3rd Act Magazine – Spring/Summer 2020

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Live Like You Mean It Don’t Let Age Limit You

Brain Power

Join the Golden Age of Lifelong Learning

A Whole New Place to Retire

3 Washington Towns Worth Considering

AGING WITH PRIDE GenPride serves LGBTQ Seniors

STROKE PRIMER Know the Signs

THE OTHER BOOM Retirement Living Options Surge

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MESSAGE from the publisher

Life Amid Disruption The new coronavirus erupted across the Northwest just as we were readying this issue for press. What had been a worrisome, but distant, blip on our radar screen has become a serious threat in our region—especially to those of us who are older. As I write this, we know that the virus is widespread and its effects have been life-altering for everyone. And we know that, in the nearterm, it will continue to disrupt all of our lives to some degree. While some of the inconveniences are small, l i ke hav i ng chapped hands from v igorous ha ndwa sh i ng , ot hers are more impactful, like the loneliness we may feel as we cancel engagements and socially distance ourselves from others, the angst we experience over shrinking retirement accounts, our worry for loved ones and the fear of getting ill, and our heightened awareness of our vulnerability and mortality. Our lives have shrunk, and it’s very likely they will remain smaller for a while. But this, too, shall pass. And if anything, it adds urgency to the importance of living

our lives to the fullest while we can. Writer Ann Randall begins our cover story “Go For It!” (page 42) with a quote from Robert Frost: “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” Little did she know how appropriate that quote would be. Taken in the context of the story, it’s an invitation to live larger, not smaller, and to refuse to let your idea of what a person your age should or should not be doing hold you back from pursuing your passions. You’ll notice that a few of the articles in this issue may seem a bit dated. As I write this, we don’t know when t he new Burke Museum will reopen—but it will. And although no one I know is still taking a trip to the Alps this summer, the mountains aren’t going anywhere. We’ve all put plans on hold. But as this disruption ends, we will reemerge like the flowers each spring, and we will begin anew. A note to our subscribers: This issue is our spring/summer issue. 3rd Act is shifting our publishing schedule slightly to better align with the seasons. Our next issue, fall, will come out in mid-August, and the winter issue will come out in November, rather than January. We are still publishing all four issues this year, but we are shifting the schedule and seasonal identifier. Thank you for your subscription. Your paid subscription covers our mailing costs, helps pay our writers, and so much more. We couldn’t be here without your help. And now more than ever, we want to be here for you. Stay well.

“We couldn’t be here without your help. And now more than ever, we want to be here for you.”


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

OU R VI SI ON 3rd Act Magazine is a fresh, dynamic, and inspiring quarterly publication for older adults in the Greater Seattle area. Our stories and articles challenge 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. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Sharyn Skeeter ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna ADVERTISING Dale Bohm DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall COVE R PH OTO Ernie Sapiro WRITE TO US 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320 3rd Act Magazine is published quarterly by Oshi Publishing, LLC. The opinions, advice or statements expressed by contributing writers do not reflect those of the editors, the publishers, or of 3rd Act Magazine. Copyright ©2020 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC, 81 Canal Lane Brinnon, WA 98320 · 360-796-4837 Email: info@3rdActMag.com For subscriptions and additional information, see us online at www.3rdActMag.com.


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Investment in exciting new living options for older adults is surging in our region. CONNIE MCDOUGALL


GenPride brings needed connection and programs to Seattle’s LGBTQ seniors. TERRY TAZIOLI


42 G O FOR IT!!

It’s never too late to find your passion and act on it. ANN RANDALL


52 R ETIREMENT RELOCATION? 3 compelling Washington towns to consider calling home. ANN RANDALL


Age in bloom —tips to keep growing. LINDA HENRY




In a time of change, power-struggles, and tipping-points, will kindness prevail? JENNIFER JAMES






Why “OK, Boomer” is not OK. ANNIE CULVER


How should we respond when COVID-19 threatens our health and our wealth? DON MCDONALD


Reaching across generations can boost your well being. DR. ERIC B. LARSON


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Being called upon to bear witness to a life is a great honor. PAUL BOARDMAN


Facing breast cancer surgery with a little help from “Landscape Artist of the Year.” JANELLE KINGSLEY





Lifelong learning options for older adults who want to blend intellectual exploration with social interaction. JULIE FANSELOW There’s no better time to learn a 2nd language. JACK WAX


Crafting life’s lessons into poetry, she published her first book at age 75. KATHRYN CAROLE ELLISON


tribulations of tackling one of the world’s classic hiking trails. PATTI SHALES LEFKOS


Let’s take this time of isolation to plan and dream of future adventures. JULIE FANSELOW


Knowing the signs and getting help fast can make all the difference. PRISCILLA CHARLIE HINCKLEY Their paramedics and paramedic-training programs have been saving lives for 50 years.



How our mythic themes can help us navigate late-life transistions. MICHAEL PATTERSON


FUN FOODS Fennel and avocado

top our spring list of healthy, flavorful, easy to prepare greens. REBECCA CRICHTON


Prepare to be wowed at the new Burke Museum. MISHA BERSON


Eightysomethings, by Katharine Esty, Ph.D. Reviewed by Victoria Starr Marshall

Live Like You Mean It


Don’t Let Age Limit You

Brain Power

Join the Golden Age of Lifelong Learning

Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.

A Whole New Place to Retire


STROKE PRIMER Know the Signs

THE OTHER BOOM Retirement Living Options Surge

3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

— Margi Wadden

Editor: We are planning a future story on Reading Partners of Seattle. In the meantime, you can learn more on this program and how to volunteer at readingpartners.org.

Attitude is Everything I just discovered 3rd Act at the fabulous Bainbridge library and find it quite timely. At 82, I started my fifth career, and now, at 85, I am working on my sixth. To be blessed with high energy, health, and good genes certainly helps, but I believe it really depends on one’s self-attitude. How to approach life: glass half full or half empty?

—Florence Klein

talk to us!

by mail: 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320

3 Washington Towns Worth Considering

AGING WITH PRIDE GenPride serves LGBTQ Seniors

Get Involved for the Greater Good Being a loyal reader of 3rd Act, I would like to applaud you for the consistent good quality content. The articles are informative and inspirational. For me, as the current president of the University of Washington Retirement Association, it is a helpful resource with balanced perspectives. Our organization’s objective, which complements that of 3rd Act Magazine, is to inform, connect and advocate for UW retirees and preretirees. We are proud to be one of the most active academic retirement associations in the country that offers a broad range of educational and social programs. As strong advocates for continued engagement, especially for the advancement of education, we have partnerships that promote mature adult involvement for the greater good in our community. A current thriving partnership is with Reading Partners of Seattle. This specific partnership is a positive example of older adults using their knowledge and experiences to help children in low-income schools master basic reading skills.

Cover: Lora Hein can think of no better way to dementia-proof her brain than to immerse herself in learning flamenco’s intricate movements. Photo by Ernie Shapiro.

by email: info@3rdActMag.com Please include your name, city, state, and phone number when possible. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. www.3rdActMag.com

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Linda Henry writes regularly on topics related to aging, health care, and communication and is the co-author 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.


