3rd Act Magazine – Summer 2024

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Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver

Gretchen Staebler Shares Her Caregiving Journey and the Need to Care for Yourself

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MESSAGE from the publisher

“Don’t Dream It, Be It”
—Rocky Horror Show

I had a dream last night where I was drawn to a woman who struck me as being gloriously happy. When I poked my head into her simply adorned room, she told me that she lives her life with curiosity—not taking things so seriously and following where life leads—which makes every day interesting, exciting, and fun. I woke up feeling excited, like I’d been given permission to expand my boundaries and explore.

It seems that my friend and frequent contributor to 3rd Act, Sally Fox, is experiencing a similar awakening. In my email this morning was a newsletter from her with the subject line, “Sparking Creativity with Curiosity and Joy” (read it at engagingpresence.com/blog). In it she shares her delight on discovering a young, Grammy-winning musician Jacob Collier, and how “he makes play a world class art form.” As I read the newsletter, I had one

of those “ah ha”’ moments that, if we let it, our third act is a time in our lives when we don’t have to be goal-oriented, when we can allow ourselves to be curious and creative, and play. We don’t need to be young to be young at heart.

In this issue of 3rd Act we encourage you to be curious and engage—engage in life, with other people, with whatever interests you.

Life’s a dance full of lessons and dreams.

It’s a happier, healthier way to live whatever our age. And, according to the statistics, staying engaged will help us live longer, too.

In “Engage as You Age” (page 50), Dori Gillam shares some surprising statistics and offers several great ways to get engaged. On page 14, Michael C. Patterson advises us to dance to the music of our age: “To flourish we need to resist the temptation to sit it out and instead accept the invitation to dance.”

Still, the truth is that at this age, or any age, we can get sidelined by a serious health event or accident—either our own, or someone we care for. So, while we are out there engaging and living life to the fullest, we still need to be prepared for a change of plans. In our cover story, “Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver” (page 46), author Gretchen Staebler shares her story of how becoming the primary caregiver for her mother impacted her life and the lessons she drew from it.

Life’s a dance full of lessons and dreams. Engage.

Have a great summer.


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


Bonnie Rae Nygren

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

Copyright ©2024 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

Oshi Publishing, LLC, P.O. Box 412 Brinnon, WA 98320

Email: info@3rdActMag.com

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

2 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com
Victoria spends a summer day with her granddaughter.


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Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 3 Find Connection and Joy IN EVERYDAY LIVING
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COVER: At age 60, Gretchen Staebler made the commitment to move in with her mother for a year to help care for her. Her experience, which lasted not one, but four and a half years, inspired her award-winning memoir, Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver.

Photo by Bonnie Rae Nygren

56 60 c o n t e n t s


28 MAKE NEW FRIENDS, BUT KEEP THE OLD Moving? How to keep old friendships and make new ones.


40 EXPERIENCED VOTERS, OLD CANDIDATES A conversation with seasoned voters on how they perceive age in politics.



How to take greater control in your ongoing journey engaging with life.



I offer to live for one year with my mother. I can do anything for one year.


50 GET ENGAGED AS YOU AGE Studies show that social engagement adds to our longevity. Here's how to become more social.




If you didn’t know how old you are, what age would you be?



Old age, despite its numerous negatives, does have its benefits.


12 THE LIGHTER SIDE Don’t ever do this if you wish to be noticed.


16 MIND THE SPIRIT Getting up and out when you’re feeling down.



Understanding care options is crucial as we age.



The power of connection.


4 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com PUGET SOUND BRAIN HEALTH PROJECT Sign Up for Free Brain Training TRAVEL MADE EASY The Best Group Travel Purveyors Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver Gretchen Staebler Shares Her Caregiving Journey and the Need to Care for Yourself KEEP MOVING Your 7 Forever Exercises Engage as You Age Want to live longer? Get out and socialize!


TO THE MUSIC OF YOUR AGE To flourish, dance to the music of your aging process.

Doesn’t anybody write checks anymore?



Group trips open the world to solo travelers and couples, too.



Dance forms that keep you in tempo with others are practically endless.




Why should eulogies only be for dead people?



Music’s health benefits and its ability to improve lives.



Your seven forever exercises.


38 THE BRAIN HEALTH PROJECT You can join a FREE study designed to preserve or boost your brain performance.


58 NOURISH YOUR BODY Recipes that take a layered approach.




What’s Next: Short Fiction in Time of Change.



Word puzzles to challenge your mind.


Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 5 50 12 16 LIFESTYLE 14 DANCING
I “KICK THE BUCKET” Planning for years of adventure I hope are still ahead. SUZI
ENGAGED The paradox of finding independence through community
Ageless gift ideas for a dad,
or anyone
Lewis stays young by traveling far into the places where children go with their imagination. ROBERT
43 58


A Fine Example of the Genre

I have shared the print version of 3rd Act (Spring 2024) with several groups, and it has been met with many compliments for its quality. They liked the heavy cover, content, and layout. So, kudos to you!

As an old graphics guy, I, too, like the heavy cover plus the fact that it is perfect bound rather than saddle stitched. I like the generous use of white space, the large text size and extra leading (which is appreciated by old eyes). The circle text wrap around the magnifying glass (“The Hard Truth About Dementia,” page 32) is great design and the circle wrap around the callout on the next page is beyond clever. To interrupt the word interrupt (“A Life Interrupted,” page 36) with a change from black type to reverse type graphically is a great design that reinforces the message. And so many more examples.

I have looked for more magazines like 3rd Act to submit articles from my book, and I discovered that there is a paucity of possibilities. It’s really a desert out there. You are not only the finest example of the genre, but you almost have an exclusive hold on it. Did you know that?

—John Owen, Tulsa, OK

Thank you, John, we are lucky to have such a talented designer. But without our sponsors and advertisers, we would not be able to pay for the quality. So, a big thank you to our supporters. Please support them! —Editor

Love at First Bite

I love your magazine! It’s like eating a spoonful of ice cream and suddenly chomping down on a delicious chocolate chip. A broad smile spreads across your face and you feel satisfied and good inside. All is well.

Incidentally, I’ve been one of Dr. Larson’s ACT subjects for some 16 years and always enjoy reading anything he writes.

Keep up the great work!

—Ray Marik, Seattle

Feeling Duped

We read your magazine carefully. I feel sheepish making this comment because I applaud most articles for their enlightening messages. Thank you.

However, the anti-bucket list story (“Avoid the ‘Anti-Bucket List’ with Longevity Planning,” page 18) starts off well, leading us through a genuine problem for a supposedly well-prepared senior. Her son writes the story and what do you know, despite hooking the reader who expects 3rd Act to be non-biased, he pimps his business. It’s fine to tell us there’s an emerging industry to help people like his mother, but he barely elaborates on what his profession does, and your magazine fails to mention who else provides this service in our area. I recommend a follow-up written by a disinterested writer that supports all of us who were introduced to the concept here. —John Egbert, City not provided Thank you for your feedback. Scott Schill is a financial planner and topic expert. I would much rather pay a journalist to interview topic experts like Scott, but that’s prohibitively expensive for small publications like ours. While the story certainly promotes the benefits of services like he provides, it does not specifically promote his business. —Editor

include your name, city, state, and phone number when possible. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

talk to us! by mail: 3rd Act Magazine,
Box 412,
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How Old Are You?

Did you know?

• According to a report from the Alliance for Lifetime Income, approximately 4.1 million Americans are poised to turn 65 this year and every year through 2027? Dubbed by experts as “peak 65” or the “silver tsunami,” this figure represents the largest surge of retirement-age Americans in history.

• Statistics indicate that 2024 will be a recordbreaking year for retirement in the U.S., with an average of 11,000 Americans a day expected to celebrate their 65th birthday from now until December.

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.

Louise Aronson, physician, writer, and author of Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine and Reimaging Life notes that for more than 5,000 years, “old” has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. “That means,” she adds, “most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more.”

Yet, at the very moment that humans are living longer than ever before, we’ve made old age into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, denigrated, neglected, and denied.

If you fall into one of those statistical categories, how does it make you feel? Frankly, I don’t look kindly upon being included as a member of a tsunami, silver or otherwise. The very idea conjures up an image of me marching with a group of cohorts, sword in hand, ready to attack the populace.

I suspect that our response to getting older has to do with how we have witnessed our own grandparents or parents aging. I often ask my workshop participants to write down words that come to mind when they hear the word “old.” You can take the quiz as well. Some of the typical

responses include, rigid, wrinkled, too old to learn, grumpy, stubborn, and set in their ways. When asked to do the same upon hearing the word elder, common responses include wise, distinguished, respected, and knowledgeable.

Many people who buy into aging stereotypes may decide that it is time to move away from active participation to being entertained. A friend told me that she was looking for somewhere to play Bingo and cards. “After all,” she said, “what else is an old person to do?” Is she right? Is later life all about playing games or watching TV?

It’s no secret that such ageist messages can interfere with our making changes and developing new interests. It is possible to overcome such thoughts, however. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, sociologist and author of The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50, challenges us to develop a compelling vision of later life that recognizes a time of potential growth and new learning.

If you were to follow her advice, imagine what your day would be like. Would it look the same? Or would you be inspired to learn something new, take a class, or go on a trip?

As Satchel Paige famously asked, “If you didn’t know how old you are, what age would you be?” What’s your answer?

8 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com AGING WITH INTENTION



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Are you an active senior who’s not ready to slow down? Skyline offers a lifestyle rich with opportunities to move, grow, explore and learn. Get involved as much or as little as you want. Explore the city. Enjoy our vibrant programs, events and opportunities to give back to the community. You can do it all. And, as Seattle’s only true Life Care community, you’ll have access to comprehensive

Are you an active senior who’s not ready to slow down? Skyline offers a lifestyle rich with opportunities to move, grow, explore and learn. Get involved as much or as little as you want. Explore city. Enjoy our vibrant programs, events and opportunities to give back to the community. You can do it all. And, as Seattle’s only true Life Care community, you’ll have access to comprehensive health care services that are tailored to your needs. Is it time to change your address? Visit SkylineSeattle.org to schedule a personal tour.



Old age, despite its numerous negatives, does have its benefits. You just have to get a handle on what they are and how to use them to your advantage. Think of them as “perks” with gray hair—a collection of benefits reserved for people living through their third act.

While there are many to choose from, I am going to focus on what I consider to be the most valuable—the inalienable right to say “no.” That’s right, the statute of limitations on having to say “yes” has expired.

Simply, we have earned the right to decline, reject, turn down, and flat-out refuse to do things if we just don’t feel like doing them.

Here’s what I’m talking about. Take being in a large crowd for example. Can’t stand it. Even going to a concert featuring a performer I really like, the notion of sitting in an overstuffed, noisy arena for three hours is high on my list of “no thank you’s.” Nope, not doing it. I’m way too old for a mosh pit. Besides, I’d much rather sit comfortably at home, have some nosh, and listen to their CD.

Sports venues are just as bad—maybe even worse. I like sports, but I just don’t want to go to a game where I must sit among a bunch of fanatical people who are yelling in my ear, shaking those horribly annoying cowbells, and standing up in front of me. No dice. I much prefer watching a good game on TV where I can control the volume, see replays, and pause the game when I have to go to the bathroom. Constantly.

Multigenerational family vacations are another

problematic area. While I love all my people in all their various generations that does not mean that I love the notion of taking a long, uncomfortable flight to a destination that I would never pick in a million years. There are occasions, too, when the thought of spending two weeks in a condo, rental house, or hotel with all of them seems less than desirable. Five-o’clock dinners instead of cocktail hour, activities all planned around nap times, and babysitting the grandkids so the parents can go out for a nice romantic evening leaves a lot to be desired. But beware. We’re dealing with family here. Saying no to this kind of invitation requires some finesse. Naturally, you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, there is usually a graceful way to bow out.

I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the idea. For me, there is something very cathartic about saying no. I feel liberated—my own man.

In a way, the right to say no is akin to the adage “rank has its privileges.” After a lifetime of saying “yes,” doesn’t our longevity, our experiences, our likes and dislikes, and our aches and pains entitle us to this privilege? I sure think so. But, of course, you can always say no.

Larry Moss is a retired advertising creative director and jazz piano player. He recently published a memoir about how playing the piano played such an important role in his life.

10 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com
Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 11 your best life. Call us at 206.546.7565 to make that happen. cri st aseni o r living . or g The Importance of Community Christian Retirement Living— There’s something different here

I give up! For somebody who’s in her advancing years, I still struggle and strive to cling to society’s niceties, but what do you get? Embarrassment and mortification!

My writing career has afforded me a few privileges that maybe I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. I mean, like the opportunity to interview people in high places. Hence, I’ve wondered and scrutinized them as to why they were selected and not the rest of us. Believe me, we’re the lucky ones, for under all that hoopla, I sometimes can sense in them a loneliness, a longing to still be like one of us.

Experts claim that fame and power is an addiction and, just like any drug, one keeps hungering for their next fix, but is never satisfied. No, thank you, but after what happened to me a few years ago, I still wished I could have faded into oblivion. Funny,

but that’s exactly what happened on that horrifying night. Now looking back, unfortunately, I was invited to a classy affair at a highly affluent country club. Trust me, what these members pay alone in yearly dues I could live on for a year— or two. Hey, come to think of it, I practically do! Well, for this once-in-a-lifetime event, I wanted to be decked out in something “extraordinary.” You know, be a real stand-out, my attire a real eye-catcher. (My dear readers, please hold that thought.) An off-the-rack dress would never do and why? Because for this “one moment in time,” I was going to pretend to be somebody I wasn’t. How pathetic is that? I thought to myself, I’ve been hanging around those celebrities too long, for I’ve always advocated for people to be real and true to themselves. For now though, I shoved my fervent beliefs aside

12 www.3rdActMag.com

and off I went to a fashion designer to have an original made. I pored over hundreds of fabrics and finally settled on a rich brocade with an ice-blue print on a buttercream background. I tell ya, Queen Elizabeth should have had such exquisite taste. What I thought would be a magical evening finally arrived. With confidence and with more excitement than should be allotted for a woman my age or any age, I entered the “by invitation only” sanctuary. I don’t know what made me do a little twirl with what space the overflowing room allowed me, but in that very instant had I become living proof of that quote that summarizes what happens when people grow older—“Once a man, (woman) twice a little boy (girl).” It served me right that the halfway spin left me woozy, both from my exuberance and the possibility of my being the best-dressed female on the floor. Forget it—I was the best-dressed one in the room, so I sent up a quick prayer that I must remain modest and humble, like suddenly there would be a need. God give me strength, for right before my horrifying eyes, I saw it! And now I wasn’t quivering from excitement, I was trembling from mortification. Oh no, it couldn’t be! Certainly, my disbelieving eyes weren’t seeing what I THOUGHT I was seeing. How could the fates be so cruel? What unforgivable sin had I ever committed to deserve this? Well, I have pulled a few boners—the “stupid mistake”

definition, not the other one, but I’ve never spent more than three minutes tops in the confessional, so how sinful could I really be? Just take a deep breath, I told myself, in and out, in and out, and when I plopped myself down on the rich brocade, overstuffed couch with an ice-blue print on a buttercream background, I completely disappeared! You guessed it, that damn couch was upholstered in the exact same material as my beautiful “original” gown. I wondered if I could sue both the designer and the upholsterer for mental anguish. What, fashion designers and couch upholsterers never check with one another? There oughta be a law. Did I have grounds to sue for mental anguish?

