’t bury your grief and deep feelings. Therapy, grief counseling, caregiving support groups, books, and conversations can help.

6. Practice self-care. Go outdoors, walk, be in nature, and notice what brings you joy. Make a list of delights—or things you can do when life takes a difficult turn. You may need it.

The challenges Susan and her family have faced, however difficult,

have come with gifts. She and her husband have become closer, and she loves being connected and interwoven in the lives of Jessica and Kurtiss. Her life isn’t the one she expected, but Susan is grateful for what she has. Part of her path has always been service, and she has plenty of ways to serve. “Service is love and that’s what life is about. In that way, I have a purpose. I am needed. I am serving. I am both caring and feeling cared for,” she shares.

That’s not to say it is easy. Susan tries to have compassion for herself and others. “It’s the heartbreak I don’t like. That doesn’t go away,” she says. “There’s a deep river of sorrow under it all. And that’s how it is.”

Sally Jean Fox, PhD, is the author of Meeting the Muse after Midlife: A Journey to Meaning, Creativity and Joy, a writer, artist, and creativity and transitions coach. She lives on beautiful Vashon Island, Wash.

This story was made possible by funding support from AARP Washington and BECU. You can find more information, tips and resources for family caregivers in Washington state on their website at: www.aarp.org/caregiverswa.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 39

>Understanding AI—An Introduction for Life-Long Learners

>And a great soup recipe, too.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is everywhere. It has already woven itself into our daily lives, often without us even noticing. It’s like a helpful neighbor who quietly lends a hand. You might already be familiar with voice assistants like Siri or Alexa. They respond to your voice commands, play your favorite tunes, set timers, or tell you the weather. When you chat with Siri or “ask Alexa” to set a timer for your family’s favorite tomato soup recipe, you’re interacting with AI. These systems transform your spoken words into computer commands, triggering actions such as setting a timer. This process, seamlessly integrated into our routines and phones, happens almost like magic.

Lately, you might have heard about something called ChatGPT, stirring up discussions—and some fears— about AI and how this technology will be used. Should you learn how to use ChatGPT? Are AI systems going to take over? Here are some basics to help you better understand what AI is and—importantly—what it isn’t.

>What is “Artificial Intelligence?”

At its core, artificial intelligence is a branch of computer science focused on creating machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. These tasks can include understanding natural language, recognizing patterns, solving problems, and learning from experience. Essentially, AI is about designing smart machines that can assist and enhance our daily lives in various ways.

>A Game Changer

In late 2022, a company named OpenAI introduced a groundbreaking product called ChatGPT. Known for its remarkable ability to generate creative ideas and interact

with users, ChatGPT has rapidly become one of the fastest-adopted new technologies, reaching a milestone of 100 million monthly users within two months of its launch. Comparatively, Facebook took an estimated four years and six months to reach that many people.

When looking for information on a topic, most of us are comfortable using Google or a similar browser to search the internet. Google uses an algorithm to pull up websites with the information it deems most relative to your query, which you then need to sort through. Your favorite voice assistant—Siri is mine—is great for specific, straightforward tasks. ChatGPT, on the other hand, is a bit different. It’s like having a conversation with a knowledgeable friend who can discuss a wide range of topics in depth. These topics come from a vast amount of textual data that OpenAI scraped from the internet and various sources.

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What Can AI Do Today?

As a simple example, let’s use ChatGPT to help modify that tomato soup recipe. Here is our family’s favorite tomato soup recipe.

Tomato-Cilantro Soup

• ½-bunch finely chopped cilantro

• 1 medium yellow onion, small dice

• 1 tsp. minced garlic

• 1 tsp. cumin

• ¼ c. butter

• 1 c. white wine

• 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

• 4 c. chicken broth

• ½ c. heavy cream


• Sauté onions in butter in large soup pot until softened and a rich caramelized brown.

• Add garlic, cumin, and cilantro, and sauté for 3 minutes to combine flavors.

• Add wine, bring to simmer, and reduce (10-15 minutes).

• Add chicken broth and tomatoes and cook soup for 45 minutes.

• Add heavy cream and salt to taste. Serve hot with cilantro leaf as garnish.

Imagine you’ve planned a meal for an upcoming family get-together—in my case my famous tomato soup and grilled cheese—only to discover your adult child is bringing over a new sweetheart with a milk allergy. Now, your beloved tomato soup recipe—with its heavy cream and the classic grilled cheese side dish—suddenly becomes a bit of a puzzle. How to modify it while keeping all its satisfying yumminess? This is a perfect opportunity to consult ChatGPT, a tool that can help you adapt your recipe, and even suggest new food and drink pairings.

> How to Access ChatGPT

Google ChatGPT on your laptop or desktop to bring up the homepage. Next, create an account if you do not have one. Then ask ChatGPT a question, in this instance, “What can I use instead of heavy cream in my tomato soup to make it dairy-free?” And just like that, ChatGPT will suggest alternatives like coconut milk, or almond milk, keeping the creamy texture you love but without the dairy. Here is my question—called a “prompt” in the AI world—and ChatGPT’s response is below.

> What is Next for AI?

In the short term, the advancements made by technologies like ChatGPT and Microsoft are set to enhance the apps and software you use daily. For instance, Apple has hinted at plans to integrate Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT with Siri. This upgrade aims to make Siri more conversational and intuitive in its responses. You’ll likely encounter more sophisticated support bots, making online customer service more efficient and user-friendly. Furthermore, you’ll come across a great deal of online content that’s been crafted with the help of AI, offering you richer and more diverse information at your fingertips.

But beware, it will also make misinformation easier to create, so cross referencing articles with other sources will become a more important skill. Always double check where your information is coming from and never give personal or credit card information to strange chats or emails on the internet.

Beyond the information and communication challenges AI presents there is plenty to be excited for. Here’s a glimpse of what else we might expect from AI in the near future:

• Personalized Health Care: AI could tailor medical treatments and health advice to your specific genetic makeup, lifestyle, and health history.

• Smart Homes: Imagine your home understanding your preferences and needs, adjusting lighting, temperature, and even suggesting recipes based on what’s in your fridge.


Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 41


• Learning and Education: AI could provide personalized learning experiences, adapting to your learning style and pace, making it a valuable tool for lifelong learning.

• Community Engagement: AI might play a role in local community initiatives, helping to plan events, understand community needs, and even assist in local governance.

As AI continues to evolve, it holds the promise of not only making everyday tasks easier but also enhancing the quality of life in more personalized and meaningful ways.

>The Future of AI

As we look toward the future our children will inhabit, it’s fascinating to imagine how AI will continue to evolve and integrate into their daily lives. Here are some practical advances investors are exploring:

• Eldercare Robots—A New Era of Caregiving: AI-powered companions could provide a range of services, from basic household tasks to more complex medical monitoring. They could remind you to take medications, assist with mobility, or even provide company and conversation. The goal of these robots won’t be to replace human caregivers but to enhance the care provided, ensuring safety, companionship, and assistance round the clock. This could positively impact our already critical caregiver shortage.

• Automated Cars and Transportation that Redefines Mobility: The future of transportation is also set to be transformed by AI. Imagine a self-driving car that takes you to your destination safely and efficiently, without the stress of navigating traffic or finding parking. These automated vehicles could offer newfound independence and mobility, particularly for those who may not be able to drive.

Beyond personal vehicles, public transportation could also see a revolution with AI, optimizing routes and schedules, reducing congestion, and making travel more eco-friendly.

>Understanding AI’s Limitations

While it’s exciting to explore the capabilities of ChatGPT and similar AI tools, it’s important to keep in mind their limitations. Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT don't possess full awareness or understanding of the information they provide. They aim to generate the most likely and relevant response based on the data they’ve been trained on, but this doesn’t guarantee factual

accuracy in every instance. And as the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

Think of these AI models not as living, sentient beings, but as sophisticated mathematical programs. They process your questions and the context you provide, then produce an output that seems most fitting. It’s akin to a “Magic Mirror,” reflecting back an answer based on the input it receives. This means the way you frame your question or the additional information you give can significantly alter the response you get.