I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR when the sun promises to shine, the danger of frost appears past and it is time to plant anew. There has been joy in earlier weeks seeing signs of new life as little sprouts peek through the earth unfazed by late winter storms. And when they bloom, it is as though they shout: “We made it!” And, like these resilient plants, no matter our age, we all can experience an awakening; a time of renewal. Each May, we celebrate Older Americans Month in honor of the countless contributions older Americans make to our communities. This year’s theme, Make Your Mark, attests to the conclusion of gerontological researchers that older people can capitalize on their long experience of living, continuing to grow, learn, engage in and enjoy life in spite of challenges they may face. So, here are some “gardening” tips to help our continued blooming. Take research with a grain of salt Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D. and author of The Mature Mind, acknowledges that the biology of aging is basically a biology of decline. Taking a different approach, he believes that the biology of

3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

aging favors the development of wisdom, concluding that retirement is a time for climbing new hills. His recommendations? Form active links with your community, balance group and solo activities, nourish close friendships, and approach learning as a life-long activity. Say no to society’s stereotypes In a longitudinal study of 660 people over age 50 who were tracked for decades, researchers at Yale University’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health found that those who disagreed with the usual ageist stereotypes lived 7 ½ years longer—a gain in longevity usually associated with low blood pressure, low cholesterol, healthy weight, regular exercise, and abstinence from smoking. Savor the joy in life When is the last time you experienced total joy? Was it age-related? Likely not. Susan, in her late 70s, was overcome with joy at her stepgranddaughter’s high school graduation dinner, when her stepdaughter acknowledged to the group the deep love she and Susan had developed over the years and how important it was for the two to share in the momentous occasion. Such memories fill us with gratitude and remind us to be open to the positive in life. Give back Older adults have an enormous capacity to make a difference in others’ lives. Age did not stop one 91-year-old volunteer’s passion to give back. It was J.D.’s belief that everyone was obligated to volunteer. Have fun and laugh It’s no secret that laughing is good for our health. Whenever I see a plastic lawn flamingo, I chuckle because it reminds me of the fun dear friends and our family had over the years passing a flamingo back and forth from house to house. My goal is to continue “making my mark.” I plan is to stay interested in the world around me, vote to make a difference, learn new things, and cherish those I care about. And, I will keep my eyes open for even more gardening tips. Will you?





A M E IC N THE 46th Seattle International Film Festival is Canceled Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic



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In a Time of Change, Power Struggles, and Tipping Points Will Kindness Prevail? BY JENNIFER JAMES


ven as a young child I wanted to understand why common sense was not always common practice. It was simple things that some people did that made no sense to me, like hurting animals or people. What would inflicting pain or humiliation on another creature accomplish? I first studied history, and then psychology, but it was cultural anthropology—the study of the power of belief


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

systems—that helped me answer my questions. For the last 100 years, Americans have been pushed by new technologies into overwhelming social and cultural power shifts and changing beliefs. When a new technology concentrates energy it changes work and who can do the work. And our belief systems are forced to recognize who benefits and who does not from this shift. When physical strength, as basic productive energy is replaced by a microchip, and when brain outstrips brawn, it generates monumental social and cultural power shifts. In 1920, 30% of the American labor force was farm workers. Now, only 1.3% of the labor force is in farming and ranching, yet food is more plentiful. Today, an educated paraplegic can be more employable and make more money than an able-bodied person without an education. They can also be less easily replaced by robotics. On top of this, consider social change in the last 100 years: Women’s right to vote, the rise


and fall of unions, desegregation, civil rights, gender equality, disability rights, homosexual rights, and more. Each change, backed by law, gave more legal standing to new groups. A power struggle became inevitable. The 1960s’ flower children thought they could jolly us into change. I was one of them. “All You Need Is Love” was our anthem. How foolish we were. No group gives up power without a knock-down, drag-out fight. Ask yourself who has lost and gained power over the last century and who is fighting the changes now. When a culture experiences deep, rapid change, some people are able to adapt through education and experience. Those who cannot or resist try to exploit their remaining advantage: Fighting change gives hope and a chance to win back lost power. It becomes like a tribal sports game. Each tribe wears matching hats and shirts, and cheers for their wins and the other side’s losses. “Push them back, push them back, waaaay back” was a cheer I remember. Those who feel left behind by change are afraid and angry, and they need a leader. When a leader seems to arrive, character doesn’t matter. No level of corruption, ignorance, self-dealing, megalomania, cruelty, punishing of those who speak out, or disgusting behavior weakens tribal loyalty to a living symbol of a possible rescue from their loss of power. Some cultural heroes are worse than others. When I consider populist leader-monsters from the past 100 years it’s a fearsome list: Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Saddam, Mao, Joseph McCarthy, Gaddafi, Kim Jong ll, Idi Amin, Pol Pot. At least, so far, America’s anti-heroes rarely kill except in a war somewhere else.

Aging with Confidence

Social power struggles can lead to chaos until there is a tipping point where the absurdity or cruelty of old beliefs lead to their collapse. There are signals that the current level of cultural and social absurdity is being reached. Harvey Weinstein’s conviction may be a marker for the end of male freedom to maul and rape women. Now even rich and powerful men are in danger of of being punished when they break the law. Some think women now have too much power to hurt men, and others breathe a sigh of relief and say, “It’s about time.” We are reaching the tipping point of our long, yet still uncomfortable, power shift toward a citizen culture of gender and ethnic equality and diversity. Our current political news is clearly bizarre. When insanity is defended as normal, it expands until it is unmistakable and it becomes clear that the emperor has no clothes. When America experiences a socialpower tipping point the lynching stops, workers are respected, rapists are jailed, people with disabilities are enabled, children are protected, abuse of animals is punished, and bullies are unacceptable. History tells us that, eventually, more of us value fairness and kindness over greed and cruelty, and in social and cultural power shifts most people choose to adapt. Civilization is, at its core, the seemingly endless process of learning to be kind. Jennifer James has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and a master’s in history and psychology. She was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington Medical School. Jennifer is the founding mother of the Committee for Children, an international organization devoted to the prevention of child abuse worldwide.