‘You’re better off staying put and not breathing,’ I told myself. ‘They’ll never see that you’re here.’ Tell me, what would you have thought had you walked into a formal affair and saw a reserved-looking man sitting on some horrified-looking older woman’s lap? Please keep it to yourself. Don’t you think I’ve suffered enough?.

Karen White-Walker is a published writer and playwright. Her stories have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, and eight of her plays have been produced. “I’m most comfortable writing articles about and for senior citizens,” she says, “because being one myself, I know of the trials, frustrations, and the feelings of accomplishment that make us who we are today—a feisty bunch!”


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Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 13
Assisted Living & Memory Care

dancing to the music of your age

To flourish, dance to the music of your aging process.

The dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp has written a lovely book about aging called, Keep It Moving. She makes the point that, too often, the aging process involves a gradual contraction of our physical and mental presence. She encourages us to take inspiration from dancers and to keep moving. To move is to be alive, to engage. Our engagement with life should be expansive; we should expand into our maturity with a dancer’s enthusiasm and creativity.

“Opt for expression over observation, action instead of passivity, risk over safety, the unknown over the familiar. Be deliberate, act with intention.

Chase the sublime and the absurd.”

Tharp points out that the challenges of age too often cause us to recoil, to shrink and grow smaller. As we move less, our muscles grow weaker, our tendons become less flexible. Our stature seems diminished, both literally and figuratively. Our reach feels shorter. Too often our imagination is suppressed or ignored. Our perceived

influence and social status wanes. We inhabit less space in the theater of our existence.

Like Tharp, I find contraction the wrong strategy for playing out the final acts of our lives. The actor in me wants to end with a flourish. The aging process is the dance partner that is now available to us. To flourish, we need to resist the temptation to sit it out and instead accept the invitation to dance.

Tharp offers concrete suggestions on how to take inspiration from dance and flourish as we age. As you might expect from a dancer, one of Tharp’s first suggestions is to take care of our bodies. “Your body is your job. If you don’t work for it, it will not work for you.” We won’t be able to dance with full expression unless we keep body and mind limber, agile, and strong.

And we have to prepare our bodies and minds for the long haul. Long life is an endurance event. It takes stamina to flourish as we age. Dancing takes a lot more energy than does sitting on the sidelines. If you want to dance with the aging process you have to push yourself today so that you have the energy and strength to move well tomorrow.

Tharp also highlights the importance of resilience. She says that long lives inevitably “assume the ebb and flow of a sine wave.” Good times are followed by bad then turn good again. Tharp sees resilience as an opportunity to grow. The downs we experience are not failures, but learning opportunities. We build our resilience by figuring out what went wrong and doing what we can to fix it. Our rebound may not be perfect, it may not restore us to the top of our highest highs, but as long as we are doing it better than before, we are moving in the right direction.

Resilience to the aging process is hard for dancers. Tharp points out that dancers “are trained to accomplish the near impossible.” They are Olympian athletes who have trained their bodies and minds to accomplish super-human feats. They come to expect a “perfected artistry guaranteeing immortality.”

Dancers can make their bodies do the impossible—until they can’t. “Age,” says Tharp “erodes everything a dancer has worked to be since childhood.” Tharp was injured at age 69, and had to face the fact that her body had grown weaker and more fragile. How did she

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

handle this dramatic reminder of her vulnerability? She says over time she discovered a very useful trick, one that could be useful to all of us.

The trick was to measure her success through the challenge in front of her, not the challenges she faced in the past. Her reality—our reality—is here and now, not in some remembered past. We have nothing but the present moment. All we can expect of ourselves is to do the best we can, here and now, dealing with current circumstances, not with conditions that might have existed in the past.

Starting with who we are at this moment in time, we can always continue to move, explore, and grow. We can push the limits of our comfort zones, experiment with new challenges, test the limits of our capabilities. And when we reach limits of our current capabilities we can stop and

congratulate ourselves.

Old dancers may not be able to dance as they did when young. but they can still keep dancing. They can explore and perfect a new kind of dancing—the moves of an older person. Who made the rule that only young movements can be beautiful, interesting, expressive, provocative, and seductive? When we fully engage with our aging process, we reveal what it is like to be who we are, in this time and place. We may have limitations, but it is just those constraints that stimulate creative exploration and expression.

Tharp references the Japanese practice of kintsugi, or gold mending, in which gold is used to reconnect broken pieces of porcelain. There is no attempt to reconstruct the flawless perfection of the original pottery. The gold is used, instead, to accentuate the

flaws. The seams reveal a new kind of beauty, more complex and surprising. This approach reflects the aesthetic principle of wabi-sabi, in which beauty is found in imperfection, transience, and incompleteness.

We can summarize Tharp’s message as an invitation to dance the wabisabi with our aging process. Rather than hide from or deny the changes that come with age, we should embrace them, dance with them.

Dancing with our aging process will reveal the fascinating beauty of our imperfections.

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. Patterson ran the Staying Sharp brain health program for AARP, then founded MINDRAMP to continue to promote physical well being and mental flourishing for older adults. He currently explores these topics on his MINDRAMP Podcast and his Synapse newsletter. His website is www.mindramp.org.

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Getting Up and Out When You’re Feeling Down

A friend of mine, a young man who always seems optimistic and full of life, recently told me he was feeling “blah” and kind of “down.” When I asked what he thought was the cause of this, he said he didn’t know, that he hadn’t ever felt this way.

I asked him several questions hoping to get an understanding of what he was experiencing.

It seemed he’d lost interest in the activities that normally brought him joy. After talking some more it became apparent that he was experiencing malaise, the cause of which was being overly busy and not taking time for solitude and rest.

I know how that feels! I also sometimes feel out of sorts, even hopeless and despondent. Being retired from one’s career, newly single due to the death of a partner, or feeling that, as an elder, our options are more limited, can weigh heavily on us and keep us from feeling that we do, indeed, have a place in the world. Perhaps not the place we once had, but one that can still be meaningful and purpose driven. What I have found is that if I don’t quickly do something when I’m feeling socially isolated or begin thinking I’m no longer needed in the world, I can get pulled down into depression. Sometimes life can just wear us down. We may easily become overwhelmed. The thought of having to leave our house or apartment and run errands, attend meetings, or get to medical appointments is just too much. Performing the simplest of tasks becomes difficult. We no longer want to go out into the world. It’s just easier to stay at home and hope something will change.

I once heard a young woman talking about how she had trouble getting dressed in the morning and often spent the day on her couch rather than getting out and doing what she needed to do. She said, “I know this might sound simplistic, but what I have to do to get up off the couch and dressed is to say out loud, ‘up and out!’” She went on to explain how it’s like a mantra she repeats over and over in order to hoist herself up, walk to the bedroom, find some clothes, go to the bathroom, put on makeup, get dressed, find her purse, and walk out the door.

“Up and out!” “Up and out!” “Up and out!” I can relate to that. To this day I can find myself on a metaphorical couch, unable to do what I know I need to do in order to get on with my life.


I also had a friend, now gone, who after a stroke, was aphasic and didn’t have full use of one side of his body. Despite this he got up every morning, showered, shaved, and dressed as if for work. He knew that if he didn’t, he would slowly give up on life.

“No matter our situation, we, too, can summon the resources within ourselves needed to become motivated and energized.”

In the Book of John there’s a story where Jesus encounters a lame man who’s been lying for many years beneath the portico surrounding a pool of water that was believed to have healing powers. The man told Jesus he had no one to help him get up and make it into the water.

In response Jesus says, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” He did and was healed. Jesus

seems to have touched something in the man that rekindled his ability to motivate himself to take action. The fire within him was reignited, which then gave him the impetus to overcome what ailed him and to then begin to live again.

When the young woman said aloud, “up and out” she called on a source within herself to overcome her lethargy. My friend used his willpower and determination to keep himself going. The man by the pool asked for help to be restored to wholeness and he was.

No matter our situation, we, too, can summon the resources within ourselves needed to become motivated and energized. If it seems too overwhelming, we can ask for help from loved ones, caregivers, or a higher power.

And remember: “Up and out!” “Up and out!” “Up and out!”

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.

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Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 17
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The power of living eulogies

I have a death wish: That we may all leave this world knowing how much we mattered, that everyone hears their own eulogy and can savor how it feels to be radically seen. And that, as a result, we can all live into the legacies that others see possible in us before it’s too late. After all, why should eulogies only be for dead people?

Why are the truest feelings said about loved ones when they can’t hear, savor, or bask in them? And how might we honor all those around us who are very much alive?

My term for these “living eulogies” is Gracenotes®. Like musical gracenotes, they’re an embellishment to pieces of our lives that makes life even better. Gracenotes® are actions we take to say, “I see you. Here’s why and how you matter …”

The importance of mattering isn’t just some feel-good idea, either. Let’s look at a few examples from science that reinforce the power and importance of mattering. I like to call this data “the math of mattering.”

The U.S. Surgeon General in 2022 named Mattering at Work as the Fourth Essential lin his Framework for Workplace Mental Heal th & Well-Being, noting: “People want to know that they matter to those around them and that their work matters. Knowing you matter has been shown to lower stress, while feeling like you do not can raise the risk for depression. This essential rests on the human needs of dignity and meaning.”

Mattering Matters

Another proof point for mattering? Famed Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer and her team gave plants to two distinct groups of senior-living residents. Researchers told the first group that they were directly responsible for keeping the plant alive. They told the second group that the staff would take care of each of their plants.

18 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024

After 18 months, twice as many patients who were told they were responsible for keeping the plants alive were still alive themselves. They knew they had a valuable role to play. Turns out, mattering matters to plants and to people—and can even extend our lives.

And then there’s what psychologist Gordon Flett calls “anti-mattering.”

In his book, The Psychology of Mattering: Understanding the Human Need to be Significant, Flett shares the eyepopping story of a man in prison who tried escaping just to see if anyone would notice. He felt that invisible. Then what happened? He was seen. And recaptured.

So, it’s a deep, human need to know we matter and are making meaningful, visible contributions. Yet, too many of us die not knowing how much we’ve made a difference.

How many times have you heard a beautiful eulogy at a funeral and wondered, ‘Did this person, this person who’s no longer here with us, know how others felt about them while still alive?’

That’s why Gracenotes® are so powerful. They help you, family, friends, and community members intentionally navigate life and loss differently. Make meaning from disillusionment. Amplify the voice of elders. Boost gratitude and belonging, which are proven to boost resiliency. Navigate grief, change, and loss with more ease. And get our emotional assets in order, alongside our financial assets.

Imagine, for example, a Gracenote® that reads, “You display continual integrity—I see how you consistently stick to your ethical principles and are reliably trustworthy, time and time again.”

How might this observation inspire the recipient to live more deeply into their integrity?

Or “Whenever you walk into a room, there’s so much more positivity and possibility.”

How might this simple comment affect how someone shows up in a room?

Indeed, Gracenotes® reflect our true, authentic selves back to us. They show us what we cannot see. It’s a bit like the title of the blockbuster book, We’re All the Light We Cannot See.

When we know how we are seen—when we know how we matter—we can do more of those things.

It’s that simple—and that profound.

So, what do you think keeps us from “gracing” one another? In polling hundreds of adults across generations, I have learned that the primary reason people cite is a fear of feeling awkward.

It may be quite human to think that the recipient will feel

it’s weird that you’re reaching out with a note after a long time. Dr. Peggy Liu from the University of Pittsburgh ran a 2022 experiment to explore this. Study participants sent a short note to someone in their social circle with whom they hadn’t interacted in a while. Then researchers asked recipients about how they felt to receive such a note. Turns out, they’re generally not thinking, ‘Well, this is awkward.’ Instead, they’re thinking, ‘Someone took time to reach out. They thought about me. What a lovely surprise.’

Another reason people may not write a eulogy for the living is that some say they’re not sure what to say.

As an antidote, I offer this simple roadmap. Think about one or two key words that embody your “Grace-ee.” Be you. Remember, you’re not trying to get a job at Hallmark. Know that you can’t “write wrong.”

It’s a deep, human need to know we matter and are making meaningful, visible contributions. Yet, too many of us die not knowing how much we’ve made a difference.

And try one of these prompts if you still feel stuck: I always laugh when …You are the only person I know who … You’re the best at … I turn to you when I need mentoring around …

Sometimes, though, the most compelling and important gracenote for any one of us to write may be the one we pen to ourselves. Where might we give ourselves some grace? Or what author Elizabeth Gilbert calls, “a cloak of mercy”?

Now, if writing’s not your thing, try a drawing, a video, a word cloud, or a photo collage. Can you write or even text a grace sentence? The medium doesn’t matter—what matters is the doing. A participant in one of my workshops said, “Most procrastination involves viewing a task as monumental. … But in the case of writing a gracenote, the impact is monumental—not the task.”

So that’s my death wish: That you see how your gracenote—no matter what form it takes—can be an oasis in a desert of people who are dying to know how they matter in this world. Before they pass out of it.

Andrea Driessen’s funny and poignant TED Talk about Gracenotes® (tinyurl. com/grace-notes) has been viewed almost 2 million times. A hospice volunteer with Providence in Seattle, she speaks and writes about topics relevant to older adults. She also delivers pro-bono interactive Gracenotes® workshops to qualified nonprofits via funding from The Unlikely Foundation.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 19

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

AsI took a seat at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, I clutched one of my mother’s old, embroidered hankies. Never before had I felt nervous about a concert, but I was unsure what would unfold when guest pianist Stephen Hough played Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” a few years ago with the Seattle Symphony.

There was little doubt my tears would flow. Here’s the backstory.

Dinner plates had been cleared from the dining room table one night when I was 13. While other family members bolted to watch TV, Mom and I didn’t join them. She chose not to blow out the candles on the table and instead reached into the stereo cabinet for the LP featuring Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”

Like most pubescent teenagers, I rolled my eyes at the thought of listening to classical music. We quietly talked about our day over her coffee and my favorite cup of tea until

the “Rhapsody” melody began. Then Mom looked at me—her eyes welling up—as the tender music prompted both of us to lose ourselves in tears. This became a special bond between us. Every month or two, we would clear the dinner table, keep the candles lit, chat for a while, put on “Rhapsody,” and share a good cry.