Remember, while AI can be impressively helpful, it’s still a tool—one that requires human guidance and interpretation to be used most effectively.

>The Dark Side: Will AI Take Over?

But what about the potential dark side of AI? Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, expressed his concerns at an Economic Times event in June. He was quoted saying, “What I lose the most sleep over is the hypothetical idea that we already have done something really bad by launching ChatGPT.” This statement—from one of AI's strongest leaders—reveals the ethical and societal implications that come with advanced AI technologies.

There are various predictions about AI potentially changing the world in negative ways. While these concerns are valid, it’s important to understand the context and the mechanisms in place to mitigate risks. Should we be worried about AI taking over? Let’s review some common concerns to understand the problem better:

• Job Automation: One common concern is that AI might lead to significant job displacement. While AI can automate certain tasks, it also creates new job opportunities and roles that require human skills and oversight. This will support global economies that expect a worker shortage for years to come.

• Privacy and Data Security: As AI systems process vast amounts of data, concerns about privacy and data security arise. It’s essential for AI development to be coupled with robust data protection measures. Data privacy governance and law continues to grow, led by the European Union, California, and others, to address this issue.

• AI Misinformation and Deepfakes: AI technology has already been used to create highly realistic “deepfakes”—videos or audio clips that can be misleading or deceptive. On January 9, 2024, The New York Times reported in an article titled, “No, That’s Not Taylor Swift Peddling Le Creuset Cookware,” highlighting a case where a deepfake suggested the

42 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

singer was promoting a cookware giveaway. This was not true, as an artificially generated version of Swift’s voice and likeness was used instead. This incident led to recent backlash when deepfake pornography of the celebrated entertainer began to circulate on X (formerly known as Twitter), causing outrage and prompting responses from the White House and SAGAFTRA.

Recent events like these underscore the importance of not taking online content at face value. For critical news and information, it’s essential to verify facts against a diverse mix of sources. Learning to recognize misinformation is a valuable skill for people of all ages. As AI continues to evolve, so must our ability to discern and critically evaluate the information we encounter in the digital world.

Control and Regulation: The idea of AI becoming too autonomous or being used for harmful purposes is a significant concern. Everyone in my generation remembers the autonomous war-bringing robots of The Terminator taking over their movie screens. Prevention of such nightmare scenarios necessitates clear regulations and ethical guidelines to govern AI development and use.

While these concerns are real, they also drive the ongoing conversation about how to develop and use AI responsibly. By staying informed and engaged, we can shape a future where AI is a force for good, complementing rather than dominating our lives.

Dustin Moore is VP of Technical Services at Wheelhouse DMG in Seattle, where he is currently exploring the opportunities and impacts of Large Language Models (LLMs)—a specialized type of artificial intelligence—and generative algorithms in health care and marketing.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 43 DISCOVER THE JOY OF LIFELONG LEARNING At the Creative Retirement Institute (CRI) CRI is a lifelong learning program at Edmonds College that has offered affordable classes for over 30 years. Classes are held in-person and online, with no tests or grades. Students come to classes for the enjoyment of learning. SUBJECT AREAS: • Art and Music • Health and Science • History and Current Events • Literature • Nature • Politics and Economics • Philosophy • Technology Please visit edmonds.edu/cri for current offerings. Contact us at 425.640.1830 or cri@edmonds.edu Edmonds College does not discriminate on the basis of race; color; national origin; sex; disability; age; religion; sexual orientation; citizenship, marital, or veteran status; or genetic information in its programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies: Suzanne Moreau, VP for Human Resources (Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator); Clearview Building, Room 122C; suzanne.moreau@edmonds.edu, 425.640.1647. Project Number: 23-24-254 IMMERSE YOURSELF IN NATURE
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On a bright November day in the year 2038, the family gathers to celebrate Bobby Fitzgerald’s 95th birthday. The temperature is in the upper 80s and the air quality is bad, so they gather in Bobby and Jasmine’s climate-controlled living room.

Bobby’s son Josh (70) and daughter Liz (75), “the kids,” are clearly excited as Bobby opens his gift card from them. As he carefully breaks the seal and pulls out the

enclosed card a shimmering, rainbow-colored message emerges. A female voice says, “Congratulations, Bobby! This is your ticket to immortality!”

After a moment of stunned silence, the room explodes with noisy shouts from Bobby’s extended family. “Oh, my God!” “Is that the thing where they create an avatar of you?” “Not an avatar, a freaking hologram. A hologram!” “Holy shit.” “Hologram of whom?” “That is so cool.”

44 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

“Of Bobby!” “I heard about that!” “No way!”

Bobby and his wife Jasmine exchange raised eyebrows. Jasmine gives Bobby a, “Well, I wasn’t expecting that!” expression. Bobby nods in agreement.

“Thank you,” Bobby says. “I think I know what this is, but what exactly does this mean—my ‘ticket to immortality?’”

With a dramatic flourish of his arms Josh announces, “We signed you up for an afterlife hologram service, IMMORTAL ME. You get to create a hologram of yourself that will live on, you know, after … you know… You’ll be immortal.” Then more quietly, to his dad: “We will all be able to be with you and talk with you whenever we want.”

“It’s a present as much for us,” explains Liz, “as it is for you. I mean all of us.” She gestures to everyone in the room. “And, we thought you should have the chance to work on it before you die, you know, so you can have some input about what information can be accessed.”

“You mean,” Jasmine asks, “you can create these hologram things after a person dies, without their permission? Is that even legal?”

“No, no! Josh answers. Well, . . . yes. The laws are kind of vague and unenforceable, but . . . it’s possible to create a hologram without permission, you know, after a person has died, but we wouldn’t do that. We want your permission in advance of . . . you know . . . and want you to have some input into the information the program has access to.”

“Some input?” asks Jasmine. “I’d want full control over the information. And don’t you dare create a hologram of me without my permission or I’ll kill you.”

“No mom,” both kids reply. “We would never do anything without your express (written) permission.”

Liz adds, “You should write specific instructions into your will or your advance directive. And I really hope you give us permission. It’s your legacy! It’s a way to keep you with us.”

Jasmine frowns and shakes her head. “I don’t know. I would not be me. I might just want you to keep whatever memories are in your head. Positive memories. You can forget the bad stuff. And make sure my hair looks okay.” She looks at Bobby. “What about you?”

“What kind of information are we talking about,” asks Bobby. “What kind of data does it use, or need to create

to . . . I guess, to recreate a reasonable facsimile of me? Is that what we are talking about?”

“Your hologram will be great, dad,” says Josh. “You have so much data to input.”

“The program uses any data that is available, anything you have produced and digitized,” explains Liz. “Anything that has been written or said about you.”

“You have written so much stuff,” Josh continues, “through your books, your articles, your newsletter. And you have so much writing that you never even show anyone. Right? Even to mom. It would be a waste if all those deep, profound thoughts were lost or forgotten.”

“Yeah!” Bobby rolls his eyes. “Great loss!”

“No, we’re serious, Dad,” says Liz.

“And all your podcasts and the videos,” adds Josh. “The hologram will be great at duplicating your voice, your gestures, your vocal inflections, your facial expressions. … You know, the funny slapstick movies you make.”

“No one’s very interested in my ‘profound insights’ now,” Bobby says. “Not even me. I don’t see why anyone would be interested in the future.”

“Well, you never know,” says Josh. “I mean … I’m too busy now, you know, with work and all, but when things calm down, you know, I might be curious about what Dad was writing about all those years.”