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OK, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS. what a draft number is? Many Boomer OK, moms who pushed for organic men refused to step forward at their foods and better food labels. OK, military induction centers. Others illegal dopers who recognized the dropped everything and sought refuge absurdity of the 1936 film “Reefer in Canada to avoid going to Vietnam. Madness” and led the Still more went to Vietnam, fight for less restrictive fought hard in that war only In an election marijuana laws. OK, year with rampant to come home and listen inventors of the Segway, to people say their efforts government World Wide Web, were pointless. Would the Z dysfunction, Ethernet, and much generation have the courage let’s not drive more. to go through any of those a destructive Boomers have experiences? wedge between contributed more Yeah, this is what they’d advances to the modern call “OK, Boomer” talk. generations. world than younger Burn those snooty Zers might want to think generations care to twice, however, before they “OK, Boomer” realize. It’s time for become loose-lipped and sweatshirts and generation Z (also find themselves slapped with known as Zoomers, other groupie garb. age discrimination lawsuits. born between 1995 What d’ya say, We’re still learning to age and 2012) to get over gracefully in our careers, Zoomers? themselves and drop although pushing us out with BY ANNIE CULVER their demeaning “OK, “OK, Boomer” chatter even Boomer” crap. Where caught the attention of the would they be without us? U.S. Supreme Court. And a Gallup What gives them the right to be poll from the last decade indicated one fed up with those of us born after in 10 Boomers didn’t think they’d ever our dads came home from World retire. Get used to us, Zers. War II? Do they have any idea of the Quit belittling us and making horrors faced by the young sons of audacious claims that we don’t believe those World War II dads when their in climate change and are the cause own draft numbers came up during of global warming. The blame game? the Vietnam era? Do Zers even know Aren’t we all responsible? Didn’t we


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


show Zers how and why to recycle, to tote their own bags to supermarkets, to buy less plastic, to throw on a sweater and turn down the heat, to take mass transit rather than drive? It’s ignorance for Zoomers to suggest Boomers are at fault for the rise in college tuition. Sure, we paid less than they did, but that was in the ’60s and ’70s—50 years ago or more. Have they ever heard of inflation? Is that our doing, too? And the Z response to inflation? To help pay for a college education, they’re marketing swag with “OK, Boomer” plastered on it. Inventive, maybe, yet divisive and defeatist. Boomers are worthy of more respect for their insights, accomplishments and creativity. Let’s abandon the notion that the “OK, Boomer” phrase “marks the end of friendly generational relations,” as a New York Times article suggested last year. Such nonsense deserves to be put behind all generations. There was a time in the ’70s when Boomers winced—but also laughed— at TV’s All in the Family. Narrowminded World War II veteran Archie Bunker may have altered the face of television when he belittled that Boomer son-in-law of his. Archie dubbed him Meathead. Yep, Boomers already paid plenty of dues. So suck it up, Gen Z. In an election year with rampant government dysfunction, let’s not drive a destructive wedge between generations. Burn those snooty “OK, Boomer” sweatshirts and other groupie garb. What d’ya say, Zoomers?


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Seattleite Annie Culver worked as a staff writer and editor for five daily newspapers in Canada and the U.S. before working for universities in the Northwest. She’s retired now and enjoys freelancing.

Aging with Confidence

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The morning I was scheduled for breast cancer surgery. I got up, took a shower with the antibacterial soap they gave me, and decided to distract myself by watching a few minutes of Landscape Artist of the Year, my new favorite show on YouTube. I’m completely addicted to this show. And so, awaiting my procedure, I was able to escape my anxiety for a short while by traveling to the British countryside where this episode was filmed. In the show, artists compete painting en plein air at enchanting locations like the reserve established by Beatrix Potter in the Lake District, the lovely scenery in Cornwall, and sites made famous by earlier painters (Turner and Constable are frequently mentioned) of British countryside. My husband and I recently saw some of these very locations on our Rick Steves tour of the villages of southern England. And here on TV were these talented contemporary artists interpreting the greens, the castles and manors, the rivers, the beauty. Each week’s competition includes eight selected artists from the hundreds (maybe thousands) of entrants. The eight must paint a landscape in four hours while onlookers mill about. It’s really difficult for me to do something, anything, with a person looking over my shoulder, so I can’t imagine the concentration it must take to focus on just the task at hand and not the onlooker. The British observers are polite


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

Breast Cancer Surgery and Landscape Artist of the Year

and don’t make comments that something looks like shite or question why a painter placed a kangaroo in the scene when there are no kangaroos outside of by Janelle Kingsley zoos in England. OK, that has not happened, but one artist included a helicopter and several artists rearranged the scenery to fit their ideas. I really like the concept of making the moment fit your needs and watching the show distracted me from the impending surgery. I thought about one artist, a thalidomide baby, now a 50-something man, born without arms, who used feet and mouth to create a landscape on silk. At that moment I was focused intently on art, not cancer, and the idea that perhaps, later, I would paint a landscape or a portrait. On each show, in addition to the eight invited artists, another 50 artists (drawn by lottery) vie for a spot in the final competitions. These stalwart individuals of all ages and descriptions arrive toting art supplies, easels, snacks, and gear for whatever weather Mother Nature decides to stir up. Each locates a “compositional scene” that is both available and inspiring, and set to work. Typical of British weather, many of the episodes occur on rainy, cold mornings with sun peeking out in late afternoon. Rarely, do the artists have a full day


of sunshine. Clouds, though, are a magical gift. Landscapes appear on canvas, wood, metal, fabric, slate, and possibly other surfaces. The artists use paint (oil, acrylic, watercolor), pastel, ink, charcoal, graphite, colored pencil, torn paper, coffee, fibers, linoleum, and wax. Most use a mixture of two or more media. Some work hunched over a tiny metal plate that receives their etched marks and only at the end of the four hours, when they print their efforts, do we see if the image has any merit at all. Some people work very quickly and complete two works in the four hours. Some are meticulous. They’ll make a small mark judging its location, intensity, width, and comparison to the scene in front of them, before then making another small mark. It’s fascinating. Judging the competitions are British art historian Kate Bryan, landscape and portrait artist TaiShan Schierenberg, and independent art consultant Kathleen Soriano. They have an excruciating job. The hosts and judges mill about talking with the artists as they work. Sometimes they ask a question about the use of a color or comment on a technique. It’s quite a learning experience for anyone with artistic leanings. During one episode the host, Joan Bakewell, commented that she never thought watching paint dry would be so fascinating. For me, it was both fascinating and a diversion from an event I had been dreading. And, since I didn’t finish the episode, something to look forward to when the surgery was over.

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Aging with Confidence

2/27/19 10:56 AM

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Your Health and Your Wealth BY DON MCDONALD

Once again, those of us living our third act are reminded of the vulnerabilities that come with age. The reality of a COVID-19 pandemic has everyone concerned for their future health and, according to medical professionals, we are its most vulnerable target. There is plenty of critical advice being provided by medical experts to protect your health. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you feel sick. Don’t panic. What about protecting your wealth? The stock market took historically deep plunges this spring, yet common-sense guidelines also apply to your investments. However, these start with emotional control. Do not panic. Properly structure your portfolio for your tolerance for market volatility and your need to take risk. If it isn’t so structured already, now is the time to fix it. The worst thing you can do is what many did in late 2008. Far too many investors sold their stocks, planning to get back in when the market stopped falling. When it did, many believed it was just a temporary bounce and waited for stock prices to fall again. They waited and waited and waited. I have talked with some, on my radio show, who are still waiting. One of my favorite ancient proverbs advises, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” There is no wrong moment to be invested. Some are just more right than others. The best time to invest is when you have money. The best time to take it out is when you need it. In between those times, you must protect against only one thing,