In 1965, Mom died of cancer at age 49. I was 17. I couldn’t bring myself to listen to that popular Rachmaninov piece in the decades that followed. If I’d hear it introduced on the radio or in some chintzy TV ad, I’d change stations.

It wasn’t until I was 70 and discovered the Seattle Symphony would feature “Rhapsody” that I knew I was ready to experience a live performance by a distinguished pianist.

As Hough brought the music to life, I noticed more than his stellar performance. There were other teary-eyed, modest sniffles heard ’round the concert hall. Perhaps because I’d only ever listened to “Rhapsody” on a crackly old LP, I had

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no clue anyone else in the audience might be moved to weep.

I later learned that in 1872 British scientist Charles Darwin, famous for his evolutionary studies, also wrote about the emotional power of music.

“Several of our strongest emotions—grief, great joy, and sympathy—lead to the free secretion of tears,” Darwin said, as he described music’s effect on humanity.

I recognized how susceptible I’ve become to music and how it propels and motivates me today when I take part in exercise, cooking, writing, and more.

An article in a recent issue of AARP Bulletin describes how modern-day research explores music’s potential to improve lives. Julene Johnson, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, said we’ve known for centuries about music’s health benefits.

“But there’s more to learn,” Johnson noted. “NIH (National Institutes of Health) just launched a fiveyear research project to accelerate studies on music and dementia.”

When Hough’s Seattle performance ended and my spirits soared, I began to think how “Rach Pag”—as Hough likes to describe it—could trigger tears for any number of reasons. That prompted me to send the pianist an email with my tale.

“Thank you so much for sharing that sad but heartwarming story,” Hough responded. “Actually, I’ve not had any similar stories shared with me, but I am conscious whenever I play that variation that a sort of common sigh runs through the audience.”

Now when I think of “Rach Pag,” I imagine Rachmaninov who, according to Hough, composed this major work in 1934 at his lakeside villa in Lucerne.

A romantic setting for the creation of Rachmaninov’s heartfelt music would have made my mother smile. And the live performance? It was a concert that revitalized sweet memories and love of the mother I lost more than half a century ago.

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.


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Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 21
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Before I ‘Kick the Bucket’

“Bucket List?” The expression was puzzling. When first heard it, I envisioned one of those functional plastic orange Home Depot pails filled with common household supplies, everything from spackle to picture hooks.

The catchy phrase was coined in 2007, popularized in a celebrated film starring wellknown actors Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. In the movie, The Bucket List, two terminally ill men break away from a cancer ward and go off on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they die.

The trendy idea to compile a list of experiences, things to see and achieve before “kicking the bucket” seemed to have merit. Writing pipedreams down could be inspiring

and, possibly, motivation to JUST DO IT.

With determination I set about to compile aspirations in line with a competent linguist, a Nepalese Sherpa, and a Silicon Valley techie. I was well into my sixth decade, but I would move the cobwebs aside in my seasoned brain and stretch the limits of my comfort zone.

On a sun-filled California afternoon, I put pen to paper and began to plan for years of adventure I hoped were still ahead. I made up a list of experiences requiring mental sharpness, physical strength, and a bit of bravery. It was ambitious! They were:

1. Climb Mount Whitney (the highest peak in North America.)

2. Fly over Mount Everest (earth’s highest mountain above sea level.)

3. Learn to read Hebrew.

4. Become scuba-certified and explore the ocean floor.

5. Start a blog.

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I was enthusiastic, eager, challenged. I placed the folded ink-filled sheet safely in my nightstand. I needed to keep these goals close by. And there it rested. Ignored. Forgotten.

The next decade did include many exciting experiences. My husband and I went blackwater rafting in a New Zealand cave, traveled to South Africa on safari, and rode camels in the sweltering Sahara Desert. Locally, I attended body combat classes along with hardbodies half my age. In an intellectual pursuit, I formed a book club with girlfriends, though we focused on lunch more adamantly than discussing chosen novels.

Time had whooshed by and my bedside bucket list was buried until one day, shuffling through the drawer, I found the folded document. I read my goals of 10 years ago with astonishment. Not one item on that bucket list could be checked off.

I considered cheating by adding my actual adventures to the list, just to cross items off. That’s when I rationalized, like everything else in today’s world, a bucket list should be “fluid.” I was older and ever-changing, so my list should reflect this.

I crumbled up the paper, tossing it in the trash. I would create a new plan, a revamped bucket list.

To make amends about my past failure to become scuba-certified, I vowed to watch a documentary on Jacques Cousteau. Instead of a plane flight over Mount Everest, I would read Sir Edmund Hillary’s account, The Ascent to Mt. Everest. I could do this comfortably on the family room sofa, with a steaming cup of coffee. It was an acceptable compromise, I justified.

Goals that seemed beyond the deep dive of my existing senior status would be avoided this time around. With altered thoughts, I set about drafting a new bucket list.

I printed the words in bold black letters: 1. Memorize the Hebrew alphabet—just the letters this time.

2. Read at least one classic such as To Kill a Mockingbird.

3. Travel to a midwestern state so I can say I’ve been there.

4. Try a new activity such as pickleball or jewelry making.

5. Cook something that includes more than four ingredients.

This sounded doable. It was a plan that would keep supplying brain food, but was within reach.

I placed this as a bookmark in the current book club selection, ensuring it wouldn’t be forgotten.

The following week I settled into bed and opened my novel. The paper fell out, blatantly resting on the comforter. Before unfolding the paper, I found myself consumed by thoughts that replayed like a broken record.

Does this bucket list mean anything? When I am dead will it matter? Will anyone know if I accomplished any of these dreams?

I took hold of the paper, walked down the hallway, flipped on the light, and settled down, covered with a soft throw, and reread my words noted a week earlier.

So much was missing.

I pondered, What will be my legacy? What is it that nourishes my heart and fills my soul?

It was suddenly obvious what I wanted to do before I die.

I took hold of the pen, scratched out those bold black letters, and began a third time:

My Bucket List

1. Write my story so that my grandchildren and beyond will know where they came from.

2. Share my good fortune now with those less fortunate.

3. Conserve, recycle, and protect our fragile earth for the future.

4. Tell those I love and cherish what I feel every single day.

Because, seriously, no one cares if I read the classics.

Suzi Schultz Gold is the former marketing director for MCCS Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. After decades of raising children and pursuing a meaningful career, she’s discovered the joy of writing narrative essays in retirement. She published her first memoir, Look at the Moon, in 2021.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 23


become injured, or chronically or terminally ill. Because of this we need to be aware of our options so we can be prepared.

Understanding care options is crucial as we age

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.

Most of us reading this magazine have likely passed the conventional age of retirement and are feeling positive about our future years. There’s a lot to feel positive about. Some of our current commonalities may include:

• We’re retired or have switched to less-demanding work.

• We are healthy, active, and socially engaged.

• We are married or in a stable relationship, and the kids are (hopefully) out of the house.

• Ninety percent of us want to age in place in our own home for as long as possible.

The flipside is that things can change rapidly during this life stage. We may suddenly find ourselves single or in a caregiving role. Or we may

A physician speaking from his wheelchair at a recent Rotary meeting I attended kept referring to the audience as “TABs.” When asked what he meant he explained that “TAB” stands for Temporarily Able Bodied, and that none of us know when we or a loved one will have an EVENT. An event is something that will profoundly change us from who we are today, to who we will be after such an event.

The event could be a bad fall, significant surgery, car accident, heart attack, cancer diagnosis, or the onset of dementia. Don’t think it will happen to you? Statistics show that two-thirds of us will become physically or cognitively impaired before death.

That’s why it is imperative each of us know the structure of the care industry and how to receive the services we may need following our own event.

It may come as a surprise to learn that hospitals focus on performing operations and only serving those with acute care needs. As soon as medically feasible, patients who require prolonged recovery time or convalescence are transferred to a skilled nursing facility. This is where people recover while receiving 24-hour monitoring and skilled care

24 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com PLANNING FOR CHANGE

from nurses and doctors. If physical or occupational therapy is needed to aid recovery it can be provided as well.

The average cost for a stay in a skilled nursing facility in the Seattle Metro area is $13,000 to $16,000 a month. Fortunately, most of the costs are covered by insurance.

As patients get close to being discharged from a skilled nursing facility, doctors and others on the care team confer to make a very impactful decision: Can this patient be released to return to their own home? And if they are released to their home, does their condition require some level of in-home care? Or is returning home no longer an option? In that case the patient or family must find longterm assisted living or memory care designed to handle their ongoing physical, emotional, and/or cognitive needs.

This discharge “gateway” is designed to make sure patients receive the level of care the medical staff believes is critical to their safety and well-being after leaving the skilled nursing facility. Unfortunately, inhome and long-term care are generally not covered by Medicare insurance. Without advance planning, not only will this change be physically and emotionally difficult, but it could also be financially devastating. Therefore, it’s imperative to consider your preferences and options before a lifechanging event happens. In our new column, “Planning for Change,” we will step you through the options currently available—expanding your knowledge and understanding of choices with each issue. But don’t wait for us—start investigating these options for yourself today so you are ready if an unexpected event happens to you.

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Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 25
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Judith Mayotte on the Paradox of Finding Independence Through Community Living

From Judith Mayotte’s floor-to-ceiling, south-facing window on the 6th floor of the Skyline retirement community on Seattle’s First Hill, you can see the raised-bed gardens on the ground below. They are the work of a group of Skyline residents who call themselves the “Late Bloomers.” Mayotte enjoys looking down on the garden, quiet though it is on this February day. It’s one of the many things she appreciates about Skyline, where she has lived for six years.

But Mayotte is no late bloomer. She’s more of a continual bloomer. After a long career of working on refugee issues as a speaker, writer, professor, and advisor to presidents and international NGOs—that’s the extremely short version—Mayotte, who is 87, is far from done. She is now focused on climate change and the role it is playing in the worldwide refugee crisis. This fall, she gave a series of four

talks on climate issues at St. James Cathedral called, “Living Neighbor Love Through Caring for Creation in a Changing Climate.”

And that brings up another thing Mayotte loves about Skyline—its location on First Hill, where she can use her “EV,” aka her electric wheelchair, to get her nearly anywhere she’d like to go, from World Affairs Council gatherings downtown to Benaroya Hall to Seattle University, where she has been a frequent guest speaker in History Professor Tom Taylor’s class on genocide in the modern world.

“When students hear her, they’re just always in awe,” says Taylor. “It’s her life story, as well as her enthusiasm. So as a selfish teacher, who is always trying to get students engaged,” he says Mayotte’s willingness to speak to his classes has been a powerful and inspiring gift.

Mayotte has been traveling via wheelchair since 1993, when she lost her leg, and very nearly her life, in a freak accident in southern Sudan (now South Sudan). She knew the region well because she had spent time there researching her 1992 book, Disposable People? The Plight of Refugees, and she was there at the time on behalf of Refugees International. Suddenly, a plane carrying emergency food and supplies flew in off-target for an aerial drop and she was hit by 200 pounds of bagged grain. Her days of traveling to remote refugee camps were over. But, as she put it, “The bags of grain didn’t hit my head, they hit my leg, and it was my bad polio leg, thank heavens, that got knocked off instead of my good leg. And,” she added, with absolute sincerity, “a lot of good things came out of it.”

She served as an advisor on refugees during the Clinton administration.

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And Professor Taylor hired her to teach at Seattle University. They became good friends. When Taylor and his wife adopted their daughter Alina from Kazakhstan, they asked Mayotte to be her godmother. Mayotte left Seattle to teach at Marquette University, her alma mater, where she was awarded the Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies. She went on to lead several international study programs, including the Desmond Tutu Peace Center and Leadership Academy in Capetown, South Africa, where she lived for seven years.

When she returned to the U.S., she vowed that she would never live in a “place like this with old people,” and instead bought a three-bedroom condo in Washington, D.C., thinking that the third bedroom could be for a caregiver, at some distant point in the future when she might need one. But she was astonished to see that several relatives and friends, many of whom had made the same kind of vow, were now thriving in retirement complexes. She began to think hard about the value of living in community. After all, it was something she had done before, much earlier in her life, when she spent 11 years as a nun: first with the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then with the Maryknoll Sisters.

Her Seattle friends encouraged her to return to the Pacific Northwest. She had already fallen in love with its natural beauty, but even more importantly, she realized it would make sense to be in a living situation where she could quickly make new friends, and easily see friends she already knew, like the Taylors.

“I’ve never been a person who’s planned in my life. So, I can’t say I did a lot of research,” Mayotte says. “I didn’t know anything about a CCRC or anything like that. I didn’t know how good it actually is.” A CCRC,

or Continuing Care Retirement Community (or Life Plan Community) is a long-term residential option for older people who want to stay in the same place through different phases of the aging process. Skyline is what is known as a Type A Life Care community, which allows residents to age in one community, with rates predetermined for future health care needs, for as long as care is needed.

“I just like getting up in the morning and having a full day. I really don’t have a down side. For me, I just feel privileged to be here.”

Mayotte, who is widowed and has no children, appreciates knowing that if or when she needs to, she can move to Skyline’s assisted living or skilled nursing wings, either temporarily— while healing from surgery, for example—or permanently.

But until that time comes, she is swimming laps every morning, and enjoying Skyline’s full calendar of lectures, classes, concerts, good meals, and lively conversations around the dinner table. She has pitched in on several resident committees, and volunteered up the street at St.

James’ meal program. There’s a spirit at Skyline, she says: “I don’t know exactly what it is, but you feel a sense of community. You feel a sense of cohesiveness.”

When I asked her whether there was any downside at all to her current living situation, she paused for several seconds, before commenting that the costs of CCRCs are high and that she feels fortunate to be able to live at Skyline. But she couldn’t think of any other negatives.

“I just like getting up in the morning and having a full day. I really don’t have a down side. For me, I just feel privileged to be here,” Mayotte says. “But I feel like my whole life has been privileged, too.”

Contrary to what she might have imagined a decade or two ago, it turns out that living in an urban retirement community like Skyline, with its many resources, fits Mayotte’s engaged and outwardly focused lifestyle remarkably well.

Her friend Taylor concurs. “She’s just a person who feels engaged with the world. She feels that she has a strong desire to do what she can still do and she goes at it.”

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. She is currently at work on a book of essays and is a regular contributor to 3rd Act Magazine, writing about topics including conscious aging, retirement, mindfulness, and health.