“And the thing is,” says Liz, “it’s not like your hologram is going to read us your full essays. It will pick and choose. I might ask you, ‘Hey Dad, what made you change your thinking on spirituality?’ And it will give me a little summary of your early writing on the subject, then summarize your more recent stuff, and give me its best guess about why your ideas shifted. You know how Chatbots work, right?” Bobby nods. “So, it would be like talking to you.”

Liz looks down, spins away, grabs a tissue, and blows her nose.

Bobby reaches toward his daughter. “Come here.” Bobby stands and they give each other a big, long hug.

“I love talking with you. I’ll miss that,” Bobby whispers.

“I know!” Liz takes a deep breath. “Me too. That’s why, I thought … I wanted …” Bobby gives her a big squeeze and a kiss on her forehead.


Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 45


“Will the hologram be as silly as the real papa?” asks Lara, Bobby’s great granddaughter.

“I’m not silly.” Bobby feigns shock at the accusation. “Who said that?”

“Me!” Little Lara puts her hands on her hips and gives Bobby her famous snake-eye look.

Bobby wags an accusing finger. “You are the silly one.”

“No, you.”

“I am never silly, never have been,” says Bobby, as he grabs Lara and tickles her into screaming submission.

“The hologram won’t be able to give us a real hug, or tickle us, right?” Jasmine asks.

“Isn’t it expensive?” Bobby asks. “It’s too expensive.”

The family responds in chorus. “We all chipped in.” “Prices have really come down.” “You are worth it.” “Yeah, immortality doesn’t come cheap!” “It’s an investment in our future.”

“Is it available to everyone?” Bobby asks as he looks around the room. “How long would I—would the virtual me—last?”

“You could be immortal, Dad! Forever!” Josh shouts. “And the hologram program would be available to all of us. It’s cool. You could be in two places at the same time, or more.

“Your hologram program will live for as long as coming generations decide to renew the license agreement.” Liz finds this part a bit awkward. “There’s an annual fee that is renewed automatically, until …”

“Until someone decides to finally pull the plug,” Bobby says.

“If you don’t want to do it, Dad,” says Liz as she reaches for the card, “we can cancel and get a refund.”

“No. I mean, it won’t matter to me. Right? I’ll be dead,” says Bobby as he holds the card against his chest. “And, frankly, I’m vain enough to want my ideas—the few good ones—to live longer than my body, and possibly have some small influence on,” nodding to the grandkids, “your grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

“Yeah. We’ll program your hologram to spout only pearls of wisdom. None of the nonsense,” says Josh. “No, seriously. It would be nice to have your advice and even just, you know, to hear your voice, and …

Liz picks up the thread, “and you’ve said there are so many questions about your mom and dad you never

got to ask. The avatar would give us a chance to ask you questions we didn’t—our couldn’t—ask while you were alive.”

“If you guys really want it …” Bobby says with a shrug and smile.

“We do.”

“Jasmine?” Bobby looks to his wife.

“Sure. Your choice. It might be good for a laugh every now and then. I’m planning to outlive you, by the way, so who knows, I might miss you from time to time.”

She turns to the kids. “Can it be programmed to focus on the best sides of his personality? Can we dial up the tenderness and dial down the cynicism, for example? Cut out the stupid jokes and the stories I’ve heard a million times?”

“I think you kinda get the full package, Mom,” says Josh. “But I could turn this hologram thingy on and off when I like, right?” asks Jasmine. “That might be refreshing.”

She leans over and gives Bobby a kiss and a pat on the cheek.

“So, it’s a yes,” asks Liz. “You want it?”

“Yes. I want it.”

As the family applauds, Bobby says in a whisper to Jasmine, “The irony is that I won’t be able to experience my own immortality.”

Michael C. Patterson had an early career in the theater, then worked at PBS, developing programs and systems to support the educational mission of public television. Michael ran the Staying Sharp brain health program for AARP, then founded MINDRAMP to continue to promote physical wellbeing and mental flourishing for older adults. Michael currently explores these topics on his MINDRAMP Podcast and his Synapse newsletter. His website is www.mindramp.org.

We used the AI program DALL E from ChatGPT to create the illustrations for this—perhaps, not so far-fetched—future story. The prompt we used was: "Create a photorealistic image of a holographic older man with vibrant prismatic colors overlaying his features. He appears translucent and is surronded by a live family." Voila!

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Que Sera, Sera

The futility of trying to figure out what lies ahead.

When I was nine or 10 years old my mother was ill and my father was having a hard time keeping our dairy farm going. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was alone in the barn doing chores.

As always, I had the barn radio turned to a station that broadcast music so I could have company while I worked. I didn’t really listen to the songs, but rather used the sound to keep my fear and anxiety at bay. I remember I had just finished sweeping the walkway when I heard these lyrics being sung by a female singer: “Que sera, sera. Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera, sera.”

I don’t know why those words resonated so deeply with my pre-adolescent self, but I felt something change within me. It was as though she was singing directly to me, telling me not to let all the uncertainty about the future weigh me down. I didn’t have to be the one to try to fix what was happening with my family.

As I think about this sentiment now, I’m trying to figure out if the song is telling us there’s nothing we can do to change the future. Are our fates unalterable? Must we resign ourselves to being at the effect of forces over which we have little or no control?

In the Christian scriptures, in the book of Matthew there are teachings referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. In it, the teacher goes on at length about the futility of trying to figure out what lies ahead:

“... do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear…do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

The lesson isn’t to be lackadaisical about living and planning for tomorrow. The teaching is about what, in this religious context, is referred to as striving for the Kingdom of God. To put it in more universal terms, it means being so centered that one is not buffeted about by what is happening around one or in the world. In this calm state we will be directed to take those actions that will most benefit us, while also contributing to the greater good.

Similarly, in yoga philosophy and Buddhism there is the concept of dharma. It is believed that there’s a preordained or correct way for each person to live their life. We all have a purpose or mission that is predetermined and it is imperative for us to live within this path. In the Bhagavad Gita it is taught that it is better to live one’s own dharma poorly than to do another’s well.

By living in the right way, we will find that we are on the path leading to self-realization and enlightenment.

Trust yourself. Listen to the voice within. And remember, “Que sera, sera.”

Stephen Sinclair holds a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago and is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. He’s been a pastor and chaplain in a number of churches and hospitals in the U.S. and has worked with the homeless. He lives on Capitol Hill in Seattle.


A Path to the Future

The PS2P— a 200-mile trail for us all

Two days before the winter solstice I drove from my home in Columbia City to Capitol Hill to meet Steve Durrant at the Tailwind Café, which is tucked inside the Good Weather Bicycle & Repair shop on Chophouse Row, a cozy alley of restaurants and shops just off Union Street in Seattle. I would have taken the light rail, but I was picking up prescriptions for my 90-year-old father right after our meeting, I had a Christmas-related errand to do in the University District, and a cold December rain was settling into a steady pour. I didn’t mention any of this to Durrant, who bicycled to the café from Fremont and arrived looking barely touched by the rain.

In 2015, Durrant was named a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects—one of the organization’s highest honors—in recognition of his exceptional contributions to transit, park, greenway, and on-street bikeway design. He was just about ready to retire after “a first and second act doing stuff that I really loved,” when a third act project he couldn’t resist came along—the Puget Sound to Pacific (PS2P for short) Trail. When completed, the 200-mile trail will stretch from three different starting points—the Bainbridge Island, Kingston, and Port Townsend ferry docks to La Push on Washington’s Pacific Coast. The goal is to “build a fullservice, multi-use trail, at least 10 feet wide, with grades accessible for ADA (American Disabilities Act),” says Durrant. In other words, to make every one of those 200 miles accessible to all. Many sections will have unpaved shoulders for people who prefer to walk or run off pavement, and some segments will include parallel equestrian trails. There are 100 miles of 34 yet-to-be-connected gaps needed to complete the full 200-mile trail.

There are lots of people like me in the Northwest who love to walk or ride a bike, but regularly lame out. Durrant has devoted much of his career to encouraging us to change our habits, not by scolding or lecturing but by designing good routes and trails for the likes of you and me.