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

your emotions. The global stock markets hate surprises and react badly to them—temporarily. Yet they tend to recover quickly, because they love profits. Do you remember the last time the U.S. stock markets fell by more than 10%? Most will guess 2008, but the S&P 500 dropped a full 20%—the definition of a bear market—between October and December 2018. If you had liquidated your equities during that scare—triggered by trade war fears—you would have missed a 31% increase in 2019. To make up the increasing frailty of age, we have the advantage of decades of experience and, hopefully, wisdom. We have seen terrible things happen. A few of us can even recall the closest humanity has ever come to the total destruction of our global economy. World War II. We feared a nuclear war in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In 1968, a global pandemic—the Hong Kong Flu—killed more than a million people (if you were wondering, in 1968, the S&P 500 returned almost 6.5%). Stock prices crashed in ’73 and ’74. Inflation ate up income in the ‘80s. By now, we were supposed to be starving from overpopulation and freezing from dried up oil reserves. Stock markets plunged again in 2000 and 2001. From 2000 to 2010, the S&P 500 lost almost 10%. Yet despite all of those events, and many more, the value of the global economy (measured by gross domestic product or GDP) rose from $4.5 trillion in 1940 to almost $85 trillion in 2020. Over that same period, a globally diversified, 100% equity portfolio returned over 12% per year ($10,000 would have grown to $140 million, pre-tax). However, a portfolio of just stocks would have suffered some frightening losses over the years, including the deep dives we experienced in 2008 and this year amid the COVID-12 crisis. That’s why—even though the global economy has always grown and will recover again—I encourage you to know your risk tolerance and invest appropriately. That way, you can stop worrying about your wealth and focus on your health, even during scary markets. The host of the nationally syndicated Don McDonald Show for over 20 years, Don now co-hosts Talking Real Money with Tom Cock on Seattle’s KOMO radio Saturdays at noon (talkingrealmoney.com). Don also publishes the investing magazine, real investing journal (realinvestingjournal.com).


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3rd Act Magazine Brings Home the Gold! Our Spring 2018 issue recently received the gold award from National Mature Media for Best Local/State Editorial Magazine! But that’s not all! Every one of our 2018 issues won awards including 2 Silvers and a Bronze!

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Art and Adventure A

Recipe for Long Life

Reimagining Home

Vibrant Living Choices Abound

Small-Space Decorating

That Will Make Your Heart Sing

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2020

| 3rd Act magazine 17


Grandparents need to set their limits though. Those who babysat five days a week or more had more trouble than others with cognition. Still, experts in aging, education, and other services are intrigued—especially with intergenerational learning. One example is an award-winning charter elementary school in Cleveland called The Intergenerational School. Here, elders of all ages and abilities—including some with dementia—help with lessons, storytelling, artwork, gardening, and more. The kids get extra attention from older “mentors,” while the elders get the stimulation of being involved in meaningful activities with kids. Another model is cohousing, a type of residential development that emphasizes social interaction. Some communities are created exclusively for seniors, but others—like the Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing Community in Seattle—intentionally mix generations. Sheila Hoffman and her husband Spencer Beard were the only retirement-age people in the nine-family community when it opened in 2016. “If you live with a bunch of people the same age, you’re not going to have as much diversity in views,” Sheila explained. “Living here is going to challenge Spencer and me, and keep our brains more engaged.” A retired elementary-school gym teacher, Spencer enjoys teaching kids in the community to ride their bikes. The couple also committed to walking one of the second graders to her after-school ballet class. Such favors are sure to earn them “social capital,” if not “surrogate grandparent” status. “It’s like extended family,” Sheila said. “As Spencer and I get older and it gets more difficult for us to do things for ourselves, we hope someone will be around to say, ‘Hey, can I get you anything from the store?’ Or, ‘Do you need a ride to the doctor?” As their experience shows, reaching across generations can be valuable to all involved. So, whether you engage with kids, their parents, their schools, or other aspects of community, intergenerational connection may be great for your well-being.

Mutually Beneficial Relationships Reaching across the generations can boost your well being BY DR. ERIC B. LARSON

EXPERTS IN AGING say one great way to build resilience is to stay connected to younger people. My observations as a physician, a researcher—and now granddad—confirm this premise. Time spent with my grandkids, meeting their seemingly endless need for snacks, games, and even diaper changes, keeps me on my toes! Of course, it takes more than occasional babysitting to build meaningful relationships. And I see how families and communities intentionally create ways for generations to bond. My cousin’s family and their multigenerational Montana cattle ranch is a great example. Without quality childcare options available in mile-high country, Rick and Gayle take charge of their grandchildren while their daughter and son-in-law work the ranch. The little ones enjoy their grandparents’ doting attention, and Rick and Gayle benefit from experiencing their growing up. This type of arrangement is not new. Anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote about mutually beneficial relationships among children and grandparents in various cultures over the ages. Children provide the stimulation older people need, while the elders give kids the stability they require. Meanwhile, the “sandwich generation” provides material support for both ends of the family. The result is an efficient “economy” where everyone’s needs are met. Can spending time with children help stave off mental decline? That’s hard to say. A 2016 study of 120 caregiving grandparents in Australia found that women who babysat one day a week scored higher on cognitive tests.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

Dr. Eric B. Larson is a senior scientist at Kaiser Permanente Washington and author of Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).


Aging with Confidence

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even get it in small hospitals without neurologic expertise, because they can use Telestroke to reach somewhere that has a comprehensive stroke center,” says Dr. David Tirschwell from UW Medicine Stroke Center. Telestroke is a system connecting local emergency room doctors with stroke experts in another location. Mechanical thrombectomy is an effective treatment for patients with a blockage in one of the large main vessels of the brain. The window for this can be up to 24 hours, says Tirschwell, but earlier is better. A catheter, threaded through the femoral artery up to the brain, pulls out the clot with either suction or a stent retriever. Not all hospitals are able Lori got up one morning, planning to work at home, to do this procedure; in Seattle, for example, only and sat down at her laptop. She couldn’t remember Harborview, Swedish Cherry Hill, and Virginia Mason can do it. her password for a really long time. A hemorrhagic stroke is due to bleeding into “It was weird,” she remembers. “I was home with my cat and not talking to anybody, so I didn’t notice the brain (intercerebral) or around the brain (subarachnoid) when a weakened blood vessel anything else that might be wrong.” ruptures due to an aneurysm or an A little while later, she called me— her friend and colleague—to discuss a BY PRISCILLA arteriovenous malformation (AVM). CHARLIE These are life-threatening strokes. project. The conversation was just a tiny HINCKLEY Dan Parker, 67, was at work when an bit odd. Lori was using very few words, answering questions mostly with “yes” or “no,” aneurysm in his brain ruptured. An aneurysm is a and hesitating a bit. It wasn’t her style, but her ballooning out of the artery wall, which generally speech was clear, not at all slurred. Then, on my goes unnoticed until it bursts and causes a bleed. last question, she said, “I don’t….know how to…. Fortunately, he wasn’t home alone. “I didn’t know what was happening to me,” answer you.” “I felt fine, but I couldn’t get a lot of words out. says Dan. “There was pain in the back of my head. I was thinking how odd it was,” Lori says. “And They stuck me on a helicopter and there was a then my friend said, ‘I think maybe you’re having neurosurgeon standing by at the hospital.” Dan survived and began physical, occupational, a stroke.’” As it turned out, she was. An artery in her brain was blocked. By the time paramedics got and speech therapy. Unfortunately, though, his surgeon had discovered a second aneurysm in her to the hospital, her speech was almost gone. There are two major types of stroke: ischemic his brain during that first surgery, and another procedure was scheduled to clip it. Clipping involves and hemorrhagic. Ischemic stroke happens when an artery sealing off the neck of the aneurysm so that blood supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked, can’t enter it. Although the procedure worked, Dan as happened to Lori. This is the most common, had a stroke on the operating table and woke up accounting for 87% of strokes. Only about 10% of unable to talk or walk. He spent another month ischemic stroke patients die, but they can be left in rehab. “The speech therapist would look me in the face with significant long-term disability. Getting treatment quickly has a strong impact and show me how to make sounds,” says Dan. “I on recovery. Clot buster medication tPA can be spent an hour a day with him.” Dan’s right side given intravenously within four to five hours of needed a lot of work, too, and he did it. “My attitude the stroke. It requires a CT scan first. “You can going into this was, I want my life back.”