This story was made possible by funding support from Skyline Seattle and Transforming Age—a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of older adults by integrating housing, community services, technology, philanthropy, and partnerships. Go to skylineseattle.org for options and information on residing at Skyline, Seattle’s only Type A Life Care Community.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 27


It’s scary—and I’d put it off as long as I could—but it was time. My daughter needed help with my first grandchild, my knees were never again going to calmly negotiate my three-story home of 35 years, and my son was begging me to come live in his mother-in-law suite—all a thousand miles away from the community I’ve lived in and loved for nearly 50 years. So many, many things to think about and think of. Not the least of which is how will I maintain friendships with my beloved friends? And the follow-on question: How do I make new friends at MY age? I’ve learned that three basic rules apply when settling into a new home and community:

1. It’s up to me.

2. It takes work.

3. It takes time.

That said, there are smart and effective ways to go about each of these. Having moved 11 times since

my first marriage in 1969, and maintaining at least one friendship from each place since the second, I’ve had more opportunities than I would’ve liked to make mistakes and learn loads of lessons. I most recently moved at age 71 to a community where I knew my daughter, her family, and two other people; even using this approach, it took 18 months to develop a satisfying group of friends. After eight years I have a wonderful friendship circle and maintain contact with my important friends from before. I offer the following tips to help you keep the friends you treasure and make new ones in your new location.

Keeping Friends

• Make a list, even a prioritized list, with their contact information. You may already have this information, but moving usually involves a good bit of chaos and having such a list may prove very handy.

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• Have personal business cards made up with your contact information (name, phone number, and email address—no mailing address unless it’s a post office box). Make them colorful and pretty, so they remain visually easy to find for your friends. You will use them in your new location as well.

• Before you move budget time to contact your present friends, ideally one-on-one and in-person. Ask if they’d like to keep in touch and if so, how. It’s probably best not to set a frequency yet, because your schedule won’t be knowable at first. If your memory is like mine, you may want to add their preferences to your prioritized list.

• Some people make an index card for each friend with information such as birthdays, children’s and grandchildren’s names, special events, medical challenges, and more.

• If someone wants to give you a farewell party, hurray!

• Send out an email or group text to your major acquaintances telling them of your move and give them your new contact information. You never know who’s going to be traveling through your new city with delicious news about your old one.

• Once you’re there and a bit settled, budget some time to reconnect. Yes, it will make you homesick, but how on earth will they otherwise know that you’ve “landed” and are ready to resume the connection?

• Subscribe to Zoom Pro on your laptop. If you don’t have a laptop, get one. Resources abound to teach older adults internet fluency, and Zoom is a great way to participate in groups and individual conversations anywhere in the world. If your budget is restricted, there’s a free Zoom option that limits a call to 40 minutes. If you don’t have a laptop, you can use

FaceTime on your smartphone. Honestly, Zoom and FaceTime are very easy to use!

• Send Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, or New Year’s cards with an upbeat update and ask for the same. Some people scoop up greeting cards with an unusual “twist,” and send them not just for birthdays, but for occasions like the first Valentine’s Day after a friend has lost a partner.

• Figure out where your friends can stay if they come to visit you. And the fun part: Where would you take them and what would you show them?

• Visit them periodically if possible.

Making New Friends

Again, it’s up to you and the same three basic rules apply. And honestly, this takes more work but at our age, we know from determination, yes?

Before you start the interactive phase of your newfriendships campaign ask a few friends and/or family members what they find especially interesting about you. No need to construct a standard introduction, which can sound artificial. This simply reminds you that you are, indeed, an interesting person and valuable for other people to know.

Here are some avenues to start connecting with potential friends:

• Before you leave your previous community, ask your friends for introductions to people they may know in your new one. After all, you already have a friend in common.

• If you are moving near a family member or members, ask them for introductions to people they think have interests in common with you—especially, the parents of their friends.

• Volunteer for any kind of organization that interests you. I have found this the very best way of connecting with potential new friends.

• Check out nearby senior centers and their activities, or sign up for activities in your new community.

• Join a church or other spiritual group. Sometimes they can provide transport.

• Look on the Web for meetups that interest you.

• Join a book club and/or writing group at your local library.


Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 29


• Join a support group for people who have just moved.

• Join a Death Café. (At a Death Cafe people gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss, well, death.)

• If you’re so inclined, get a part-time job.

• If you have a dog, consider every other dog owner you encounter along the street a potential friend. Ask their name, not just the name of their dog, and follow up if they seem interesting.

• If you live in an apartment community, volunteer for one of their committees.

In all these situations YOU will have to take the initiative in developing friendships. You’ll find that only about 20 percent of the people you meet will interest you as a potential friend. Some of these won’t be interested

Potential Challenges

You may encounter two strategic challenges that require some cleverness to address: Transportation and slight cognitive loss.


If you no longer drive, you may want to start by figuring out how you’re going to get around, because that’s going to affect your choices. The good news: As we people of distinguished vintage become more numerous, the transport options keep increasing! More good news: I’ve never penciled it out, but I understand from people who have that it’s cheaper to take an Uber or equivalent to where you need to go than to own and operate a car.

When you’re looking at transportation options, do include things like public buses specifically for seniors, and hiring grandchildren just as you would a Lyft driver. Some cities have the organization

and you’ll have to pick up your marbles and move to a different playground. So be it. Also, try to avoid ageism. You’ll meet some people much younger and older than yourself who would welcome a friendship and you’ll love it, too.

Even though you have a wonderful Zoom tool on your laptop, it works much better to meet someone in person first, and then move to Zoom if necessary. Exceptions are things like book clubs and meditation groups.

In sum, you can make it happen! Just bring along your intention, determination, persistence, and the knowledge that you are worth knowing and it will.

Judy Ruckstuhl Wright had an ultra-extroverted mother and lived in one community until she was 25, when moving around with her Swiss inventor husband forced her to figure out how to start making friends on her own. She has been writing and publishing nonfiction for 63 years.

GoGo Grandparents, which oversees your transport choices to ensure your safety. The local Area Agency on Aging can probably introduce you to options you may not sniff out on your own.

Mild Cognitive Impairment:

If you’re experiencing slight cognitive loss—thinking slowly and not recalling names and nouns right away—please know that MANY of us are dealing with the same situation. And you can still initiate deep, meaningful friendships as well as fun, lighthearted ones. How many of us need to discuss the latest nanoparticle configuration discoveries anyway?

30 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

Your 7Forever Exercises

In celebration of the Summer Olympics, here’s your challenge: List seven exercises or activities that you want to do for the rest of your life. I call this your “Forever Heptathlon.”

Heptathletes like Anna Hall compete in seven events encompassing sprinting, jumping, and throwing. Let’s show some love to the Paris games, and to ourselves, by winning at longevity.

Here’s my Forever Heptathlon list:

1) My age in push-ups. I do this every birthday. This year I’ll be 55, so I’ll “owe” 55 push-ups. As I get older, I might modify my push-ups by placing my hands on an elevated surface like a wall.

2) 10% of my age in miles. When I turn 55, I’ll run 5.5 miles. When I become an octogenarian, I’ll cover 8.0 miles in a run/walk.

3) My age in pull-ups. Training for pull-ups strengthens the back, grip, and core muscles. Standing incline rows, using resistance straps, are similar but less demanding. A pull-up requires moving the entire body up and down, whereas with incline rows the feet stay planted.

4) Lift and carry 30 lbs. of cat litter. That’s 15 lbs. of litter for each Chaos Kitten, my gym mascots. If travel is on your Forever Heptathlon list, try suitcase carries. Stand with a weighted object (like a suitcase or kettlebell) outside your right leg. Squat down and grasp the object. Brace your core and stand up. Walk slowly for one minute, then squat to place the object back down. Repeat on the other side.

5) Climb hills and stairs. Every weekend, my wife and I go for long, hilly walks. It’s a tradition we’ll continue forever. Squats build strong quad and glute muscles, which are critical to walking, climbing, and getting up. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Keeping shoulders proud, sit back and slowly lower yourself into an imaginary chair. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause, then slowly stand. To make the movement easier, perform a sit-to-stand,

where you start seated in a chair.

6) Perform Turkish Get-Ups (TGUs). To get up off the floor as we age, TGUs are great to practice now. The TGU is a series of interconnected movements that takes us from flat on our back to standing, while holding a weight overhead.

7) Mow the lawn. I love working in my yard. If you prefer working on your golf swing, glute bridges can help. Lie flat on your back, feet on the floor, with knees bent. Brace your core, press feet into the ground, and press your hips up. Stop when your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees, then squeeze your buttocks, hold for three seconds, and lower.Find more “forever exercise” inspiration by reading about Peter Attia’s Centenarian Decathlon.

Now, Get Started

Once you’ve created your list, I encourage you to start the exercises right away. The more we practice in the present, the greater our success in the future. Good luck and stay strong!

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 summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 31
Mike, 54, and Leo, 12, work on pull-ups training.

Gifts for Father’s Day or Any Day

It doesn’t matter how old we get, receiving a thoughtful gift is always a delight. Here are some of my favorite ageless gift ideas for a dad, grad, or anyone you love.

Pacific Northwest

Mountains Set of 4 Whiskey Glasses

On sale for just $30 for the set. Find at huckberry.com

This set—made from 100% lead-free handblown glass— features raised topographic impressions of the Pacific Northwest’s most iconic mountains: Mt. Rainier, Mt. Olympus, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Hood. Lighter than leaded glass but equally durable, each handblown glass has plenty of room for a few drams of their favorite whiskey, plus any ice and cocktail mix you want to add.

History of Space


Available at Store/NYTimes.com Buckle up and prepare for liftoff as you travel back in time for a fascinating look at how The New York Times reported on the moon, rockets, Sputnik, astronauts and—stop the presses!— canal-building martians. This anthology chronicles the history of space, as told through the pages of the Times. The updated edition includes a brand-new introduction and exclusive photography uncovered in the Times archives. You can even personalize the cover.

Give a Taste of New York

Packages start at about $130 and shipping anywhere in the U.S., is free for orders more than $100. Go to katzsdelicatessen.com

Do you need a perfect gift for someone who loves good food? Give a true New York deli experience with a gift box from Katz’s Delicatessen. This authentic Jewish deli has been family run for more than 100 years in New York’s lower eastside. Now you can get all of Katz’s favorites like house-cured corned beef, tender slow-cooked brisket, and of course, their legendary pastrami in one perfect package that includes pickles, ryebread, and New York bagels. Yum!


Bucket Hat

Different colors from $19.99

Find at Mission.com

Your favorite person will stay cool and protected this summer under the 3” wide brim of this versatile sun hat. The UPF 50 fabric offers excellent sun protection for

32 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

the face, ears, and neck, and when activated with water, it claims to cool up to 30 degrees below average body temperature in under one minute! This bucket hat is foldable for travel, washable, and chemical-free.

Apollo Nureo SmartVibes™


Learn more at apolloneuro.com

MZOO Luxury Sleep Mask

Different styles from $16.99

Find on Amazon.com

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health as we age. I’m a side sleeper and this is my sleep mask of choice. Breathable and soft, I find it to be extremely comfortable and its contoured eye pockets create zero eye pressure. With 100 percent light blocking it’s great for air travel, too!

Speaking of getting a better night’s rest, emerging technology is offering some great new tools. Designed by neuroscientists and physicians to calm the body and restore balance to the nervous system, Apollo delivers gentle, soothing waves of vibration that are scientifically validated to improve sleep and lower stress. This is also the first wearable technology to use both predictive and generative AI to learn about a person’s stress levels and sleep quality to proactively improve sleep and support the body’s recovery from stress.

Oura Ring

Rings start at $299

Learn more at ouraring.com

I have been wearing an Oura Ring since early 2020, and can speak from experience that it is the best health and fitness tracker I’ve ever used. I’m on my second one and am never taking it off. Oura

tracks numerous metrics: your sleep length and quality, your heart rate and heart rate variability, temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and of course your steps and active calorie burn. But it does even more, tracking stress and recovery, and using the combination of all these biomarkers to give a snapshot of your health and resilience, along with recommendations on their easy-to-use app.

Outlive: The Science & Art of Longevity

You can get a signed bookplate copy while supplies last for $24 at PeterAttiaMD.com

Learning how to live longer and healthier is a gift we’d want to give anyone we love. Outlive: The Science & Art of Longevity —from a visionary physician and leading longevity expert—is a groundbreaking manifesto on living better and longer that challenges the conventional medical thinking on aging, and reveals a new approach to preventing chronic disease and extending longterm health.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 33

RICHARD LEWIS: Drawing Water from the Children’s Well

Richard Lewis, 88, teacher and poet, has stayed young by traveling far into the places where children go with their imagination and where he meets them with his. This long journey is the extension of his early poetry, which often dealt with childhood and the beginnings of things.

“All education is put on hold,” Lewis writes in his book, Taking Flight Standing Still, “when a child looks up, trying to read the words the sky is saying.”

His own method, before getting children to write poetry, is to take the sky, for example, as a subject, and have them rub some of its blueness, some of its vastness, onto themselves, into their hands, onto their feet.

He emphasizes in his writing, and in conversation, that the pressure put on children in schools to “factualize the world” staunches “a poetic way of perceiving experience.” A child’s natural way of perceiving experience.

I first met Lewis in 2019 at his old

office in Astoria, Queens, in a building that housed three funeral parlors and a museum, as well as his Touchstone Center for Children, now 54 years old and still connecting with children, via poetry and life dialogues in New York City schools, parks, and playgrounds.

I was struck by the immediate stirring of almost childlike energy whenever he spoke of children. His eyes would shine and his hands move as if to a piece of music both irresistible and inescapable. Four years later, visiting him at his upper East Side Manhattan apartment, I found him pretty much as I recalled him. Short and solid, with a faintly Asian cast to his face. The energy was a bit less, perhaps, but the music, once begun, still animated his life.

As a young poet, Lewis traipsed around the world to compile Miracles (Simon & Schuster), his classic anthology of children’s poetry. He remembers the mud floor of a Calcutta school and the children spread across it, desperately poor, totally attentive.

“I opened my mouth, and they all leaned forward. Something was about to happen…”

What Lewis calls in Taking Flight, “The cell-life of enchantment.”

In the poetry he writes, the native New Yorker’s voice echoes the Chinese masters:

This too is a story, how a boat crossed the sky and in its wake a slow unending trickle of leaves flowed out, covering the dying salamander

Lewis is not unlike that boat, built with a firm sense of purpose, whose oars point interchangeably to sea, sky, heart, and the silence that binds one to the other. A man-made boat, the manufacture of cosmic inspiration.

I asked him what he had to learn to work effectively with children.

“I had to learn to listen. That was the key. That stayed with me since the beginning.” The beginning was an antique shop in Englewood, New

Jersey. He found himself facing a handful of kids, ages 8-11. He began by reciting poetry and saw their eyes glaze over, as if they were back in school again. Suddenly, he changed course, insightfully asking them, “How did you get here today?”

That brought the students to life. The teacher wanted to hear what they had to say. They had a lot to say.

“I began to realize then that I wanted to engage in a conversation with children.”