The first 100 miles came about through decades of hard work by the Peninsula Trails Coalition, whose signature project is the Olympic Discovery Trail from Port Townsend to the Pacific Coast. The coalition’s work caught the eye of the national Rails to Trails Conservancy, whose mission is to create the coast-

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Derek Kilmer and Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell endorsed the project. The grant was secured. And Durrant put off his retirement.

“It wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Steve,” says Barbara Trafton of the Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails Foundation, a partner in the PS2P project. “He brings his passion and expertise. He thinks so creatively about how to make things happen.” Durrant, she adds, is fearless about “totally changing the map permanently. I mean, once these trails are in place, they’re there forever.”

“This has been an opportunity to continue doing what I love to do,” says Durrant, modest to a fault, whose career includes developing a bicycle master plan for the entire city of Seattle. “There’s a big part of it that’s selfish because I’m a cyclist,” he says, “and part of it is altruistic—for people I know, and future generations.” But what really drives Durrant are projects that encourage a healthier, active lifestyle and contribute to societal greater good. He shares that “even as a kind of lifelong advocate and nerd in cycling, when we started doing research into the health benefits of cycling, and

active transportation such as safe trails and routes for walkers, runners, and cyclists, “the resulting increase in physical activity translates into a host of chronic disease reductions, ranging from cardiovascular disease and diabetes to depression and dementia.” What this can mean is better physical and cognitive health in later life.

To Frank and Durrant, the health benefits of trails are every bit as important, if not more important, than the access they give us to the beauty of the natural world. Though that’s certainly an undeniable benefit. When I asked Durrant about his own favorite stretch of the PS2P, he described it this way: “One of my favorite spots is Lake Crescent, where the Olympic Discovery Trail passes through the forest parallel to the Sol Duc River. It zigzags back and forth, and there are places there, maybe 20 miles, where the trail is like a cathedral.”

Trafton also named the Sol Duc/Lake Crescent stretch as a particular favorite, although she loves the Bainbridge section, “because it’s home,” and because it will have a huge impact on Bainbridge life. Six of the

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S t r a i t o f J u a n d e F u c a H ood Canal S a l i s h S e a K i t sap Pen i n s u l a P u g e t S o u n d O l y m p i c N a t i o n a l P a r k H urricaneRidge GreatAm e r i nac Rail-Trail Olympi c D i s c o v e r y T r a i l O l y m p i c D i s c o v er y T r a i l Olympic D i scov er y T r a i l Sound to Ol ym pi c s T r a i l
La Push Forks Townsend Poulsbo
Port Angeles Edmonds Sea le Bainbridge Island Port L a ke C r escent Kingston Port Ludlow Port Gamble Suquamish Bremerton Blyn Olympic Discovery Trail Sound to Olympics Trail Complete Planned (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)
Photos on page 48 clockwise from top left: Judy Willott on the trestle at Morse Creek (Photo by Don Willott); Steve Durrant with Derek Kilmer after the grant was announced. (Photo courtesy Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails); Winslow connector at Winslow Ravine Creek on Bainbridge Island. (Photo by Don Willott); Steve Durrant (Photo by Peter Kelly)
Puget Sound to Pacific Trail


island’s seven schools are close to the trail; pedestrians and bicycle commuters like her will be able to make use of it, too. “It’s really so gratifying,” she says, “to see this map changing and to know that this is a gift that will last long after I’m gone. Hopefully, other people will carry it on. I’m just so intensely grateful to Steve for coming out of his recent retirement and wanting to connect with people to make it happen.”

Professor Frank, who coined the term “walkability,” concurs. “Steve understands the politics and the dynamics of what it takes to get stuff like this built,” he says. “He has decades of experience overseeing the development of active transportation plans. He has both background and understanding of the research, but he’s also got that practical project-based experience.”

Durrant has all of those qualities. But he’s also been on this path, pardon the pun, all his life. He grew up in Minneapolis/ St. Paul, where people bike year-round. In the snow. In sub-zero temperatures. He rode his bike to elementary and high school.

As I listened to his stories of winter biking in Minnesota (and in Oulu, Finland, known as the winter cycling capital

The Puget Sound to Pacific Collaborative is an initiative of the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation, the Peninsula Trails Coalition and the North Kitsap Trails Association. The PS2P is not a single trail, it is a network of trails that includes the Olympic Discovery Trail, the Sound to Olympics Trail and several community connections.

of the world—not only a favorite place of his, but also not far from where half my ancestors came from), I felt more and more sheepish about my compelling “reasons” for driving to the Tailwinds Café for our interview. But I also felt inspired. Durrant’s enthusiasm is infectious, in a low-key, Minneapolisborn, Finnish-friendly way. I’d like to be part of that statistical story of improved health via active transportation.

And I look forward to biking that section of the PS2P that goes through the cathedral forests surrounding the Sol Duc River. When I do, I’ll take a moment to think about what Trafton said—what a gift this remarkable trail is to the bikers and hikers of the future who will get to enjoy it too, whose health and well-being will benefit from the PS2P long after the people who worked so hard to make it happen are gone. Long after Durrant came out of retirement and changed the map.

Ann Hedreen is an author (Her Beautiful Brain), teacher of memoir writing, and filmmaker. Ann and her husband, Rustin Thompson, own White Noise Productions and have made more than 150 short films and several feature documentaries together, including Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer’s Story. Ann is currently at work on a book of essays and is a regular contributor to 3rd Act Magazine.

50 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com
Puget Sound to Pacific Collaborative volunteers with Governor Jay Inslee at a Rails to Trails Luncheon in Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center Hall. From the left are: Barbara Trafton, Gov. Inslee, Jeff Bohman, Don Willott, and Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails Executive Director Mary Meier (Photo courtesy Bainbridge Island Parks and Trails) Ian’s Ride Sea to Sound arriving at Port Townsend. (Photo by Don Willott)

Personal Trainer Advises Us to Get Stronger for Better Balance

More than one in four older adults falls every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, most falls are preventable.

Strength and balance training is one of the CDC’s top recommendations for preventing falls. I have witnessed my personal training clients achieve significant improvements in their strength and balance, reducing their fall risk and enhancing their quality of life.

Real People, Real Results

For Jack, 81, our workouts helped him play his best tennis ever. We practiced forward and lateral balance, enabling Jack to move around the tennis court with confidence.

Janet, 69, aspires to hike every in trail in her guidebook, 100 Classic Hikes: Washington. Our workouts provide a safe environment to practice walking on unstable surfaces. We use a balance pad, BOSU ball, and half-round foam roller to simulate the uneven terrain of her planned hikes.

Melody, Dave, Gary, and Lesley, ages 60-72, have formed their own exercise group to motivate each other. I’ve witnessed increases in their strength, along with the ability to perform increasingly challenging balance exercises.

Balance-Improving Exercises

One way to assess balance is the single-leg stand. Stand on two feet behind a sturdy chair, then lift one foot off the floor. Count the number of seconds you can hold this position before putting your foot down. Once you can hold it for 20 seconds, you can progress by closing your eyes.

Remember to perform all exercises described here safely. Stand behind a chair or within arm’s length of a wall so you can steady yourself if necessary.

To improve dynamic (moving) balance, I like the tightrope walk. Walk forward in a straight line using a heel-to-toe gait, like walking a tightrope. To make it easier, instead of walking heel-to-toe, take longer steps for increased stability.

Lateral balance is also important, for example, when getting out of a car, or when stepping sideways to avoid an obstacle in your path. Try the box drill—step sideways into an imaginary box, one foot at a time, then step back out again.

Down But Not Out

One study on balance training for older adults theorizes that falls are most likely to occur when our attention is divided.