Stroke Primer

Knowing the Signs and Getting Help Fast Can Make All the Difference


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


Numbness or Weakness of Face

Trouble Seeing in One or Both Eyes

Trouble Speaking Headache

Stroke Symptoms Dizziness

Weakness in One Arm

Trouble Walking A transient ischemic attack (TIA), which may be called a mini-stroke or warning stroke, happens when blood supply to the brain is blocked for only a few minutes. There is no permanent damage, but a TIA is still a medical e m e r g e n c y. D o n’t FAST is the acronym used ignore it, because it may to help people mean a full ischemic identify stroke stroke is in your future. quickly and take Symptoms of stroke immediate action: appear suddenly and • Face drooping may include weakness • Arm weakness • Speech difficulty or numbness on one • Time to call 911 side of t he b o dy ; con f usion; t rouble speaking or understanding language; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes; dizziness and loss of balance. Hemorrhagic stroke often causes a sudden severe headache, like nothing you’ve experienced Aging with Confidence

Loss of Balance or Coordination before. There may also be nausea and vomiting. Lifestyle is very important in preventing stroke. You’ve heard it before, and it’s true. Don’t smoke, eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, exercise, and control things like diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure. “And keep them under control. It’s hugely important. If we could eliminate high blood pressure as a medical problem, half of all strokes would disappear,” says Tirschwell. A resource he recommends is the American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7,” a great user-friendly guide to managing the seven risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The site includes an interactive online tool to assess your heart health, which affects your risk for stroke. Most of recovery after a stroke happens during the first three to six months, but even after that, Tirschwell says you can still improve by continuing

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Meal Prepara


that you can’t control include: • Age — risk doubles every 10 years after age 55 • Ethnicity — risk is much higher for blacks than whites or Asians • Family history of stroke • Gender — more common in women than men • Coronary artery disease • Atrial fibrillation • Previous stroke

to work on your specific disability with your therapist, or even on your own. It’s been a year and a half for Dan, and he feels he’s back to about 90% of where he was before his two strokes. He still has some difficulty recalling words, and he limps a little bit. He has a positive attitude about his experience, though. “I’m a lot more sensitive to life, and every day is one more day that I have.” Lori’s stroke was four years ago. Speech therapy helped her

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regain her normal speaking patterns, but it took a while. Several months after treatment, she would still sometimes have trouble finding words. Eventually, though, she felt completely back to normal. One thing Lori learned from her experience was that a health care power of attorney is a good thing to have. It designates someone to be your representative if you are unable to communicate or to make decisions about your health care. You can have your attorney do one, or look up do-it-yourself options online. When Lori was in the hospital, she could understand what her doctors were saying, but she couldn’t speak to them. She spoke through me; I would look at her and say what I thought she wanted, and she could nod or shake her head. I also asked a lot of questions for her and took notes, when she couldn’t, about what was going on. So now I’m her legal representative for health care decisions, should she ever need me for that again. Which, of course, I hope she doesn’t.


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Priscilla Charlie Hinckley has been a writer and producer in Seattle television and video for 35 years, with a primary interest in stories covering health and medicine, women’s and children’s issues, social justice, and education. She enjoys taking a light-hearted approach to serious topics.

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2020 | 3rd Act magazine 23 800.775.6380




ue had just begun her second act: quitting her CEO position to launch a new creative venture and performing around town with her jazz group. Life was great. And then, driving to a lunch meeting, she went into cardiac arrest. She crashed into parked cars. Someone called 911. Two pedestrians pulled Sue out of her car and started CPR. Within a few minutes, Medic One arrived and took over. They started her heart again and took her to Harborview Medical Center. Scenes like this happen in Seattle all the time. People die and are brought back to life. Bystanders know what to do. Paramedics are only minutes away. All of that is true because, just over 50 years ago, two men had a vision that it might be possible. At that time, the majority of people who had fatal heart attacks never made it to the hospital. Dr. Leonard Cobb, a cardiologist at Harborview, believed that effective prehospital care would improve survival rates for cardiac patients. The question was, who would deliver that care? In 1968, he made a call to Seattle Fire Chief Gordon Vickery with an innovative idea: to put a mobile coronary care unit together, staffed by two firefighters trained as paramedics. “He took it up hook, line, and sinker,” says Dr. Cobb. “He was very enthusiastic from the beginning.” The first class of paramedics finished training just as their vehicle was ready to go. It was a large converted mobile home, nicknamed “Moby Pig,” with respiratory equipment, medications, and a portable defibrillator on board. On March 7, 1970, Medic One headed out on its first


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

call. They’ve been saving lives ever since, responding to 30,000 calls a year in Seattle/King County. “We have the highest success rate in cardiac arrest in the world,” says Captain Peter Ubaldi, head of Seattle Fire Department Medic One. “People come from all over the world to see how we perform emergency medical services [EMS] in Seattle and King County.” Medic One paramedics cover all kinds of medical emergencies, and they’ve delivered many babies. They treat trauma victims at fires, accidents, and shootings. The training program—designed, organized and brought to excellence by Dr. Michael Copass—trains paramedics from communities throughout Western Washington. Citizen CPR classes, another innovation started in 1971, have taught over 850,000 people how to give aid while waiting for medics to arrive. Despite being successful from the beginning, Medic One’s future wasn’t always guaranteed. When the first grant money ran out in 1971, it took a tin cup, pass-the-hat grassroots effort to save it. Newspapers wrote strong editorials. Firefighters took to the streets carrying signs. PTA groups, barbershops, and bowling alleys raised money. Children sold candy at sports events. It was wildly effective. Today, property-tax levies pay for salaries, vehicles, and equipment, while the nonprofit Medic One Foundation raises money to fund the paramedic-training program and ongoing research. Medic One paramedics continue saving lives every day—and Sue is still living well.


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Independent Living · Assisted Living · Memory Care To learn more go to: PegasusSeniorLiving.com Aging with Confidence

spring 2020

| 3rd Act magazine 25

Loved One How to Eulogize Your

You’ve been tasked with eulogizing your loved one, and you have minimal time to prepare. In my work as a funeral celebrant, I’ve personally eulogized hundreds of dear people and have listened to many more eulogies. Here are my tips:


Keep the eulogy laser-focused on The Person you’re remembering. I suppose this is obvious, but I have heard eulogists stray far from The Person in an attempt to get an inspirational message across. Concentrate on the specificity of your loved one’s signature life. What traits, what actions, what lifestyle, made your dear one absolutely oneof-a-kind?