I never had such a teacher. My own school career was a mix of tedium and shame. Report cards with lots of red circles like Christmas decorations. No teacher to ask me anything of meaning to rouse me from my funk.

I ask Lewis about the effects of the pandemic on children. There is a sigh, a downward look, sadness. A man trying to make sense of a catastrophic storm.

“It’s definitely made children more frightened, frightened of the very circumstances of life itself. For the first time in their lives, its aliveness was taken from them. They couldn’t go out and play. They couldn’t talk to one another. They had to Zoom with teachers sometimes hundreds of miles away. It was very isolating. They had to deal with restrictions that made them fearful of their own childhood.”

How to offset that?

Lewis took a rubber band from the table and began stretching it.

“The rubber band is the sky. Let’s stretch the sky as far as we can stretch it.”

Or, put another way, let’s rebuild what is limitless—let’s rebuild our imagination.

During COVID, like everyone else, he found himself trying to outstep “the enigmatic bacteria that was pursuing us.” It caught up with him after the long season of dying was ending. “I had

mild COVID.”

In the midst of New York’s lockdown, he’d go for long walks in nearby Central Park.

“The park was still the same park. It brought me, like always, deep into the process of nature’s unfolding. Biologically, our aliveness depends on everything around us. We are very fragile.”

We come inevitably to the subject of his mortality, which brings up, as he puts it, “complicated feelings.”

“The realization of how quickly this life goes by. It’s a little scary. But at the same time, it evokes the wonder of still having time, being able to gather insights. Contemplating death, I don’t feel fear. Sadness perhaps. A sadness at what we leave behind: books, poems, loved ones. I do sense one moves into another nature of being, or being of nature.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know what it means.” He laughs. “Let it be a surprise.”

With his life tied to those at the beginning of theirs, his basic equanimity is fed by proximity.

“The wonderfulness of being with children is that their newness is organic.”

And his work mysterious. Lewis realizes how far back it goes, teaching children, and being taught by them. So many lives coming together and separating, listening and being listened to, vanishing and resurfacing down through the ages.

“The oldness of what is still beginning!”

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.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 35
36 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com For the Best Writing on How to Age with Confidence 3rdActMag.com There are 25 terrific articles in this issue of 3rd Act Magazine. There are 1,000 terrific articles on 3rdActMag.com. Why Limit Yourself?

The Power of Connection

Staying Socially


is Worth a Billion

At age 100, Evangeline Shuler—a participant in one of our research studies on healthy aging—was remarkably vivacious. Living in a high-rise senior community in downtown Seattle, she independently rode the bus to doctor’s appointments. She went to weekly senior dances at the Elks Lodge on Shilshole Bay. And she even traveled to Argentina that year with her daughter Lynn.

People often asked Evangeline, “What’s your secret to living so long?”

“I wish I knew,” she would reply. “If I did, I would be a billionaire.”

The more I learn about super-agers like Evangeline, however, the less mysterious their longevity seems. Inherited traits and healthy habits play a part. Exercising regularly, eating a good diet, not smoking, and managing chronic illness are all essential. But I’ve also found there’s an attitude beneath it all that helps people prevent illness and stay vital. They proactively build a lot of positive, healthy social activity into their daily lives.

Simply put, it’s much better to be surrounded by friends and relatives who care about your health, safety, and well-being than to be alone. Most of the benefits are obvious, especially as we face agerelated changes such as limited mobility or the loss of loved ones. Lending a hand to each other in illness, grief, and disability is what friends and family do. But other perks of living and working in a strong community may not be so apparent.

For example, avoiding social isolation makes us more resilient; we’re better able to bounce back from illness when it happens. How social reserves come together for any individual depends on many of factors, such as your culture, family situation, and living arrangements. But those who proactively take steps to connect with others on a routine basis often benefit from their efforts.

In an interview after Evangeline’s death at age 107, Lynn shared stories about her mom’s daily routines.

“Van,” as people called her, made plans each day that would motivate her to get up, get dressed, and get out the door. “She had to think ahead to the friend she was going to meet or the bus she needed to catch,” Lynn said. While in her 90s, Van would meet a group of friends at 8 a.m. each morning for coffee. There was a ritual quality to the gathering; each person was expected to share a story or tell the “daily joke.”

The meeting also served as a safety check. If one member didn’t show up, the group would contact that person to be sure he or she hadn’t gotten sick or taken a fall.

Over many visits to Van’s senior community, Lynn saw her mother’s friends decline physically with age. “Yet, their enthusiasms, laughter, storytelling, and helpfulness to each other continued,” Lynn said.

This arrangement did not occur by chance. Nor did anybody outside of the group make it happen for them. They formed the social circle themselves, knowing it was good for them as individuals and for each other. They took action to create the daily routines that would keep them connected.

This may have been the “billionaire” scheme that kept Van so vibrant over the decades.

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 KaiserPermanente Washington. He co-founded the 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 summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 37 ENLIGHTENED AGING



The Brain Health Project

The Brain Health Project is a scientific study currently being undertaken by the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas, a nonprofit research institute dedicated to helping people understand and address their brain’s health and performance.

The Center for Brain Health team conducts leading-edge research and creates science-backed programs to help people be more proactive about their brain health. The fact that human longevity has increased by more than 50 percent in the last century means that our bodies can outlast our brains. According to the American Heart Association, in 2020, 54 million people worldwide had Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias—a 144 percent increase in the last 30 years.

Many research studies have shown that cognitive decline is largely preventable. The Brain Health Project hopes to prove that most of us can— by adopting healthier brain habits—

preserve, extend, and even improve our cognitive function.

Participating in The Brain Health Project is like having a personal trainer, a brain health coach who will help you improve, track, and measure your brain fitness. They currently have more than 25,000 people enrolled in the study with a target of 100,000 enrollees. The program will track participants for 10 years, building a database of how people respond to various methods designed to improve their brain function. Nearly 80 percent of participants in an early trial experienced improved cognitive performance, with many also noting reductions in stress and anxiety. The good news? You can enroll today for free! Their easy-to-use online platform (https://centerforbrainhealth.org/ project ) gives you access to:

• A unique, science-backed assessment of your brain’s fitness level, which they call the BrainHealth Index. It will provide a snapshot of your brain’s

health and performance, allowing you to track change and improvement over time.

• Interactive, self-paced brain training using what they refer to as Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics (SMART)™ Brain Training and other modules.

• Quarterly face-to-face virtual coaching sessions via Zoom. You’ll work with your coach to set personal goals and start building brain-healthy habits using their online training. Topics include sleep, stress management, and social relationships.

SMART™ Brain Training is the proprietary methodology developed and tested by the Center for Brain Health researchers and other teams over three decades. It teaches techniques that prime the brain, calibrate mental energy, reinforce strategic thinking, and ignite innovation. This methodology provides the building blocks of their brain training programs for individuals.

When you enroll in the brain health program, you might be surprised to learn that there is an opportunity for engagement every day. And they’re not bashful about encouraging you to keep working on your training with text and email reminders. Topics include Strategic Attention, Integrated Reasoning, Innovation, and application of SMART™ strategies. Each session has a short video introduction explaining the purpose of that session, followed by a variety of brain tasks. Each group of tasks takes five to 10 minutes and you’re expected to do one a day. The interface with the program is simple and easy to navigate.

John Owen transitioned from life as a graphic artist/website designer to a biomedical executive at age 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 super-agers.

38 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com


In six short months I will vote in my third presidential election cycle. As a relatively recent voter—my first election was 2016, which feels like a long-forgotten memory rather than eight years ago—I have only two full presidential elections under my belt. Both of those elections included candidates nearly 50 years my senior. And two of those candidates—Joe Biden (81) and Donald Trump (77)—are again on the ballot.

Age is clearly on the ballot. Headlines in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major outlets have put candidates’ ages under the microscope. Age has been the subject of opinion pieces, polls, and President Biden’s own speeches. But not everyone has such minimal voting context as I to pull from. Many voters today have been eligible to vote more than double the time I have been alive.

In our last (spring) issue, I asked younger voters what they thought of age in politics. But what about experienced voters? How do people of similar age to our politicians think about voting for them? Does voting longevity influence views on age and experience? What would they say to their younger voter selves?


Curtis Graf, 68, is a general contractor living in Park City, Utah. The first time he remembers thinking about age during an election was when Ronald Reagan was on the ballot. “He wasn’t that old, comparatively,” Graf recalled thinking of Reagan at the time.

Older age was something he remembers associating with local government officials only.

Donna Kelleran, 69, from Bellingham, Wash., first remembers voting when she was 18. Except for her time at college, she doesn’t recall ever missing voting in an election at either the national or state level.

Age isn’t an issue for Kelleran when voting for a candidate. “I’m looking for the quality of the person and their ability to get the

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job done,” she says. “Age plays no role anymore, in anything.”

In 1972, Randy Suhr, 70, of Seattle cast his first vote in a presidential election. At that time, Suhr doesn’t recall thinking about age. “I don’t think we thought of people being too old to govern based on their biological age. I think, if anything, we just thought they were all too old and out of touch with what we, the younger generation, were interested in.”

Suhr thinks that age is partially obscuring potential conversation around policy today. If people weren’t discussing age as a factor in the election, “then maybe we would be talking more about issues,” he says.



Kelleran notes that experience is the top priority for her when voting. “I’ll vote for you if you’re young, old, or whatever if I think you’re qualified,” she says.

The difference between biological age and experience is something that came up often while interviewing voters for this article. “I think you need a certain amount of age to have experience,” Graf says. But he is not exactly confident that a lifetime in the political sphere leads to better candidates. Career politicians risk being out of touch with everyday

voters, which Suhr also mentions.

“I don't want someone who’s had a lifetime in politics,” Graf says, “but I do want someone who’s had enough experience to know how the system works.” As a solution, Graf suggests implementing both age and term limits on candidates, an idea younger voters also suggested to me.

Kelleran describes the difference between younger and experienced voters as an issue of scope. “When you’re younger, you only have one or two policies that you’re interested in. I have a broader vision of what I need out of a candidate,” she says.

“One good thing age does is give you a broader view of what happens,” Suhr notes, of voting and seeing change (or stagnation), compared to voters who have less experience to draw from. My two election cycles don’t provide nearly as much context as Suhr’s 13.

While she did not express support for term limits like Graf, Kelleran advocates for a change in the way we see voters around her age.

Experienced voters—and politicians—are often viewed from an ageist perspective as “your grandparents, in the walkers,” Kelleran says. “That’s certainly a percentage of the population. But there are a lot of us out here who are not that way,” she adds. “So why are you focusing on, you know, that half or that third of the population? The rest of us, we’re not going down without a fight, and it’s not an easy fight.”


Graf has never declared for a political party in all his years as a voter. But looking back on his younger voter self, he sees room to have “work[ed] a little

harder to educate myself.” Coming from a family of liberal voters, Graf says he discounted other sides of the political spectrum early on.

Suhr echoed that statement: “Looking back, I think what I would have said is get more involved.”


Graf also suggested becoming more active in politics earlier on. “Sooner is always better in politics. You don’t like the way things are going, why wait?”

Kelleran advocates for a wider acceptance of voters across the age spectrum. As a person growing up in the 1970s, she says her generation has been advocating for many of the same issues we face today since she cast her very first ballot. While she has “no problem passing the torch” to younger generations, Kelleran would like to see more intergenerational appreciation. “I think it’s about loving and honoring the younger generation for what they will bring to the party,” she says.

But she also feels that the younger generation should “honor me for what I have brought to the party.”

“I think it’s smart of young people to question the age of their leaders. I have no problem with that,” Suhr says. I also have no problem with that. But as a younger voter I think it’s still important to seek out guidance from


Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 41




those who have experience voting in elections—especially in elections beyond the past two cycles. But it will take voters of all ages—those who are new like me to those who have been voting for years— to change how we think about age in politics. Kelleran advocates for a similar type of intergenerational thinking: “The generation that is alive today paved the road. We paved the way to openness,

to voting rights, to women's rights. Hell, the road now has potholes. It’s the younger generation that needs to fill them in and continue down the path.”


In addition to encouraging early political involvement by younger voters, the experienced voters I interviewed all advocate for something important: context. Voting in the upcoming election is a small but important drop in the electoral bucket. Seeing how each vote lands throughout one's electoral history—as these individuals have since their first vote at 18—is an important part of the process. Younger voters like me don't have this decades-long perspective.

The candidate’s age is not what these seasoned voters are looking at.

Experience and a candidate’s position on issues won out easily in our conversations. Maybe that's because these voters have electoral comparisons to draw from over numerous election cycles. My context is based on just two very fraught elections. This made me reflect on how early in this process I am. These experienced voters showed me where it was possible to go—and how important it is to see one election within a broader scope. Until we gain more context, young voters like me might do well to consider the perspective experienced voters offer, and to listen and follow their lead.

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 https://fletcherzachary.weebly.com/.

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

In the Driver’s Seat

In your ongoing journey engaging with life, you can take greater control of the ways you travel and the destination you seek

From the moment you were born, you set out on a path of living, hopefully into a long, vibrant old age. If you’re lucky, you’ve been able to sustain a pattern of healthy development throughout your later years. However, how smoothly you travel today can be determined by certain challenges you may not have encountered in youth and midlife—precisely because you’re an older adult.

In some important ways, our later years can be a time in which it may be harder to participate in activities and stay engaged with others. The reasons for this change can be physical, social, or even psychological, any of which can stop us from meeting new people or doing worthwhile things.


Take, for example, the way our bodies change as we age.

“The physical wear-and-tear our bodies experience over time can take a toll on our ability to remain as active as we once were,” says Barbara Raynor, founder and voice

of AgingisLiving, an online informational and inspirational resource created to help people feel better about aging in order to age better and live longer.

“Overcoming those challenges in order to remain active and engaged requires a certain amount of strength, resilience, and determination,” Raynor continues. “Without the impetus or physical ability to ‘get up and go,’ it is easy to understand how older adults can believe that life is passing them by— and wrongly beat themselves up about it.”

How we deal with our physical abilities is one thing, but how our ageist society views us can be equally challenging.

Marc Freedman, founder and co-CEO of CoGenerate (formerly Encore.org), and author of How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations, wrestles with this issue in his work, namely, regarding how age bias affects relationships (or lack of them) between generations.

He describes society’s ongoing, longstanding barrage of stereotypes describing older adults “as they move into their 60s or even earlier, with twin messages that they are past their prime and should move to the sidelines. At the same time, the idea of leisure and disengagement— the golden years notion—has been sold relentlessly. The end result is both a push and a pull leading older people out of the mainstream.”