A client in his 80s was on a sightseeing walk with his grandchildren when he tripped and fell over a crack in the sidewalk. He told me that he’d been so focused on enjoying the scenery that he forgot to watch where he was walking. Fortunately, he was unhurt. He had been doing strength training consistently and I believe this helped his bones, muscles, and joints overcome his fall.

The study recommends that balance training should incorporate dual- and multi-task exercises. Try this: Stand on one leg while performing a weighted bicep curl with one arm.

Better balance is achievable. Many exercises require no special equipment. As a personal trainer, I recommend a regimen of strength training and balance-specific exercises for reducing fall risk and improving quality of life.

Mike Harms owns a personal training studio in Edmonds, Wash. He is certified in training older adults. Learn more at http://www.mhfitness.com.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 51 KEEP MOVING
Dave performs a bicep curl while standing on one leg. His right hand is close to a rail so he can hold on for safety if needed.

Planning a Remarkable Next Act

Seven years ago I wore a black suit and pearls and rushed off to my hectic, demanding job in corporate America. I relished the contributions I felt I was making around the world as an environmental scientist—and life was good—but I was ready for a change.

I’ve never liked Webster’s definition of “retire” —retreat, recede, or my least favorite, go to bed.

I knew I didn’t want to do any of that! Instead, I adopted the term “next act” since it had the ring of unlimited options, action, and third, fourth, fifth, and many next acts to come.

As a scientist, I’ve always been methodical. To help me plan my next act, I turned to a Project Management approach with five phases:

1. Identify a personal vision and core values

2. Select alternatives that match core values

3. Develop a plan for the preferred alternative

4. Execute the plan

5. Operate and Evalutate and cycle back to Phase 1 if needed

I rushed through Phases 1 and 2 and selected the Peace Corps as my Phase 3 preferred alternative for my next act. Filled with idealism in high school, I’d wanted to join the Peace Corps since watching President Kennedy announce it on our black-andwhite TV. Now, my noble purpose still aflame, I discovered there was a Senior Peace Corp for the older set with one-year professional positions. Within nine days of leaving my corporate job, with Phase 4 full steam ahead, I found myself in Palau,

Micronesia, with my somewhat reluctant husband.

Months passed and it wasn’t going well. The Peace Corps had underestimated our financial needs in a developed country like Palau. We hovered in the lowest rung of society, with a lack of respect, and hardships and ostracism that go along with poverty in a wealthy country. Setting up a score card in Phase 5 to evaluate my next act, it flashed yellow (trouble) and red (failed) against my core values as the criteria. Accepting defeat, we resigned and headed home.

Though disheartened and depressed, the great thing about my Project Management approach is that it’s a cycle, with the chance to start over. This time I labored over my vision statement and altered several of my core values, reminding myself that corporations spend years developing these.

I dug deep to find a long-lasting and overarching personal vision statement. I used the word “create” in my vision to emphasize devoted intention—that whatever happened in this phase of life was up to me and would involve continuous thought and improvement. Moving on to core values, I defined them as what we believe in, need, and rely on as guiding principles for our lives. To make them rich and honest, even at times when it wasn’t pretty, I asked myself not what I wanted to do in my next act, but who did I want to be? My husband weighed in much more this round, ensuring a better outcome as a team. This was an opportunity to regrow our relationship, love, and support for each other.

The result:

Vision: Create a remarkable next act.

Core Values: Noble purpose, authentic self, freedom/adventure, valued, romance

With this update, again using my core values as criteria, the data pointed to a new alternative: Teach science in schools in Mexico. When we’d worked through the phases and evaluated, our scorecard came up all green (success)!

This was not the final act for me. After Mexico, I pursued other alternatives, always with my vision and core values leading me to the best choice. I’ve started a business, become a public speaker,

52 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com MY THIRD ACT

and certified career and retirement counselor, written two books, and made time for adventure and romance with my spouse.

A Project Management approach works for me, going on multiple years now. I might crash, but I’m ready to try again. My next act is not just one activity that solves everything but is a series of explorations—an ever-changing and dynamic journey.

From my experience, I recommend that we develop our personal vision, find our core values, include key stakeholders (your partner, kids, friends) in our decisions, and take some risks in testing alternative ventures. We can use our core values, continually improving them, to define what a remarkable next act means to each of us. Let’s treat this period of life as an adventure in exceptional learning and personal growth that we might not have had since childhood.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 53
Lucinda Jackson, a PhD scientist and global corporate executive, is the founder of LJ Ventures. She is also the author of two memoirs: Just a Girl: Growing Up Female and Ambitious About Succeeding in Tough Work Settings and Project Escape: Lessons for an Unscripted Life, A Story of the Challenging Transition from Career to Retirement. Learn more at: www.lucindajackson.com. Clockwise from top left: Teaching Biology in Mexico; speaking at Book Passages in San Fransisco; working with the Hatohobei tribe in Palau for the Peace Corps, With husband in Palau, Micronesia.

spring forward

Western Washington’s Public Gardens Awaken

I’d never been to the (Seattle) Arboretum this early in the year, but it was worth a try. What I found was like the earth giving birth everywhere I turned. I’m not sure if this was coincidental or an act of a higher force, but the day I visited the Arboretum was the same day my daughter gave birth to my newest grandchild. —Margot Kravette, “Looking for Spring in the Arboretum” (March 20, 2021)

Spring is glorious in Western Washington. Days are longer. The temperature is not too cold or too warm. Hints of color start whispering through leaves and grass after a season of grey and rain. Birds, returning from their southern winter vacations, fill the air with song. The feel of warm sun reflecting on our skin brings joy. It’s energizing just to be outside. And spring is, without a doubt, one of the best times of the year to explore Washington’s beautiful public gardens. Here are some I recommend:

Washington Park Arboretum

The Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle has 230 acres of woodlands, wetlands, gardens, and walking trails. With more than 40,000 plants and trees, it is one of the most diverse and important plant collections in North America. I was not prepared for the many colorful displays when I visited so early in spring. Buds were abundant and some of the early bloomers— camellias, magnolias, and rhododendrons—were out in force. There was just enough blooming to hint that within a few short weeks the Arboretum would explode with color.

Washington State Capital Campus

Many people are not aware that the Washington State Capitol campus in Olympia is so much more than just a single building. It is one of the most beautiful public gardens in Western

Washington. In addition to multiple governmental buildings, it boasts manicured gardens, green zones, ponds, fountains, parks, trails, and 18 major art installations—many recognizing important historic events in our state along with national history. The campus website includes helpful resources on visiting and for tours. For example, you can find a list of all of the different types of trees along with a map of where to find them. There is so much to discover there.

University of Washington Campus

A springtime year-after-year favorite is seeing the University of Washington cherry blossoms at their peak. Strolling through campus you’ll know you’ve reached the right place when you are suddenly struck with an explosion of soft pink blossoms and bright green grass. UW’s 30 Yoshino cherry trees are in peak bloom for a two-week period in March. Many visitors are Japanese, whose culture has long celebrated cherry blossoms— known as Sakura—as they are a symbol of renewal.

Bloedel Preserve

Long before the Bloedel Reserve was created, the Suquamish

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People—People of the Clear Water—sustained the land for thousands of years. Virginia and Prentice Bloedel purchased the land in 1951, and Prentice spent much of his 30 years there sculpting the land—later donating it to the community and establishing a nonprofit to support its ongoing operation. The long path through a vast meadow begins a meandering walk through formal gardens, woodlands, ponds, and extensive scenery. Together they create a medley of landscape experiences—a tribute to beauty and nature that elicits marvel, curiosity, admiration, and awe.

Point Defiance Park

I always associated Point Defiance Park with its zoo and aquarium. But that’s not all there is. The 700+ acre park has multiple gardens including the Rose, Lilly, Fuchsia,

and Dahlia Gardens, the Rhododendron Garden, and the Japanese Garden. The early bloomers in the Rhododendron Garden were just starting to come in when I visited in late March. The vibrant rain-fed moss and ferns on and around the trees look like hand-woven lace in open, web-like patterns. There are walking paths and hiking trails to explore, the Owen Park Beach, and the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. A five-mile, one-way drive weaves its way through the park’s soaring old growth trees— a reminder that they have been around a lot longer than we have.