Star t f rom the beg inning, summarizing where your loved one was born and the family into which your loved one was born. Ground the story in time and place with specifics. Perhaps


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

give some context: “He was born the year after World War II ended…”


Pick two or three short stories that illustrate who your loved one was as a person—and for what he or she stood. If your loved one was all about family and her children, choose a story that illustrates this. If he was all about, say, building or fixing things, choose a story to illustrate that.


Utilize “The Rule of Thirds.” No doubt your loved one was a person of abundant gifts - acknowledge he or she had many—but choose to concentrate on just three gifts. What

BY PAUL BOARDMAN were your loved one’s three gifts to the world? Or to you specifically? Don’t go through an extensive list. Choose just three, and back up each one with a story. She was compassionate. How was she compassionate? He was a family man. What story best illustrates his love of family? She was an avid outdoors person, yes, but more importantly how did she impart that love of nature to you—and to others? “He was a ‘man’s man’ who liked to bake cookies?” Great, what kind of cookies did he bake?


Don’t shy away from praise. Through specific colorful stories, seek to “show” your loved one’s personhood and soul. In sharing these stories, you are welcoming others to see how your loved one was as you describe him or her. Laughs, giggles, and tears will be the response to your call. What


was she most passionate about in life? A eulogy seeks to shine a light on that. What was the significance of his life? “If you had to sum up who my brother was to the world, to others, he was tender. His tenderness showed through in the way he raised his puppies in his dog-breeding business...”


Be authentic. Don’t shy from the challenges or struggles that your loved one had. Yes, “tell all the truth but tell it slant,” as Emily Dickinson wrote. Be plainspoken about the difficulties. But tell it all with love!


Go ahead and be emotional. It is perfectly OK for lots of emotion to come through. Emotion is absolutely what is expected. Don’t worry about expressing everything that you feel with tears, with pauses, with tissues. Have your eulogy printed out just in case someone else absolutely has to step in. But stay standing if you surrender the written eulogy for someone else to read. Let it be yours. Claim it.


Remember, others will “fill in” detail after the main eulogy. In most cases, about a half a dozen stories will be shared in open mic that will “round out” your loved one’s story. In addition, at receptions and wakes—and at the bar for years to come—more stories of your loved one will be shared.


Fifteen minutes is long enough. Twenty minutes might be too long. Ten minutes is probably adequate. Edit your eulogy down to the “best of.” Keep your eulogy as tight as you possibly can. Remember to make room for others’ open sharing.

Aging with Confidence

Wind it down. I always conclude my eulogies with a statement about the place and time when our loved one’s life ended—and maybe some details, if true, that he passed surrounded by family, holding someone’s hand, listening to her favorite Van Morrison song. Was there some peace when he or she shoved off? You can list by whom he or she is preceded in death. But definitely list who he leaves behind—who she’s survived by—naming the significant members of his or her tribe. You can make this more lyrical than just a list by using wording such as “Uncle Joe will be held tight in the hearts of his three siblings: Suzy (with Jim), Greg (with Julie), and Fred (with Karin). His light and love will remain in his three children: Eunie, Billie, and Robbie (with Kylie). And his legacy will live on in his grandchildren: Hallie, Kristie, and Robbie Jr.” And then my closing line is some version of the following: “We will hold Uncle Joe forever in our hearts. Of course we will... He’s a man, a huge presence in my life, who will be so very missed.” You are remembering your loved one to your tribe through storytelling like only a spouse or sibling or daughter or nephew or cousin can! Being called upon to speak of and bear witness to a life is a great honor. So why not speak with intense joy, with great love, and brimming tenderness? What a great privilege to convey the tight bond of love. Paul Boardman is a writer and interfaith funeral chaplain and celebrant living in Seattle. He grew up in Tokyo and is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

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live in the golden age of lifelong learning, when we can instantly access untold riches of information without leaving home. But it’s fun to learn in the company of others, and Western Washington offers plenty of lowcost options for older adults who want to blend intellectual exploration with social interaction. Fun is a key word. Although topics can be serious—and classes are often taught by college faculty—people who sign up for courses with the University of Washington’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI-UW), Telos at Bellevue College, or similar programs aren’t seeking a degree. There are no grades or tests. People are going back to the classroom for the joy of learning. For some, it can be an opportunity to make sense of the headlines. Not surprisingly, the Osher-sponsored course Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S.: An Unlikely Troika in the 21st Century filled up long before its midwinter starting date. “We plan these six months in advance, so we don’t always know what’s going to be timely,” says OLLI-UW director Natalie Lecher. The course was requested by people who’d previously enjoyed classes given by David Fenner, a UW lecturer whose specialties include the Middle East and Muslim migration. In another case, Osher participants told Lecher they


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

wanted to learn about the emerging world of cryptocurrency—and after two years of searching, she found a UW undergraduate with extensive knowledge of the topic. “Senior schools seniors in Bitcoin, blockchain,” read the headline on a UWBothell website account of Zachary Nelson’s class, which he has now taught for Osher in BY JULIE FANSELOW Mukilteo and Redmond, as well as for Bellevue College’s Telos program. “Our instructors are phenomenal,” says Miste DamrillLeib, whose portfolio as community and continuing education director at Bellevue College includes the Telos program. (“Telos” is a Greek word for fulfillment or purpose.) Learning doesn’t just happen in the head, and DamrillLeib says some of the most popular Telos classes are taught by Irene Pasternack, a specialist in the Feldenkrais Method who helps people relearn how to move. “She actually has helped

How to jump-start your mind, have fun, and meet other people who love to learn


people who were afraid to be at home by themselves because they were concerned that if they fell down, they wouldn’t be able to get up,” adds Damrill-Leib. Instructors enjoy working with older learners. At a recent Osher program, Tangled: Why Your Hair Matters to Society, UW professor Anu Taranath was peppered with questions and comments—and she says that’s typical in her programs, which focus on race, identity, and belonging. “I love Osher because folks are so curious, and if you give them a microphone, they really want to talk and share.” Taranath says she feels it’s her civic duty to engage with people of all ages, and Osher helps her expand beyond her usual circles on campus. “I love elders and have always loved being around elders and people who have led more life than I,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean people are

more wise. It just means we’re all coming into the story from different perspectives. That is enriching to me in a variety of ways.” Osher and Telos hold classes (priced from about $30 to $85, depending on length) that meet once a week for two to eight weeks. Both membership-based organizations also have student-driven activities, with groups meeting regularly to discuss books or movies. Osher offers an extensive series of free lunch-and-learn sessions that are open to nonmembers, and Damrill-Leib says Telos is exploring the idea of educational travel matched to some of its classes—maybe a journey to Japan and a trek to explore the history of rock ‘n’ roll. The Lifetime Learning Center (LLC) is another longtime education initiative for older adults. Originally inspired by the

Choose Your Learning Adventure

Organization organizes activities and lectures to supplement the course offerings.