Raynor would agree that cultural ageism is baked into certain roadblocks and obstacles in the very infrastructure of our society. “So many other factors can prevent an older person from fully engaging with their community: lack of transportation, caregiving responsibilities, lack of available programming, lack of access to digital resources, lack of knowledge about the various ways to engage, social isolation, feeling unwelcome— the list goes on and on.”

Moreover, the ageism that causes these kinds of roadblocks and obstacles can affect us psychologically. When


Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 43
Get Started Celebrate Ok to Change Stay Open PLAN

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.


we allow ourselves to believe in the ever-present advertisements and jokes about old people being clueless, cranky, incompetent, irrelevant, and stuck in our ways, we accept that script and internalize that ageism. These reactions can cause us to halt our journeys by disengaging and isolating from others.

There’s no reason for us to limit ourselves to motoring on side roads in the third act of our lives, let alone giving up the car keys altogether. No matter our individual situation, there are ways we can remain in the driver’s seat, enjoying new adventures.

STEP 1: Get in the Car

Raynor asserts that the first step is to recognize your need and desire to make a change. “As is the case with developing any new habit,” she says, older adults “first need to make the decision to do it—and then follow through with that decision.”

“Make a trial commitment to start,” suggests Freedman, “long enough to get a flavor of the activity but without making any long-term pledges. It usually takes two or three different experiments to find a good fit.”

It can be helpful to remember what research has shown—that regularly engaging socially is as healthy for your body and spirit as eating the right foods and exercising daily. Whatever activities you embrace should be as important to you as staying physically fit.

STEP 2: Choose a Route

Once you understand that you’re in control of the trip you’re making, you can set off in any direction you wish.

“Start slow but start,” says Raynor.

Be curious and open to exploration and change. Begin with who you are and who you want to be.

“There are a couple of ways to accomplish this,” Raynor explains. “The first is to identify what those needs and desires may be via a little bit of healthy self-reflection and then look for opportunities that address them.

“For instance, if you’re a person who thrives on being outdoors, seek out ways to engage in outdoor activities. If you’re a lifelong learner, look for classes offered by local adult-learning programs, community centers, or even institutions of higher learning,” Raynor continues. “If you’re looking for a way to fill yourself up spiritually, find a house of worship that reflects your values, try a yoga or meditation class, or find a like-minded group of people who are searching just as you are.

“The second way—especially if you’re unsure as to what you’re really looking for—is to try something new. Volunteering is a great way to not only make a difference in your own life, as well as the lives of others, but it’s also an excellent way to meet like-minded people, learn new skills, achieve a sense of purpose, and even fulfill a lifelong dream.”

Some volunteer activities to consider are serving on a community council or committee, assisting at an animal shelter or food bank, delivering meals, reading children’s books at a library’s story time, or being an elementary school lunch buddy.

These last two suggestions offer ways to connect with much younger folks. Freedman has tips for engaging with other people of different ages. “Overall I believe in the importance of the three Ps: proximity, purpose, and practice. First, put yourself in settings where there are opportunities to interact with other age groups; second, look for opportunities that further bring you together with other generations around

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shared interest; and finally, and best of all, seek out ways to collaborate on those shared interests.”

Keep in mind that choosing a route doesn’t stop you from changing directions or adding on more ways to travel.

STEP 3: Reach Your Destination

As you settle into a new activity, appreciate how far you’ve come, alone or with others. Freedman suggests checking in from time to time: “Keep a monthly diary of lessons learned, both positive and less uplifting examples. And try to arrange periodic get-togethers with others engaged in these activities to compare notes and mark progress.”

Furthermore, know that what you’ve done can impact more than your own life. According to Freedman, “We all need to be role models for thriving in a multigenerational world—in how we live, work, learn, care, and play.”

“The knowledge, experience, and wisdom older

adults bring to society is something that should be cherished, rather than dismissed or taken for granted,” says Raynor. “It is time that society recognizes our older adult population as the gift and important resource that it is—and treat it accordingly.”

Know that as you engage with society, you enable society to better engage with—and benefit from—you.

Surely that’s a road we should all be traveling along together.

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Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver

I was 50 when I accompanied my younger sister’s trek across the country to move into our childhood home in Southwest Washington with our aging, widowed mother. My sister was leaving a big job and planned to turn our father’s spacious workshop into an art studio and see if she could make a living being a creative. Our independent and feisty mother didn’t need much help then—or thought she didn’t. Still, I knew living with her would be challenging, and when I flew home to North Carolina, I thanked the universe I wasn’t the one moving into my old bedroom in the basement. I could never do that.

Flash forward 10 years. It’s the day after my 60th birthday as I load my diabetic cat into my aging Honda CRV to drive across country. Yes, I’m moving to the bedroom where

I had studied the periodic table and diagrammed sentences in high school. My mother, at 96, increasingly needs more help (though still in denial), and I am ready to return to the Pacific Northwest. Five years earlier my sister had moved from our mother’s house to the back of the functional-art boutique she opened in town.

I offer to live for one year with my mother. I can do anything for one year. And I will be back in the mountains

and fir trees and the rain of my true home. The plan is that my sister and I will get our mother moved to some kind of assisted living and clean out the house my parents have stashed stuff in for more than 50 years. I will find a job, a home of my own, and resume my life. It will be a middle-aged gap year. But we didn’t formalize a plan. My mother didn’t move. I didn’t get on with my life. And her care became my life as I tried to hold on to my sanity.

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Over the next four and a half years, my mother and I would fall back into the pattern of the relationship we had when I was a teenager—each of us determined to win the war of independence. Me losing every battle. She hung on to life, and I increasingly felt I was losing a grip on mine.

As she became more cognitively and physically impaired, including near blindness, I became more isolated and more unemployable—or feared that I would. I insisted she have part-time paid companions so I could spend time with grandchildren and do some

hiking and camping, which was the reason I wanted to come home. She kept firing them—declaring that she didn’t need them—while I vetted the next candidate.

I cajoled her primary care physician into referring her to hospice care. Though being nearly a century old is not considered a terminal diagnosis, my 80-pound mother got in on weight loss and congestive heart failure. The weekly visit by a nurse and the twiceweekly bath aide improved both our lives. Over the next years, she was discharged and readmitted several times, as she thrived under good care by someone with letters after their name. “It’s the best insurance around,” the nurse told me, “but Medicare doesn’t understand that.”

Two months after the 100th birthday party bash my sisters and I threw for her, she fell in the hallway and broke her wrist and shoulder on her dominant arm. She could no longer push the walker she had recently started using, toilet herself, get up and

(Facing page) The author and her mother (96) in 2012, two weeks after her arrival in Washington state; (Left) The author and her mother, Stellajoe, at her 101st birthday; (Below) Stellajoe and her three daughters at the Million Mom March in Washington, D.C., [for gun control legislation] in 2000.

down from a chair or bed, or, for a while, feed herself. Caregiving was 247, except for a few hours a week when a caregiver came to the house.

During my years with her, I was steadfast in my resolve to take care of myself—weekly coffeeshop dates with a friend, yoga, hiking, and time with my grandsons a couple of hours away. Over my mother’s objections (“she’s too busy”), I insisted my older sister come for week-long visits every several months from her home across the country so I could visit my older grandsons in North Carolina, go to writing retreats, and commune with nature from my tent. Self-care was my superpower.

After my mother’s fall, though, and three years longer than I had meant to stay, I was done. With some family pushback and several false starts, we moved my mother to assisted living— the best we could find on short notice— where she lived under the constant oversight of my sister and me for the last 18 months of her long life.

The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP estimate that nearly 42 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult over the age of 50—most of them family—for an average of more than four years. Seventy-five percent are women. As of 2021, the estimated value of care provided by family caregivers: $600 billion. And they lose an estimated $522 billion in income a year because they are caregiving. Forty-four percent of them felt they had no choice. What these numbers don’t show is how many of these caregivers are burned out, in ill health themselves (often due to the stress of caring for another), or suffering from depression.

Here’s the kicker: The number increased by 9.5 million between 2015


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and 2020, the increase led by those caring for a parent. Almost 10,000 Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—turn 65 every day. By 2030, all Boomers still living will be 65 or older. As the caregivers become the care recipients, we are living longer, but not necessarily healthier. The big question: Who will care for us?

The National Council on Aging reports that 80 percent of older Americans can’t afford long-term care and even those with less modest assets won’t be able to afford more than two years in a nursing home or four in assisted living. Yet one in seven will need care for five years or more. Since Medicare does not cover longterm care costs, older adults and their families must shoulder the expense or spend down their assets into poverty to qualify for social safety net programs such as Medicaid.

The U.S. is one of just three

developed countries without a national family leave program (Caring Across Generations). Only 11 states and the District of Columbia have a state policy (AARP). The National Library of Medicine cites a study that concludes social and public policy changes must be met soon to meet the long-term care needs of Boomers: “Meeting the financial and social service burdens of growing numbers of elders will not be a daunting task if necessary changes are made now rather than when Baby Boomers actually need long-term care.”

I unexpectedly spent four years neither on a retirement plan nor paying into social security and then was beyond an age to find meaningful employment. Other children care for a parent (or two) much longer than I did, go longer without a paycheck, and have fewer options than my family did.

My mother was lucky. She had family willing to accompany her on her long walk “home,” assets to pay for

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

An initiative that threatens to eliminate the WA Cares program 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

care, and she was relatively healthy. But the family had never talked about her future after her husband of 51 years died 23 years before she did. What did we think was going to happen? We don’t talk about our own aging because it’s terrifying. Our children, if we have them, will be left to figure it out.

Gretchen Staebler is the author of the awardwinning memoir, Mother Lode: Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver, a candid story of the six years she spent walking her mother home. She is a grandmother, a caregiver ally, and is working on a second memoir. She lives with her cat in her childhood home in Centralia, Wash.

This story was made possible by funding support from AARP Washington and BECU. For more information, tips and resources for family caregivers in Washington state, go to: www.aarp. org/caregiverswa.

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 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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3rd Act RAIN OR SHINE, MY MEDICATION SUPPLY WON’T RUN DRY. BEFORE A DISASTER STRIKES, TAKE CONTROL. ASSESS YOUR NEEDS MAKE A PLAN ENGAGE YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK When it comes to disasters and emergencies, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Let’s prepare so we all have a better story to tell. Get started at Ready.gov/OlderAdults

Get Engaged

Chuck Ron Janis The Puget Sound Chapter of Volvo Sports America meets at Third Place Books

Are you a natural joiner? Or do you cringe at the thought of introducing yourself in a cluster of chattering people? Either way, you probably already know that being socially engaged adds years to your life, yet many folks lose connections after they retire, move to a new city, or lose a spouse or partner. How can you find your tribe and reap the benefits of staying mentally, physically, and emotionally engaged as you age? Just how much schmoozing is required?

Studies show that social engagement adds to our longevity even more than breathing clean air, quitting smoking and drinking, or getting those vaccines. (See chart at right).

As a naturally gregarious person with no fetters, I easily connect with people in the checkout line or sitting next to me at the theater. I’m an organizer/inviter. Alone time is important to me, too, I just need less of it than some people. But not everyone finds it easy to stay connected. Of course there are always book clubs through the library, gardening at your local pea patch, or reading to kids at the local

as You Age

elementary school. I decided to ask a few people to share how they stay socially engaged.

Joanne, retired last year, offers a tip: “You could start by answering the question, ‘What are the things that delight me?’ For me, besides family and friends, it’s birds, orcas, sailing, political and environmental advocacy, and community engagement. Just by Googling things important to you, you find organizations that are involved in those issues.” Their websites may show if they have classes, gatherings, or how to volunteer.

Here are ways to get socially engaged either by being a gentle joiner or by jumping in:

Stay Connected Professionally

Rhonda, 71, has kept involved in her professional life by joining Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG), the international society for women educators. She served as president of the local chapter and continues to mentor others. It made it easy to continue to be around experts in her field a few times a month so retiring wasn’t as abrupt.

Clean Air

Hypertension Rx

Thin vs. Overweight


Cardiac Rehab

Flu Vaccine

Quit Alcohol

Quit Smoking

Close Relationships


I have often used the large workspace at Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park as an alternative working spot. On several days, I’ve noticed a group of men chatting. Armed with a few 3rd Act magazines to leave as a peace offering, I stopped by one day to ask how the group got started. They are retired Boeing engineers who get together monthly. They don’t talk about work as much, but can connect on a level that they don’t with their other friends.


Chuck, 84, is a retired Human Resource Manager. He is chair of Healthy Families of Clallam County, which serves families of domestic and child abuse. He has been president of both his local and district chapters of Rotary International and has loaded bags of groceries for the local food bank and worked in community dining, which serves a need for so many in Port Angeles. “Sometimes you just need to be there,” he says.

Kathy, 68, volunteers for her local housing consortium.

If you think that volunteering requires a long-term commitment or more days or hours per month than you intend, consider that many organizations need extra hands to work at their annual fundraising event for one night, just a few hours.

Take a class

What do you have to lose? No one is evaluating you and you don’t have to get good at it. I took tap dance classes and lived!

Chris, 72, had played tennis on and off while working. Once he had more time, he called a few friends to play, but it was usually a one-off and he didn’t find any regular partners. So he joined a club and took tennis lessons. There, he met


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Socially 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Get Engaged as You Age


people who were at his level and they began to play outside of the lesson. Chris says, “Now I have a list of 40 people I can play with. I also organize one of the groups. It’s both social and physical and much more enjoyable than trying to create a group on my own.”

Join a new group

Recently, back at Third Place Commons again, I watched as about 20 older men gathered chairs and moved tables right in front of me. Grabbing my latest 3rd Act issue and introducing myself, I learned they were a vintage Volvo owners club. The purpose of the Puget Sound Chapter of Volvo Sports America is to encourage the ownership, proper operation, maintenance, and restoration of out-of-production model Volvos.

Dale, who retired in 2016, and the current club president says, “Once retired, most club members have the time, energy, and means to do something they’ve been interested in for years.” About 85 percent of the members are retired and the club not only talks about repairing and restoring their old classics, they are a social support. Dale adds, “Not everyone has the DNA to be friendly, so we assign another member to the new ones to be their wingman.” He also knows that men, in particular, might feel vulnerable asking for help, and might not have the courage to offer help. So the club helps support members. If they have a medical incident, the club sends flowers and keeps in contact with them. People are discovering senior centers, realizing they are quite different than the stereotype conjured up in the past. Janis, 71, has already participated in an activity offered by the East County Senior Center in Monroe and is considering joining. “I never thought the senior center offered such fun activities until I read through the calendar,” she says. Take a look—it’s not your grandmother’s senior center.


Kathy, a retired leadership trainer and human resource professional, uses her skills at her local church by coaching the lectors not only in public speaking techniques, but also where to stand and how to use a microphone. Joanne teaches sailing; Rhonda teaches art both online and in-person.

Stealth Activities

What about being there in-person without saying a word?