Harriet Ann Jacobs, a writer and abolitionist in the 1800s, said in her autobiography, “The beautiful spring came, and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”

I wholeheartedly agree.

Margot Kravette is a retired health care leader whose longtime hobby has been travel photography. She has captured creative images around the U.S. and abroad. Her most recent work can be found at https://InspiredJourneys. live. Her photos are also on display at three King County, Wash., bus shelters.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 55
Clockwise from top left: Fountain at Washington State Capitol in Olympia; cherry blossoms starting to bloom; Camilla bush at Washington Park Arboretum; Washinton State Capitol dome; ferns at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island; Yoshino cherry trees in peak bloom at the University of Washington campus; a Robin ushers in spring at Washington Park Arboretum.

You Can Make Great Food with Just a Knife and Chopsticks (But

a Food Processer and Well-Stocked Pantry Helps)

Before I sold my house and moved into a rental apartment in 2019, I had two Chinese roommates over the course of three years. The women were in their 30s and on special visas so they could work in science labs at the University of Washington. We were remarkably compatible in ways that surprised me. The deepest connections were about food and education.

My housemates cooked every meal on my gas stove. They shopped at the Asian Food Market, acquiring a wide range of ingredients, some familiar and others either intriguing, confounding, or both. The only utensils they used were a sharp knife and a pair of long chopsticks.

When they felt comfortable enough to comment, they expressed amusement at the variety of cooking utensils I had in the canister next to the stove— wooden spoons of various sizes, spatulas, whisks, tongs, ladles, and other items I considered essential in a well-equipped kitchen. Watching them made it evident that my “essentials” were just preferences, and cultural ones at that.

I feel a similar level of judgment and amusement regarding some of my friends’ acquisition of the newest kitchen appliances: air fryers, panini and other countertop grills, Instant Pots and CrockPots, pressure cookers, sous vide devices, battery-operated thermometers, espresso machines, milk foamers, mini blow torches to create crackly caramels to top crème brulee, mandolins for slicing, and spiralizers for vegetable “noodles.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of electric machines I deem critical to my culinary happiness. I use my electric lemon juicer several times a week, since lemon juice is a main ingredient for much that I prepare. My Cuisinart, my third since they were first introduced in 1973, is always at the ready. I’m getting proficient with my immersion blender, and use

my microwave daily to heat, melt, poach, and other things microwaves are good for.

Do I need them all? Not really. Would I be okay without them? Absolutely. I just choose to benefit from their help.

A friend who often dines with me knows how to trigger my Pavlovian instincts—he praises, I cook. When I tell him my plans for dinner, he feigns salivating and inquires about breakfast in the morning. I always take the bait, which starts me thinking about how what is left from dinner might transform into breakfast.

My recent response: “Breakfast will emerge from what gets left from dinner. There is almost nothing that can’t be wrapped in a crepe or made into a soup or baked as a casserole!” Of course, whatever it is will be non-repeatable. One can never repeat those creative outbursts, but that is what we know about any creative offering.

Much of what I make comes from checking my pantry, scanning my refrigerator, scrolling the internet, perusing cookbooks, and sensing what I feel like ingesting.

I recently discovered that if I read cookbooks before I take my blood pressure, my pressure reading is lower than when I read the newspaper or a novel. Proof that food and its fascinations relate to my basic health.

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 is a certified coach.

www.3rdActMag.com 56 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 NOURISH YOUR BODY

Here are some staples currently in my pantry and three recipes utilizing them, two of which are made easier with a food processer:

• Canned fish: Tuna, salmon, sardines, anchovies

• Canned beans: Garbanzo, cannellini, navy, black beans and dried or already cooked pulses—green and red lentils (I always keep a pack of vacuumpacked lentils in my pantry to turn into easy instant soups and salads.)

• Canned and bottled appetizers— stuffed grape leaves, tapenades— green and black, olives, capers, and pickled peppers.

Anchoïade Niçoise Bruschetta

Adapted from a James Beard recipe

This spread will intrigue your guests as they try to guess what the ingredients are. Serve it as a topping on toasted, garlic-buttered bruschetta.

I ngredients

This makes many quarts, but it freezes very well so you might as well make a lot!

• ⅔ c. (160 ml.) toasted filbert nuts

• 1 c. (240 ml.) dried figs, stemmed and quartered

• 1 2-oz. (56.75 gr.) can anchovy fillets with oil

• 3 garlic cloves

• ¼ c. (60 ml.) olive oil


In a food processor with the metal blade in place, add the filberts to beaker. Process until finely chopped.

Without removing nuts, add figs, anchovies with oil, and garlic. Process, turning on and off, until very finely chopped and beginning to purée.

Continue processing and slowly add oil through the feed tube to make a smooth paste.

Makes about 1-½ cups.

Lentil and Walnut Salad

I ngredients

• 1 or 2 packages vacuum-packed lentils from Trader Joe’s

Remaining ingredients are per pack of lentils:

• 1 c. toasted walnuts

• 2-3 T. fresh tarragon, chopped fine

• 3 T. chopped sundried tomatoes (the moist ones in a package, not with oil)

• 1 red onion, chopped and “tamed”: Put chopped onion in microwavesafe glass bowl, add 3 T. red wine vinegar and microwave for 2 minutes. Onions get sweet, and the remaining vinegar can be used in the dressing.

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 1/3 c. olive oil or to taste

• Salt and pepper to taste


Break up lentils with hands or wooden spoons—try not to mush them up too much.

Add other ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be nicely moist, but not too wet.

Taste for balance. You want a distinct flavor of tarragon and tartness, but not overwhelming.

Tuna Olive Tapenade

I ngredients

• 3 cloves garlic, peeled

• 1 c. pitted kalamata olives

• 2 T. capers

• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

• Handful of sun-dried tomatoes

• ½–1 can anchovies, drained and rinsed

• 2 T. lemon juice and some grated lemon rind

• 2 T. olive oil

• ¼ c. crumbled feta

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 1 can drained tuna (in oil or water)


Place the garlic cloves into a blender or food processor, pulse to mince. Add the olives, capers, mustard, anchovies, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend until everything is finely chopped. Add the tuna and pulse until it is incorporated, but not pureed.

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 57

hasn’t made a slew of mistakes … as long as they’ve chosen to learn from them.

Back to Mr. Golden Bachelor.

ITbachelor Tarnished Fool’s Gold

was bound to happen. After all that silly swooning over THAT GREAT GUY, someone was bound to spill the beans that his whitewashed, tear-worthy past wasn’t so tear-worthy. Is it surprising that The Golden Bachelor who all those late-in-life lovelies were so eager to have, hold, and glom onto for their own wasn’t so golden?

Apparently, he could be quite the heel, if the article in The Hollywood Reporter is to be believed. They seem to have been able to identify a few women who have a different tale to tell about our tall, handsome man, and it ain’t pretty.

I’m not feeling gleeful that some reporter found dirty laundry. What is so disappointing is that we can’t embrace the inevitable yin/yang—the shadow side that leads to personal growth. This of course implies that we can’t accept it in ourselves. Or worse, we want said perfect person to come save us.

Online dating scams continue to be exceedingly successful because some part of us wants to believe that Mr. or Ms. Perfect exists. Loneliness is a huge motivator. So is wanting so badly to believe, as we certainly should, that great sex and deep intimacy don’t wither and die at 50.

I was a client as well as a student of online dating for the better part of 20 years. The single most common online scam aimed at me was a contrived profile from a “friend of a handsome lonely man who just lost his wife to colon cancer and was looking over my shoulder and fell in love with your photo and asked me to contact you for him.” That reeks of fake, but it worked.