Here’s a sampling of educational offerings for older adults in our region. Many other entities (including libraries, and parks and recreation departments) offer adult education programs, and some colleges waive or reduce regular academic class tuition for older students.

“Engaging Inquisitive Minds” is the motto for this organization holding classes and discussion groups in North Seattle. A free lunchtime “Let’s Talk” series on Mondays is open to the public. Programs are held at Lake City Presbyterian Church.

Osher Institute osher.uw.edu The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington is one of about 125 Osher programs around the United States. Classes are held on the UW campus as well as at retirement residences and community centers in several Seattle locations, plus Everett, Mercer Island, Mukilteo, and Redmond.

Telos at Bellevue College Bcconted.com (Look for “Retiree Programs.”) Classes are held year-round on Bellevue College’s North Campus, where there’s free underground parking. The Telos Student

Aging with Confidence

Lifetime Learning Center (LLC) LifetimeLearningCenter.org

Creative Retirement Institute (CRI) edcc.edu/cri

Academy for Lifelong Learning oce.wwu.edu/all

A member-driven program through Edmonds Community College, the CRI offers classes fall through spring. Membership also includes an Edmonds CC student ID, which grants access to the college gym and library.

Held in locations including Bellingham, Kingston, Port Townsend, and Poulsbo, these short courses from Western Washington University have featured such topics as Do Social Democracies Work? and The Poetry of Mary Oliver.

Seattle Parks & Recreation seattle.gov

Learning is ForEver (LIFE) plu.edu/learningisforever/

Neighborhood-based programs for people 50 and older include specialty offerings for people with dementia and the LGBTQ community. Search for lifelong recreation on the city website or call 206-615-0619 for the latest catalog.

Pacific Lutheran University offers an ongoing series of one-session classes on current topics, often featuring noted PLU faculty. Charles Bergman (featured in 3rd Act’s spring 2019 issue) will talk about penguins in a program set for May 6 on the Tacoma campus.

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| 3rd Act magazine 29

work of Father John LaFarge, There are no a Jesuit priest who advocated grades or tests. for aging as a time of seeking People are meaning and fulfillment, the nondenominational LLC going back to now holds classes at Lake the classroom City Presbyterian Church for the joy in North Seattle. Many of its programs—which have of learning. included meditation groups and ukulele circles—lean a little lighter than those at Osher and Telos, but there’s always a good variety in its offerings, which last eight weeks.

Osher, Telos, and LLC classes all take place midday to minimize the need for traveling in rush-hour traffic or at night, and in Osher’s case, the classes often come to participants: Courses are frequently held at retirement living communities including Mirabella in downtown Seattle, Era Living’s University House in Wallingford, and Trilogy at Redmond Ridge. “What we’ve heard from our members is ‘It’s hard to get to campus, traffic is bad, the weather is bad, I don’t know where to park,’” says Lecher. “They’ve said, ‘We really want to be in our community,’ and I think it’s made our program more effective and relevant to our members.” Lecher endorses how learning in community can boost social ties, too. “People come up and tell me great stories all the time,” she says, noting how two women who met at lunch-and-learn sessions in Redmond have become good friends, sharing the monthly gatherings as well as stories about their families—and it doesn’t even matter that they’re on opposite sides of the political divide. “They’re able to set that aside and develop this lovely friendship. It was so nice to hear that.” Julie Fanselow spent the winter in Mexico learning how to teach English as a foreign language. She hopes to use that new skill back in Seattle, where she writes and edits for clients including 3rd Act Magazine and Rick Steves’ Europe. Read more from her at surelyjoy.blogspot.com.

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starts with mere sounds, which become words, which turn into sentences that convey meaning. Learning to speak and to understand what others say is nothing short of an everyday miracle. We learn our mother tongue effortlessly, as children. But as older adults, trying to learn a second language can seem a daunting task. Now that I am retired and I love traveling throughout Mexico, I am gradually learning Spanish. My wife, Kay, and I manage to fly there about twice a year, but neither of us speaks much Spanish. We get by with a little book of Spanish phrases that keep us from starving at restaurants, and we rely a lot on gesturing. Our appreciation of Mexico’s culture and people is seriously limited by our inability to speak Spanish. Not to mention how stressful it can be getting on the right bus when no one in the bus station speaks English or guessing what the hotel clerk in the small town of Zitácuaro is telling you when he gives you your key. Is he saying, “Watch out for scorpions,” or “a free breakfast will be served at 6 a.m.”? To improve our Spanish, Kay and I spent two weeks in an immersion language program in Cuernavaca, a city about an hour south of Mexico City. Although I had a semester of college Spanish 50 years ago, Kay had never studied any foreign language. Despite our lack of formal language education, we both learned a lot—more than we thought


possible. It wasn’t easy, but if we wanted easy, we’d have opted for a Caribbean cruise. I m m e r si o n l a n g u a g e programs can be challenging. In most immersion programs, only the foreign language is spoken from the moment class starts until the end of the day. These programs require a commitment to learn as well as realistic expectations. Contrar y to what many people think, a few weeks of immersive study won’t make you fluent. The School BY JACK WAX of Language Studies of the U.S. Department of State has a long history of teaching 65 different languages to the diplomatic corps. According to their research, on average, adult learners can expect to become proficient in Spanish in about 6 months. That’s six months of classes for four hours a day, plus several more hours each day studying. You don’t need to go to Mexico or Spain to learn Spanish. In the Seattle area there are plenty of options for older adults who want to improve their Spanish or other foreign language skills—everything from community college classes to private lessons, in person or on the Internet. Because almost all language education is geared toward young adults or school-age kids, you need to find a teacher who understands that older adults learn differently than youths. The idea of studying how older adults learn a second language is relatively new. Danya Ramirez-Gomez, Ph.D., has been researching the process and has written a book about it, Language Teaching and the Older Adult: The Significance of Experience. In a recent interview, she explained that age is no obstacle for learning a second language. “The idea that just because you’re over 60 that you can’t learn a second language isn’t right. It’s not too late,” she said. Not only is it not too late, but it might be just in time.


There’s No Better Time to Learn a Second Language


Aging with Confidence

spring 2020

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The key to successful language learning is accommodating the differences, not necessarily negative ones, between older and younger students. When older adults make the effort to learn a new language, we give our brains a boost. We start rethinking how we learn, and quickly develop strategies to make the best use of our cognitive skills, regardless of any normal age-related declines. “The process helps you cope better with other cognitive challenges,” said RamirezGomez. Ramirez-Gomez pointed out that most scientists accept the idea of a critical period—a time when learning a language come naturally, without effort. It ends somewhere between the ages of five and 12. But just because that window of time is long past, doesn’t mean that the window is shut. “After the critical period, there are tons of

different ways we learn,” she said. With strong motivation, older people can become conversant in a second language, said Ramirez-Gomez. The key to successful language learning is accommodating the differences, not necessarily negative ones, between older and younger students. A positive attitude is the first and foremost requirement—not just on the part of the learner, but the teacher, as well. The stereotype of older adults being less able to learn can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. “We need to take seriously the idea that learning should be learner centered,” she said. According to Ramirez-Gomez, foreign language learning is far more than a leisure activity. The process contributes to our cognitive, emotional and social well-being. Additionally, it opens our world to the possibilities of rewarding international travel and meaningful relationships with people from other cultures. Jack Wax is chair of the Advisory Council of the Osher@ Mizzou Lifelong Learning Institute in Columbia, Missouri. He enjoys freelancing because each article is a chance to learn about someone or something new.