0Is it being social? It is for some people. Go to a library, attend a lecture, sit in a room with folks to write postcards and letters to get out the vote.

Ron, 77, approaches new groups more slowly. “There is a degree of comfort and safety in being known, not a complete stranger. It doesn’t have to be big gestures or grand introductions.” Small courtesies grease the social navigations throughout the day.

Is all this still too much in-person schmoozing? Well, buckle up! A positive outcome of the pandemic is that almost everyone has learned to use Zoom, Teams, FaceTime, Skype, or just to lurk on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platforms. You can see what your friends and family are up to. You can take or teach a class, attend a lecture, or even a birthday party when you can’t get there in-person.

Chuck plays chess online. “I stopped playing against a computer. I learn more by playing with a human—they make more mistakes and I can learn more.”

And don’t forget to combine exercise with socializing— get a walking partner, take a Tai Chi class, or go to water aerobics.

What about people who don’t have the privilege of being socially active on their own? There are people who aren’t comfortable with technology, or those who can’t access community transportation and no longer drive. Some have physical or mental health issues that prevent them from joining in, or don’t have the financial means to pay membership dues or buy tickets to the theater. Here is the opportunity for those who do enjoy these privileges to help out. It doesn’t have to be through an organization.

Bill, 67, has already connected with neighbors in his new city. After caring for his dad long-distance, he knows that neighbors can be vital to an isolated older adult’s well-being. He reminds us, “It’s ok to check on a neighbor you haven’t seen around lately. It’s ok to knock on their door, leave a basket of fruit, or leave a note with your phone number inviting them to call if they need something.” If you believe someone is in jeopardy of being isolated or neglected, call 211, which connects callers—at no cost—to critical health and human services in their communities in Washington state. Will you spend most of your day channel-surfing or finally learn mahjong? As my dad used to say, “The trouble with doing nothing is you never know when you’re done!”

Dori Gillam writes and speaks on creative aging, resilience, and ageism. She facilitates Wisdom Cafes and tours the state with her presentation, “What’s Age Got to do With It?” A lifelong Seattle resident, Gillam has worked for Sound Generations, AARP and is Board Chair for the Northwest Center for Creative Aging. Learn more at www.dorigillam.com.

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Staying Put


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Lost Lost IN trAnslaTion

Iwas playing pickleball with an eclectic group of adults who crossed the spectrum of ages and abilities. We met in a beginning adult education class called Pickleball Basics. The group was social and, for the more athletic, pickleball checked the recommended “exercise” box.

After a morning of dinks and drop shots, winners and losers, Melinda proposed we collect money “for a gift card to DoorDash” for a player having

surgery. “Just Venmo me whatever you want to contribute,” she says.

Venmo? The money wasn’t an issue, but I asked, “Doesn’t anybody write checks anymore?” She responded that I could give her cash the next game day. I felt past my expiration date, like moldy cheese that had overstayed its refrigerator life. I emailed, “I am a Venmo virgin. What do I do?”

She sent me directions. I downloaded the “app”—a word now in my updated vocabulary—and murmured a few swear words. I resisted calling my daughter for help. I was determined to conquer this. My blood pressure returned to normal when I received the message: “You have paid.”

A month later I received another request for donations for a sick friend. Flowers would

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brighten her day, the email noted. I was happy to participate. Then came the direction, “Just Zelle me.” Seriously? I wanted to respond, “Doesn’t anybody write checks anymore?” But that was too embarrassing. I Googled, “How to use Zelle.”

After logging into my bank, I followed the instructions. I was anxious. I didn’t want to send money to someone in Nairobi. What if I sent it to the wrong person? I decided to go for it, rationalizing that ‘someone in Nairobi might need a lift even more than my ailing friend.’ I took a breath and clicked SEND.

With ambitions of becoming a techie, I registered for a computer class at the local high school. I want to create a blog for older adults who share my frustration with keeping current in our rapidly evolving technical world. The class was comprised of business owners and entrepreneurs—most young enough to be my children.

In the first 20 minutes of class, I was 30 minutes behind. The instructor barreled through the lecture, moving the cursor on the large screen like an Energizer Bunny. He incorporated a whole new vocabulary as I fumbled around: Figma, plug-ins, widgets, domain, IconScout. I nodded through the next two hours, though the total evening was lost in translation.

Last Thursday, the weekly ad arrived from our local grocery store. My favorite Minute Maid sugar-free lemonade was on sale! This is my nightly go-to cocktail. I drove to the store and loaded my basket with every bottle of lemonade in the cooler. Feeling smart—I was saving enough for a Grande at Starbuck’s—I began to scan each bottle at self-checkout. WAIT! The price shown on the screen was the regular price.

Noticing my confusion an employee asked if I had clipped the digital coupon. Huh? Please translate. After downloading the store app she gave me a lesson in clipping a coupon— no scissors needed—into my “Just-4-You” digital purse.

I wonder who needs a real wallet anymore. They are outdated. Forget about giving one as a graduation gift full of green stuff. Today’s kids wouldn’t know what to do with it. Just send the gift by Venmo or Zelle—no Hallmark card required.

The other day I stopped at Target for a few items. I got in line behind a smiling woman about my age. As we waited, she began a friendly chat. Her basket was full, and I considered moving to another line. I was eager to get home but, admittedly, was enjoying our conversation.

I felT past my expiration date, like moldy cheese that had overstayed its refrigerator Life.

Finally, my new friend was next in line and began to unload her items. One by one, in achingly slow motion, she placed each item on the conveyor belt. On and on until finally, the basket was empty. Could this count toward her 30 minutes of daily exercise recommended by AARP? It took forever. I was getting impatient and more annoyed by the minute.

The cashier totaled the bill, “That will be $67.59.”

That’s when I saw her reach into her purse. And just like that, I discovered who still writes checks these days.

Suzi Schultz Gold is the former marketing director for MCCS Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. After decades of raising children and pursuing a meaningful career, she’s discovered the joy of writing narrative essays in retirement. She published her first memoir, Look at the Moon, in 2021.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 55


“Do you feel your new Qi energy?” Arms stretched overhead, 16 women nodded dutifully. We’d flown and driven plenty of Qi-draining hours from all over the country to participate in Road Scholar’s Rejuvenation Retreat for Women. The Qigong class was our introduction to five days of meditation, yoga, and hiking in the California Redwoods with a retired forest service ranger. Also, vegetarian meals eaten communally with the monks and nuns who lived at the Buddhist center serving as the venue.

Come evening, sharing wine over talk that inevitably turned to our lives and adventures, we reminisced about the advantages of group trips we’d taken in the company of ageadjacent travelers planned by professionals who managed all the logistics. For some, it was the only way they traveled.

The group’s average age was 68, and included four highspirited women in their late 70s who’d been best friends since Catholic school (they brought the wine), a mother and daughter duo, and 10 of us who arrived not knowing a soul. Many were experienced participants in 50+ travel who’d done group trips through Morrocco and Africa, walking holidays on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, and Mark Twain voyages

on the Mississippi River in an old-time paddleboat. Two were first-timers. A few of us relished our singleton status in the company of others, while some were tentatively testing the waters of travel without a spouse or companion.

Group Trips

Open the World to Solo Travelers and Couples, Too

Our collective experiences illustrated just how much times have changed, particularly for women. It is now socially acceptable for singletons to join group trips for older adults. Those excursions attract lifelong learners, a friendly, sympathetic lot interested in meeting new people. “I may begin the trip alone,” explained a fellow retreatant on her 10th Road Scholar excursion, “but I don’t remain alone. I’ve made new friends and met travel buddies.”

The nonprofit Road Scholar began in 1975 as Elder Hostel. Originally designed as an educational program on college campuses, clients began asking for more experiential and adventure travel and the program expanded. This year it has 4,000 offerings, with 85 percent of the solo travelers on their trips women.

“The solo trend started more than a decade ago and has continued to gain steam. Back in 2017, 27 percent of our travelers

56 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

were solos. In 2019, it was 39 percent, and 47 percent in 2021. Today, it’s 50 percent,” according to Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), another leader in the 50+ travel industry.

That demand is changing the dreaded single supplement, often a deterrent for single travelers who don’t want to pay the double occupancy price. OAT’s website, “Solo Experiences” includes a list of trips with free or low-cost single supplements. This year Road Scholar is offering 11 solo-priced adventures including trips to India, Italy, and Peru. On their website click “Find a Trip” for descriptions and pricing. Both companies also match up singletons who want to share accommodations.

The booming travel market has also realized there is a demand for specialized active 50+ trips. Newer companies have emerged including Walking the World, offering group walking tours for the adventure inclined in places like Ireland, Portugal, and Costa Rica, and Senior Cycling, a company featuring multi-day cycling trips with 2024 excursions that include Quebec, Cuba, and the Erie Canal.

A word of caution: Make sure to research thoroughly before booking. Some companies bill themselves as “senior friendly,” which often means a mixed-age travel group and itinerary. Those designed explicitly for our demographic consider additional factors such as the day’s pacing and activities, exertion levels, and accommodations that don’t require hauling bags up five flights of stairs. And they advertise their excursions by activity

level. They often build more educational programming into their trips and provide more advance information knowing their mature clients want to make informed decisions. OAT, for example, has 4,000 trip preview videos on its website, many produced by former clients.

Facebook groups can be a source of helpful advice, earnest trip reviews, suggestions for future travel, and kind encouragement from fellow travelers. Check out groups such as Solo in Style: Women Over 50, Traveling Solo for Ladies 70, Solo Travel Society, Solo Travel Wisdom for Women over 50, and Women of Road Scholar.

Group travel provides social interaction, convenience, safety in numbers, and companionship. And while I’m a big proponent of all things multi-generational, there is something to be said about taking a journey in the company of others who also have decades of life experience. After all we are, as Road Scholar describes us, “students of the world, the guests you hope to sit next to at a dinner party. They’ve led interesting lives because they’re interested in everything.”

Ann Randall is a freelance writer, organizational consultant, and independent traveler who loves venturing to out-of-the-way locales, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. Retired from a career as a teacher and union organizer in public education, she now observes international elections, does volunteer work in India, and writes regularly for 3rd Act, Northwest Travel & Life, West Sound Home & Garden, Fibre Focus, and Dutch the Magazine.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 57
Facing page clockwise from left: OAT Vietnam, 3rd Act OAT trip to Galapagos Islands, 3rd Act OAT trip to Croatia. This page clockwise from top left: 3rd Act OAT trip to Machu Pichu, OAT trip to Peru.

Layered Living

There’s a rule of thumb for travelers when contemplating trips to places with changing weather—dress in layers! That concept taps into three attributes I consider important for aging: Flexibility, adaptability and resilience. Discovering what is possible and appropriate at any given time relates to more than just travel. I now see how layers apply to more than clothing choices. I see the relationship to friendships, learning, and of course food!

I recently decided that the apartment complex I moved to five years ago fits the description of a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, or NORC. The term describes neighborhoods and buildings originally built for general occupancy— families, students, professionals—that have evolved into places with higher concentrations of people who qualify as older, think age 60+.

In the past few months I have met a group of women who recently moved into the complex and begun to hang out together. We walk around our nearby lake, meet at pubs for trivia night, and plan progressive meals.

We are getting to know each other, with some of the relationships deepening to become mutually supportive for the variety of life events and needs at this stage in our lives.

I think of my friendships as being similar to the layers of an onion. My oldest and closest friends are at the center, with each succeeding layer comprised of people I know from work, my Jewish community, or new people who find me through my writing or community involvement.

A friend told me a saying I hadn’t heard before: You can’t make old friends! Deep friendships take time and mutual discovery of shared interests and experiences. I know I won’t become close with everybody, although I believe it is always possible to find something worth sharing with a new person if there is mutual opportunity and intention.

I like to remember that the word company has roots in Latin, literally being with people over bread. Sharing a meal is still the best way to get to know people.

Back in the day, when potlucks became the easiest way to get a crowd together to share, you could count on a number of casseroles showing up on the table. Summer eating, which discourages heating up the kitchen as temperatures soar, provides the perfect season for a layered approach.

Once you learn the basic principles of layers, you can get as creative as you want. The following recipes can be considered old friends or new match ups. And the ones that require baking happen early in the day.

Rebecca Crichton is executive director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that

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.

topic in the

Four-Layer Egg Salad and Caviar Dip

My mother used to whip up a version of this to offer at luncheons and before a light meal. The layers of egg salad, red or green onion, flavored cream cheese, and whichever affordable caviar you find work ideally on crackers or toast. You can even chill it in a mold for a more elegant presentation

I ngredients

• 6 large hard-cooked eggs, chopped (I use an egg slicer, inserting the egg both ways to get an even dice)

• 2 Tbsp. sour cream

• 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 c. finely chopped red onion, rinsed and dried

• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

• 1/3 c. thinly sliced fresh chives

• 2 ounces caviar (either red salmon eggs or black caviar such as paddlefish)

• Water crackers or melba toast


Stir together chopped eggs, sour cream, mayonnaise, and salt in a medium bowl.

If you are using a mold to serve this, lightly grease a 6-inch ring mold with cooking spray. Spoon egg mixture evenly on bottom of prepared ring mold. Top evenly with onion. Stir together cream cheese and chives in a bowl, and gently spread over onion. Top with black or red caviar. Refrigerate 2 hours. Unmold onto a serving plate or platter and serve with crackers.

You can also serve in a glass bowl and let people dig in. Serves 12 as an appetizer.

Blintz Souffle

Batter ingredients

• ½ tsp. salt

• 1½ c. flour

• 1 Tbsp. baking powder

• 1 c. water

• 1 c. orange juice

Filling ingredients

• 6 eggs

• 2 lbs. cottage cheese or mixture of cottage cheese and ricotta

• 2 egg yolks

• 2 Tbsp. sugar

• Pinch of salt

• 1 Tbsp. Vanilla

• 1 Tbsp. flour, optional

For the pan

• Butter

• Powdered sugar (optional)

• Ground cinnamon (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375°F


Add the ingredients for the batter to a food processor or blender. Process until the batter is smooth and thin.


Thoroughly mix the ingredients for the filling. Add the flour if the mixture seems too soft.


Generously butter a 9” x 13” pan. Pour in half the batter. Layer the cottage cheese mixture on top and smooth. Cover with the remaining batter.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is puffed and uniformly golden but not brown.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or cinnamon, if desired.

Serve with sour cream and cut-up fresh fruits such as strawberries or bananas.

Four-Layer Greek Dip

I ngredients

• 1 (7 ounce) container of hummus (there are many varieties but consider using ones with olives or red peppers)

• 1 container Tzatziki

• 1 (4 ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled

• ½ c. chopped tomatoes

• ¼ c. chopped cucumbers

• 2 Tbsp. sliced kalamata olives

• Pita Chips


Spread hummus onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate. Cover with layers of remaining ingredients.