The gorgeous, handsome, lonely widower Mr. Golden is precisely that. While some of it is true, it so closely parallels the scams that it just didn’t sit well with me.

There’s another story about how The Golden Bachelor season ended—with the hurt feelings and losses experienced by the other gorgeous older women who had the hots for our Golden Boy.

But then, do we truly honestly expect such perfection at 70-plus?

Is there any one of us who has made it to 50, 60, 70 or more without leaving a trail of tears, damage, misdeeds, and cringe-worthy behaviors in our past, no matter how distant? My hand is way up here. Of course I did.

So first, shame on any of us for believing that a person gets to this age without their own personal sewage. While it’s fair to say some have more than others, nobody ages without showing up less-thanperfect.

Second, shame on any of us for wanting to believe it, for that sets us up for terrible disappointment as well as terribly unfair expectations of others.

You and I are way too old to want someone who

Any of us who has dated after 50—and I dated well into my 60s until I just bloody well gave up the online dating ghost—can attest to the idiotic expectations that so many of us have. Most of which have no basis in reality.

Who we become as a result of our mistakes, wounds, scars, losses, and human idiocy is precisely what makes us good company. Again, if we are committed to growing from all those experiences.

Being dishonest about who we are sets everything up to fail.

Integrity seems to be in very low supply lately. Mr. Golden Bachelor, and all the folks who did the vetting and editing of his background to make him look perfect, are also out of integrity. I’m sure all the

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women were subjected to the same careful editing.

Put it this way: If we are going to believe that late-inlife love is available, and it most certainly is, then making a fake fairytale out of a guy who most definitely isn’t Mr. Perfect (nobody is, please) sets us all up for inevitable failure.

Part of what troubled me about the program was the expectation that the women all had to look like a wellaged Linda Evans, ever in a glittery gown, soft-focused, and perfectly proportioned, beautiful, and svelte beyond reason even around 70.

This underscores a lot of messaging about what women must do to get the prize, rather than be the prize.

You could say precisely the same thing about the men. Gary the Golden Guy was handsome, slim, pretty much in shape and in all ways what most guys his age probably are not.

For a great many of us of all shapes, sizes, gender

preferences, and the like, I’ll bet we’d trade an uberhandsome, well-off cad for a slightly pudgier version of someone we could trust. Someone who was fearless about a mastectomy scar or had no qualms about a muffin top or any of the other inevitabilities of a long life and well-used body.

I’ll bet we would also trade off several otherwise perfect features for trust, authenticity, and the grace of someone who has also seen the worst of life. Someone who has the heart, kindness, and innate wisdom to appreciate character, humor, resilience, and the kind of warmth and wisdom that comes from loss, failure, and life’s flops.

Maturity allows us the courage to disclose what needs saying. If the potential partner can’t handle it, they aren’t the right partner.

For what it’s worth, part of the great grace of getting older is getting wiser. Age conveys age, wisdom is earned. I didn’t get the impression that The Golden Bachelor was particularly wise. Instead, the program preyed on too many hopes and dreams which, for the rest of us who have learned a thing or two, are best viewed through slightly more thoughtful, and often thicker, lenses. There’s always a chance for late-inlife love. I no longer believe in online dating, but I most definitely believe that I might discover terrific company while hiking, biking, walking, riding, all the things I love to do.

Let’s stop swiping left while looking for what doesn’t exist: Mr. or Ms. Perfect.

Doing so swipes our chance to meet someone who really is great company at a time when we really do need it.

Here’s to the casual meet-cute (maybe) or meetclumsy (me, probably) that leads to a more realistic and lasting connection devoid of patently unfair and disastrous expectations.

In other words, Mr. or Ms. Perfect for us for right now as we really and truly are.

Julia Hubbel is a prizewinning journalist and author of two books. An adventure traveler, she thrives on exploring the boundaries of the heart, soul, spirit, and humor. Horizons beckon for Julia, who launched her passion to take on challenging sports in the world’s greatest places in earnest at age 60.

Aging with Confidence

Special Movie Nights

By now, most of us are very accustomed to watching films that we stream onto our television sets. Many worthwhile new pictures, in fact, simply skip the movie house altogether and are only (or quickly) available on streaming services.

But sometimes, doesn’t every film buff long for the pleasure of seeing a movie with an audience on a screen far larger than the ones in our residence? Larger, that is, for everyone except those rare folks with private screening rooms in their abode.

Several factors may be keeping us out of cinemas: Avoidance of large crowds to evade contagious illness. The lack of many affordable (and enticing) concession snacks. And (my own beef) having to sit through a long, loud prelude of preview ads for upcoming films—especially gory action flicks—that I really don’t want to see (even the trailer version).

Fortunately, the Seattle area offers alternatives to chain multiplexes for catching a movie in a cozier, more comfy and welcoming venue. From Bremerton and Seattle to Issaquah, you can see first-string and revival films in independent cinemas that cater to smaller, discerning audiences—and often with a cheaper ticket price.

Since these neighborhood indies tend to run on a shoestring, your patronage helps keep them open. And they can make a night out at the flicks a more enjoyable movie date. Here are some to check out (check local movie listings for showtimes and other information).


Central Cinema. This venue in Seattle’s Central District bills itself as the “most fun” place to grab dinner and catch a movie.

With bistro seating and a slate of popular revival films—like the recently screened Hairspray, Groundhog Day, and Moulin Rouge—Central Cinema is a beloved local institution.

The well-priced food offerings are just as eclectic as the movie menu, ranging from specialty beers and Nathan’s famous hotdogs to Greek salads and (of course) popcorn. And none of that asking for senior discounts—general admission is usually $12 for everybody.

In addition to its own programming, Central Cinema rents out its facility for private screenings and special events.

The Ark Lodge Cinemas. Want to see recently released features in a neighborhood setting? Columbia City’s movie hub presents first-run films in a historic Masonic Auditorium that has been transformed into a triplex with three screening rooms.

Fans praise the comfortable seats and fresh popcorn, and tickets range from $10-$14. The Ark Lodge was a fine place to go, for instance, to see the recent release, The Boys in the Boat, based on the bestselling book by local author Dan Brown about the famed University of Washington rowing team that won a surprise gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The Grand Illusion. If you want to enjoy this quirky little cinema spot, you better do it soon. Sadly, the Grand Illusion—titled after a classic Jean Renoir film and now in its 23rd year—occupies a building soon to be torn down for redevelopment in the next year. The nonprofit organization managing the theater plans to seek out another location and we are cheering them on.

60 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com ON THE TOWN
Misha Berson writes about the arts for crosscut.com and many other media outlets, teaches for the UW Osher program, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).

But the Grand Illusion’s current home is special. The place has only several dozen seats, is run by dedicated volunteers, favors quirky, eclectic films that appeal especially to the city’s most rarified, and just plain curious, cinema devotees.

Foreign films, unusual documentaries, new restorations of old classics, and a run of the beloved holiday feature It’s a Wonderful Life every December are among the unpredictable offerings.

Because the venue is so small, masks are required for all weekend shows. Memberships are sold, bringing the ticket price down to a startling $6, and seniors are admitted for just $8. The house-popped popcorn is a bargain, too!


The Roxy Theatre and The Admiral Theatre. A ferry ride away from Seattle, these two Bremerton cinemas and performing arts centers are community treasures.

Fully renovated in 2018 after a long closure, and now managed by a nonprofit foundation, the Roxy has a history of hosting live performances as well as films. Back in the 1940s era when live shows often were on the bill along with movies, crooners such as Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby appeared here.

In addition to first-run films, these days it is also a space for concerts, film festivals, and the excellent National Theatre Live screenings of that

esteemed London stage company’s touted productions.

The Admiral Theatre, which is also run by a nonprofit foundation, is another longstanding Bremerton entertainment amenity. Built in 1942, it is just a few blocks from the Bremerton Ferry Terminal. After a long run as a commercial theater, the Admiral was renovated in the 1990s and today hosts—family-friendly— $5 movie nights, as well as live music, comedy, and children’s shows.

Thanks to a recent large grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce the Admiral will soon repair the theatre’s marquee, restore its external mural, and make other improvements to the spacious and popular facility.


The Big Picture. This Eastside venue may seat fewer viewers (33, to be precise) and has a smaller (but at 15 feet, larger than home, probably) screen. But it tries to make up in style whatever it lacks in size.

In fact, the intimacy is part of the point. The armchair seats are oversized and cushy, including “love seats” where

couples can snuggle up. There’s an equally comfortable lounge/lobby to hang out in before and after the show. And did we mention the full bar, with an array of cocktails, beer, wine, and other beverages that you can take into the screening room with you?

The screen-themed menu of noshes boasts a Big Lebowski Smashburger and a Towering Inferno Chicken Sandwich, along with appetizers and flatbread pizzas. And you can order popcorn by the champagne bucket.

First-run movies are shown, and tickets are $17.25 with discounts on matinees and Tuesdays. The Big Picture is also available for small parties and private screenings.


Clyde Theatre. On the less posh spectrum, this homey independent movie emporium is on the main drag in the charming island town of Langley.

Open mainly on the weekends, and showing mostly new features for several-day runs, the Clyde originally opened in 1937 as the Depression wore on—and Americans forgot their troubles for a few hours by gazing at the silver screen.

Since 1972, the Clyde has been lovingly run by longtime Langley citizen Blake Willeford. Over the years he has implemented a seismic upgrade of the building and installed new seats and digital projection equipment.

But the Clyde (named after the original owner) still has an old-timey, down home feeling where neighbors gather. (Willeford actually apologized when he had to raise the ticket price to $10, which fans were happy to pay.)

Special events have included a program of silent Buster Keaton films with live musical accompaniment, short film festivals, and screenings of movies by Whidbey Island filmmakers.

spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 61
Aging with Confidence

Tough Broad

From Boogie Boarding to Wing Walking— How Outdoor Adventure Improves Our Lives as We Age

I’m a downhill skier. At 67, I ski stronger and better than at any time in my life. Same goes for my husband, David. He’s 71. We spend a good portion of the winter at our condo in Sun Peaks, British Columbia, and I have to say it’s the best retirement community ever.

Our ski friends range in age from their mid-50s to mid-80s, and from what aging stereotypes would have you believe, none of us act our age. Most days we spend hours playing outside together. Once or twice a week we get together for après ski—enjoying drinks, homemade “appys,” and each other’s company. Several nights a week we gather in one friend’s condo or another, taking turns making dinner. We laugh, we cry, and we know we are the luckiest people in the world. It’s not just playing outdoors—the sense of belonging to a community provides tremendous well-being.

My life is tame compared to the adventures of the women Caroline Paul profiles in Tough Broad. But she is very clear that we don’t have to be a skier or engage in an extreme sport to live healthier and feel more alive. We just need to get outside and play, gain community, and seek more from life—not less—as we age.

To do so means discarding that “I’m too old for this” self-talk. Ability, mobility, health status, and how much we practice determine what we can and cannot do, not our number of trips around the sun.

Paul shares her story about wing-walking—the practice and mental and physical workouts she had to do to prepare. But she goes on to tell us that according to researchers from the Memory Care and Aging Institute at UC San Francisco, you can “dispense with the wing entirely and simply walk.” The catch is to walk while “looking at everything with fresh, childlike eyes.”

Every day I put on my skis I win. But this doesn’t mean I’m inoculated against injury, illness, and loss. I’ve been injured and have lost some of my most active and athletic friends to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and aneurisms. And all of us eventually age-out of this sport. That’s when many decide to trade in their skis for golf clubs in a warmer clime. My time for that will come, too. Not a golfer, I see birdwatching in my future and have already started learning this less-demanding, yet community-engaging, pastime.

In Tough Broad, Paul provides us with stereotype-busting inspiration. “Do everything you can to stay connected,” says author Dr. Louann Brizendine. “It’s not just longevity we are after in the upgrade; it’s joy, emotional strength, and sharpness.”

Now, let’s go outside and play.


62 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com BOOKS
ANSWERS (Puzzles on page 64) 1. Scent/cent 2. Flower/flour 3. Sow/sew 4. Loan/lone 5. Role/roll 6. Hoarse/horse 7. Pause/paws 8. Dough/doe Homonyms 1. Shortchanged 2. Longitude 3. Shortbread 4. Oblong 5. Furlong 6. Prolong 7. Shortsighted 8. Longshoreman The long and the short of it 1. Begone (beg + one) 2. Automatic (auto + ma + tic) 3. Example (ex + ample) 4. Capability (cap + ability) 5. Impair (imp + air) 6. Hatred (hat + red) 7. Curfew (cur + few) 8. Thinking (thin + king) Word Parts

Saturday, May 4 · 8 am-2:30 pm

Pierce College Campus Center Building Puyallup, WA 98374

Directions at www.pierce.ctc.edu/maps

Keynote by Victoria Starr Marshall, publisher and editor of 3rd Act Magazine

From Fear to Thrive: How to Age with Confidence

Victoria shares how her own fear of retirement and aging motivated her to explore this life stage and share her discoveries in a magazine focused on fostering positive aging and combating ageism. As 3rd Act Magazine enters its 9th year, she’s learned how to Age with Confidence through the many inspiring and active older adults she’s met along the way— role-models who remind us how we can all thrive as we age.

To register and for more information go to: www.piercecountywa.gov/agingexpo

Aging with Confidence spring 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 63
Resiliency · Optimism · Learning · Feeling Good
Learn about the new realities of aging as we enter
third chapter.
FREE TO THE PUBLIC Aging with Enthusiasm EXPO 2024 Feed Your Soul

GAMES for your brain

Exercise your brain and have some fun with these puzzles designed to stimulate different cognitive functions.

Homonyms (easy)

Homonyms are two or more words that are pronounced the same way but have different meanings and/or spellings. In this game, we supply the definitions and you must not only provide the homonyms, but spell them correctly as well.

1. A fragrance; or a penny.

2. A blossom; or a basic baking ingredient.

3. Plant seeds; or to use a needle and thread.

4. A mortgage or cash advance; or solitary.

5. A part in a play or movie; or a dinner bread.

The long and the short of it (harder)

6. Having a husky or weak voice; or a stallion or mustang.

7. Temporary stop in action or speech; or an animal’s feet.

8. Bread, before it’s baked; or a female deer.

All of the answers in this word definition game contain either the word LONG or the word SHORT.

1. To be given insufficient money back when you’ve paid for something.

2. On every world map, these are the north-south lines that divide the earth into equal parts.

3. This hard, crumbly cookie is most associated with Scotland.

4. This shape is best described as a stretched out circle or square.

Word Parts (hardest)

5. This measurement of distance, which equals one-eighth of a mile, is rarely used today except in horse racing.

6. To lengthen the time, draw out, or extend the duration of something.

7. To be unmindful of future consequences; lacking in foresight.

8. A person employed in a port to load and unload ships.

The word menace is defined as “a threat.” In this game, however, we don’t supply the definition of a word, but its parts. For example, given the first clue, “male adults,” plus the second clue, “the highest card in the deck,” the answer is menace (men + ace).

1. To ask for charity + the lowest cardinal number.

2. Car + pa’s mate + facial spasm.

3. Slang for former spouse + plentiful.

4. Small hat + aptitude.

5. Mischievous child + atmosphere.

6. Headwear + a primary color.

7. A mongrel dog + not many.

8. Svelte + royal ruler.

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, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young; and 299 On-the-Go Games and Puzzles 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.

64 3rd Act magazine | spring 2024 www.3rdActMag.com ANSWERS ON PAGE 62

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