Serve with pita chips.

summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 59 Aging with Confidence

and drop-in

Joining the Dance!

A cardiologist friend once told me that she often prescribed ballroom dancing for her patients. “It’s great exercise for your heart,” she told me. It is also great for your spirit and your soul, as many have found. Shaking a leg (and/or other limbs) is not simply a meaningful aerobic workout. It also gets you learning new things, interacting with others in a joyful non-verbal way. And it can brighten up a social life.

Whether you waltz, tap or tango, there are many opportunities in most communities around Puget Sound to “trip the light fantastic.” You can take private lessons, find classes at community centers and YMCAs or YWCAs, or sign up for extended learning adult programs at local colleges. And if you know where to look, and get on the right mailing lists, there are public dances—often with live music and frequently with short beginning classes for newbies before the main event.

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).

Here are some ideas for exploring and connecting:


Not so sure you want to delve into partner dancing? Then check out some of the opportunities for genres where you can enjoy group learning but move and groove at your own pace and style. Tap dancing, for instance, is a genre that is not just for kids. It can improve posture and get the blood circulating, with routines that range from the very simple to the very intricate.

Ballet, which many also associate with young children, also offers a lot for mature amateurs. Posture is emphasized here, too, but also footwork and (above all) physical grace. It is an exacting form, but in a class for mature beginners the goal is enjoyment.

And for women, and even some adventurous men, one of the most delightful genres I’ve encountered is,

60 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com ON THE TOWN
Century Ballroom in Seattle offers ongoing dance classes, weekly practices, and social dancing with live musicians and DJs. Classes include salsa, bachata, swing, tango, balboa, waltz, tap, hip hop, hustle, and lindy hop.

yes, belly dancing. This centuries-old Middle Eastern form originated in Egypt and emphasizes hip and torso movements, both of which promote agility and spinal health.

Low-impact and weight-bearing, belly dancing also can help develop and strengthen the legs and core abdominal muscles. In addition, the artform has a sensuous mystique and fun fashion element as you learn to accentuate your moves with finger cymbals, veils, and other accoutrements. Though learning can be individualized with the help of an instructor, often group routines are taught for recitals or just in-class pleasure.


The dance forms that keep you in tempo with others are practically endless in number. Choosing what excites you is a matter of taste, physical concerns and goals, and accessibility.

Partner dancing can seem daunting if you haven’t done it in a long time or have never indulged. But a good class or all-ages public dance will be welcoming to newcomers (if you come in on your own or with a partner), as well as practiced dancers.

The big question to answer is: What turns you on? If you love the old-school ballroom genres, you can focus on the waltz, the tango, even the jitterbug.

Salsa dancing, which originated in Cuba and merges moves from the mambo, Pachanga, and rumba, is a big favorite in the Seattle area and beyond. And the music sizzles.

There are newer popular genres that some dance lovers I know have enjoyed. One is the old perennial swing dancing, and its cousin blues dancing, which historically emerged in the Black community and is usually accompanied by old-time blues and swing jazz music.

And hip-hop dance? Yes! These various street styles are highly energetic and, in some cases, acrobatic. The music is contemporary and the mood is upbeat. Yes, it may sound daunting to those among us who have reached a certain age. But with the right instructor, it too can be fun and adaptable.


If partner dancing seems intimidating, or you just would rather move in sync with a group, there’s a lot of other dance modes that are appealing. Though dancers might be paired up, it can occur with the class dividing into arbitrary twosomes, rather than by bringing in your own partner.

Though square dancing isn’t as easy to find in some communities, it is an

old American favorite with rousing country music. Another popular genre is contra dancing, a form of folk dancing that originated as country dances in England, Scotland, and France. (Various forms of contra dance you often see in movies based on Jane Austen novels, and in television series sent in the Regency Era, like Sanditon and Bridgerton.)

Then there is the great multiplicity of Indigenous folk dances derived from individual cultures. Bollywood, polka, Israeli folk dancing, the list goes on and on. If you are attracted to a form that is not from your own native culture, no worries. One of the pleasures of living in a multiethnic, multicultural, multiracial society is that we can learn about, and join in, the dances of fellow citizens from a variety of different backgrounds. So on with the dance!

To find out more about opportunities in your area, search online for classes and dances in different genres and locales.And here are just a few of the sites you may want to peruse and email lists you may want to consider joining to get your groove on:

• seattledance.org

• centuryballroom.com

• americandanceinstitute.com

• learn2dance4fun.com

• suenosdesalsa.com

• lavidastudio.com.

summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 61
Aging with Confidence

What’s Next? Short Fiction in Time of Change

It’s a summer tradition, isn’t it, to set aside well-wrought literature and reach for a trashy novel or light fiction to carry us away? Or maybe not. If good writing about people and situations that are, perhaps, a little out of your cultural lane interests you, then What’s Next: Short Fiction in Time of Change should be part of your summer reading list.

What’s Next? is an anthology of concise, thoughtful, contemporary American fiction that carries us away with stories of people contending with some of society’s most intractable and durable challenges: How to fit in when you’ve been left out or gain entry when you’ve been shut out; how to make sense out of a new place and culture; discovering your power when you’ve been conditioned or gaslighted to feel powerless; or sorting the real from the imagined in the stories we tell ourselves and others and what comes next.

What came next for me as I read What’s Next? was coming to surprise endings in some stories, and my longing for the story to continue on for others as I pondered how they would end if they did. Many of the stories—some shorter than the articles we publish in this magazine—really stayed with me. I’ve read full-length novels that didn’t have the staying power of the moral dilemma faced by the hospital security guard in the story Nightshift, by Charles Johnson. And, Chickens, by Claire Boyles, the first story in the book, both disturbed and fascinated me. I found it dark and compelling. I felt a whole host of emotions reading A Good Marriage by Pauline Kaladas, and I wanted more. I wanted the whole rest of the story, I wanted to know what came next. This is the magic of a well-written short story—it leaves you curiously hungry, yet satisfied at the same time.

After reading the first few stories in succession, I started just opening the book and reading stories as they came up—delighting in this box-of-chocolates style of discovery. I gained some wonderful insights through this collection of stories. Yet, the truth is, no matter how much we want to know, or what we make up, we can never truly know what comes next.


ANSWERS (Puzzles on page 64)

Double Entendres

Endings and Beginnings

Borrowed from Arabic

62 3rd Act magazine | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com BOOKS
China Buffalo Queens Brazil Jupiter Bath Canary
Amazon Geographical
Back (flashback, backbone) Lock (padlock, locksmith) Day (Sunday, daydream) Note (footnote, noteworthy) Cat (bobcat, catcalls) Proof (weatherproof, proofread) Check (paycheck, checkmate) Stick (drumstick, stickpin) Mail (blackmail, mailbox) Weight (paperweight, weightlifter)
Coffee (qahwa) Sherbet (sharba) Assassin (hashashin) Lemon (laymuun)
Alcohol (al-kuhuul) Gauze (qazz) Lilac (laylak) Almanac (al-manaakh)
Aging with Confidence summer 2024 | 3rd Act magazine 63 Not Available at Newsstands! Don’t miss a single issue! (But you can still order back issues if you did.) SUBSCRIBE TODAY! ONLY $25 A YEAR Go to 3rdActMag.com PUG ET SOU N D SPR NG FORWARD Our Pub c Ga dens Awaken UNDERSTANDING A A P imer he Cu Get Out and Exercise! D scover the PS2P a Trail for All Ages and Ab l t es THE GOLDEN BACHELOR Ta n shed Foo s Go d Life Interrupted When You Are Ca led to Be a Caregiver PUG E T SOU ND THE CARGIVERS JOURNEY How Can You Prepare NAVIGAT NG GRIEF A he L a P t MEMO R WR T NG n he Time o a Pandem c 10 Things I’m Glad to Let Go There’s Joy n Lighten ng Your Load Building a Better Future C arence Moriwaki’s Values-Driven Life Fuels his Third Act PUG E T SOU N D Our New Normal ADAPT NG TO L FE PROFOUNDLY CHANGED An Age of Vulnerability MOVE FROM FEAR TO EMPOWERMENT Sillman & Phillips CHAMPIONS FOR THE ARTS HUGS FOR THE HOL DAYS Celeb a ng Human Touch BRACE YOURSELF O h do E y Ag GOING PLACES AGA N Sa e T ave Op ons PUG ET SOU N D SOUNDS OF HEAL NG Mu c o M d Body & Soul TECH TOOLS FOR OLDERS Wha H N Wha C mi g SUMMON YOUR SUPERPOWER C ag F he F Your Own Supportive Community How to Create One That Meets Your Needs Ease Add Joy Rev Rick Reynolds Contemplates his Th rd Act PUG E T SOU ND ENTER STAGE LEFT L ve Pe ormances are Back SLOW MEDIC NE Gua d Aga n t Ove rea men Passionate Purpose ADD MEAN NG AND JOY TO L FE BY DO NG SOMETHING YOU LOVE Turning Bombs into Trees GR EF NSP RED A L FE L VED W TH PURPOSE LeRoy Bell Rocks On At 70, He s Having the Time of His Life HOW TO GET UNSTUCK T B d Hab s G d PUG E T SOU N D ENL GHTENED AGING Med cal Ca e ha s Jus Righ BE NG MORTAL Ch g a G ul D h FOLLOW YOUR MONEY nves in a Be er Wor d Five Feet of Good How to Make in a World Full of Challenges Shelly Parks Wants You to Get to Know CoHousing Supportive Commun ty Living for Every Age PUG ET SOU N D THE WR TE STUFF W g H h & H ppine LOS NG OSH G g the L a Pet TAKING OFF OUR MASKS What a e hidi g behi d? In the Neighborhood of Love MISTER ROGERS WE NEED YOU For Love of Earth ELDERS MUST COME TO THE RESCUE Tom Skerritt At 88 Imagination and Curios ty are His Touchstones for a Happy Life PUG E T SOU N D PER LS OF DIABETES What You Shou d Kno F ND YOUR NNER ARTIST Pa nt ng Made Easy D g Y H lid y M al Washington Rhinestones HONOR NG SCHOLAST C EXCELLENCE FOR 66 YEARS Holiday Giving NTANG BLE G FTS TO MAKE TH S YEAR SPEC AL Embracing Aging How Do You Feel About Getting Older? AGING W TH PRIDE G nPrid LGBTQ Senior THE OTHER BOOM R t nt Living Options Surg STROKE PRIMER K the Sign Live Like You Mean It Don t let Age Lim t You A Whole New Place to Retire 3 Washington Towns Worth Considering Brain Power Join the Golden Age of Lifelong Learn ng PUGET SO U N D

GAMES for your brain

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

Geographical Double Entendres (easy)

This is a word game combined with a trivia game in which you name the geographical place, which is also a word for something entirely different.

1. An Asian country or ceramic tableware.

2. A city on Lake Erie or a bison.

3. A New York City borough or a group of royal ladies.

4. A South American country or a large nut.

5. A city in Florida or the largest planet in the solar system.

6. An ancient English city or a nice, long soak.

7. A group of islands off Morocco or a small bird.

8. A river in South America or an online retailer.

Endings and Beginnings (harder)

A compound word is made up of two smaller words, such as stopwatch or panhandle. In this game, we provide the first half of one compound word and the second half of another. Can you figure out the one word that completes them both?

1. Flash bone

2. Pad smith

3. Sun dream

4. Foot worthy

5. Bob calls

Borrowed from Arabic (hardest)

6. Weather read

7. Pay mate

8. Drum pin

9. Black box

10. Paper lifter

Did you know that apricot, crimson, hazard, jar, and tariff were all originally Arabic words? In this game, you’ll discover even more common English words that have been borrowed from Arabic.

1. Morning beverage.

2. A frozen desert usually made of fruit or fruit juices.

3. John Wilkes Booth or Lee Harvey Oswald, for example.

4. It’s a fruit and a bad automobile

5. A colorless, flammable liquid; the intoxicating constituent in beer, wine, and other spirits.

6. The original Arabic word means “raw silk,” but we use it more often to describe the loosely woven cloth used to dress wounds.

7. This describes a light purple color or a shrub that blooms in May with an abundance of fragrant, light purple flowers.

8. An annual booklet that’s usually published in calendar form and often contains weather and climate information.

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 | summer 2024 www.3rdActMag.com

In celebration of the Summer Olympics, here’s your

2) 10% of my age in miles. When I turn 55, I’ll run 5.5 and stand up. Walk slowly for one minute, then squat to place the object back down. Repeat on the other side.

5) Climb hills and stairs. Every weekend, my wife and I go for long, hilly walks. It’s a tradition we’ll continue forever. Squats build strong quad and glute muscles, which are critical to walking, climbing, and getting up. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart. Keeping shoulders proud, sit back and slowly lower yourself into an imaginary chair. Once

your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause, then slowly stand. To make the movement easier, perform a sit-to-stand, where you start seated in a chair.

6) Perform Turkish Get-Ups (TGUs). To get up off the floor as we age, TGUs are great to practice now. The TGU is a series of interconnected movements that takes us from flat on our back to standing, while holding a weight overhead.

Discover more about Panorama, the premier non-profit continuing care retirement community in the Pacific Northwest.

Peace of Mind

7) Mow the lawn. I love working in my yard. If you prefer working on your golf swing, glute bridges can help. Lie flat on your back, feet on the floor, with knees bent. Brace your core, press feet into the ground, and press your hips up. Stop when your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees, then squeeze your buttocks, hold for three seconds, and lower.

Find more “forever exercise” inspiration by reading about Peter Attia’s Centenarian Decathlon.

At Panorama, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with residing in a beautiful and comfortable home, surrounded by friends and neighbors. You’ll have access to on-campus support and services, including;

• 24-hour security patrol

Now, Get Started

• 24/7 urgent response aids

• maintenance-free living

Once you’ve created yse more we practice in the present, the greater our success in the future. Good luck and stay strong!

• social services

• transportation options

• grocery services



Our lifestyle amenities feature an Aquatic and Fitness Center, Auditorium, large personal garden plots, TV Studio, a robust Lifestyle Enrichment program and the Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro.

Continuing Care

Our continuum of care offers a variety of options to meet your evolving needs, including Independent Living, Supported Independence, Assisted Living, and our highly-rated Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center.

The Applicants on our wait list are planning now for their future. To tour our campus and learn more, call 1-360-456-0111 and ask to speak to one of our Retirement Advisors.

Aging with Confidence summer 2024 37
Mike Harms owns a personal training studio in Edmonds, Wash. He is certified in training older adults. Learn more at
Lacey, Washington www.panorama.org learn more here
Brilliant Senior Living™ Independent, Assisted Living, and Memory Care LIFE UNLIMITED ay to Sche Quail Park o 425-329-6591 QuailParkofLynnwood.com

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