Learning a Second Language —Tips for Older Adults Based on Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language, by Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz • Stay motivated. Focus on the learning process, not the desired result. • Make a habit out of study. Set aside time every day to learn. • Avoid educational settings that feature rapid-fire questionand-answer practice. Older adults have slower reaction times and take longer to process information than younger learners. • Avoid relying on rote memory as your main learning technique. Instead, use your vast store of experiences by integrating new concepts into already existing ones. • Build on your strengths. Unlike children absorbing language, older adults can be intentional and develop learning strategies suited to their learning style and needs. • Listen and try to speak in a variety of settings with a variety of different people. • Don’t worry about learning thousands of new words. Several hundred terms will allow you to communicate. • Avoid cognitive overload. Study a bit, relax a bit, go back to studying more. • Use all your modalities for learning—reading, writing, speaking, listening.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020



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Parting with a Home You Love

Art Without Borders

Poetry Tess

Gallagher on Creativity, Vita lity, and Resilience

S The Sublime WorkBone Up on Osteoporosis of Seattle Artist in Alfredo Arregu NO BAD BREAK

FEAR AGING? You’re Not Alone

TECHNOLOGY WE LOVE It’s Not Rocket Science

A Whole Newtimes, Place In these turbulent to Retire 3rd Act is a positive voice HOUSE SHARING An Option Worth Considering

NEW LEASHES ON LIFE Loving Homes for Senior Dogs

TRAVEL Stretch Your Comfort Zone

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for aging with confidence Worth Considering • Conscious Aging • Health & Wellness • Retirement Planning • Travel & Entertainment THE OTHER BOOM • Insights & Ideas Retirement Living Options Surge

spring 2020

| 3rd Act magazine 33


The Puget Sound skyline sports a now familiar ridge of construction cranes that reflects the BY CONNIE MCDOUGALL region’s youthful tech boom and population growth. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see a different kind of expansion underway—robust development of vibrant communities for mature adults. A handful of examples illustrate the point. Bellevue-based Aegis Living, which offers premium assisted-living and memory-care options, plans to double its number of communities by 2030, and currently has six Seattle projects either in the pipeline or under construction. This year, the company also breaks ground on a community in San Rafael, adding to an established California presence. SHAG (Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations) depends on the federal tax credit program to operate 26 local independent-living communities, with plans to move beyond the Puget Sound area in the future, taking its focus on affordable retirement living to a national audience. With properties in eight states, family-owned Koelsch Communities is building a $93 million assisted-living and memory-care project in Belle Harbor, Bellevue, as well as other memory-care communities in both Kirkland and Puyallup. A major development is going up north of Seattle where Quail Park of Lynnwood has 96 assisted-living apartments under construction along with 26 luxury, independent-living cottages. No surprise, the need for additional and varied communities is, in part, driven by the Baby Boom. Born between 1946 and 1964, this generation is now retiring in droves with population intensity building for many years to come. Factor in that people are living longer, an increased demand for services is clear. “There are tectonic shifts happening in senior housing with lots of players in the game, both for-profit and nonprofit,” says Kris Engskov, president of Aegis Living. “We’ll have more people over the age of 75 by 2025 than people under the age of 18. That’s never happened before.” In addition to the need for more living spaces for more people, companies


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

are building now because they can, says Aaron Koelsch, president, and chief executive officer of Koelsch Communities. “During the recession, building construction came to a near standstill. They couldn’t find bank partners, and yet our country did not stop aging. Now we’re catching up to that pent-up demand. Financing is far more available, and it’s not expensive.” Yet another driver of retirement construction is the money to be made, at least for the higher-end properties. “Yes, absolutely, if done right, or we wouldn’t be able to get financing,” Koelsch says. “There are rewards for the risk taken.” According to the article “Winners and Losers as Oregon’s Population Ages” on the website OregonBusiness.com, investment profit on adult communities can beat out apartment or commercial buildings. “The companies investing in elder-care projects reap big profit margins. It continues, “With big profits, many private-equity firms and institutional investors are moving into senior housing. The sector is also attracting interest from abroad.” That’s a reversal from the past, notes Beth Burnham Mace, chief economist at the Annapolis-based National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care, also known as NIC. The nonprofit conducts research, offering valuable data and analytics for investors as well as to providers of housing and care. “Twenty-five years ago, there wasn’t the comfort-level from investors that there is now,” she says. “Today, we have more transparency, more data, and investors are more knowledgeable about both the opportunities and the challenges of investing in this property type. They also see senior housing as more recession-proof, especially assisted living, due to its needbased services. If you’re an investor, you like that because it takes away some of the risk in economic cycles.” The money tends to flow toward premium properties, and Mace would like to see affordable, middle-income communities share in the bounty. “Investors want good returns, of course, but I’m asking, can’t there


be a social responsibility aspect we can talk about?” As the quantity of mature communities changes, so does the quality. We’ve come a long way from the old model of nursing homes, with the Boomer wave ushering in an age of innovation. “They [Boomers] never accepted the status quo. They’re always looking for what’s new,” says Keri Pollock with Aging Wisdom, a consulting and care management practice for older adults and their families. “There are all kinds of alternatives now, from virtual villages to continuing care,” she says. As an example of progressive change, Pollock points to an innovative eight-story LGBTQ retirement apartment building under construction on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, The Eldridge. “The sad reality is, older LGBTQ folks may be stigmatized in some settings,” says Pollock. “This will be a welcoming and affirming place, the first of its kind in Washington State.” Care for the environment is a birthright

of this generation. Earth Day began in 1970. It’s no wonder that adult communities also embrace those values. Last year, Aegis Living broke ground on a property along the Kirkland waterfront that’s billed as the “greenest senior living building in the world.” Kris Engskov with Aegis explains that the company continually gauges the desires of its customers and adapts to meet them. “Their expectations are very different from the last generation. People want experiences. It’s integrated into how they live.” He adds that these communities must also appeal to the grown children of older adults. “In urban markets we’re seeing adult children bringing their parents closer to them, where they work, especially in Seattle and San Francisco, the tech hubs.” And the kids favor amenities, engagement and innovation. Responding to that demand,

Photos clockwise from the top left: Rendering of outdoor patio at Bell Harbor, a Koelsch assisted-living and memorycare community under construction in Bellevue; waterfall at Aegis Living, Mercer Island; and rendering of Aegis Living's new Bellevue Overlake community, now under construction.

more and more communities are adopting a hotel model of service, complete with concierge. “We call it living in place rather than aging in place,” says David Haack, executive vice president and chief marketing officer with Living Care Lifestyles, which operates Quail Park properties in Washington, California, Arizona, and Texas. Always looking for new ways to engage, the company launches an educational experiment this spring called Quail Park U in which a small cohort follows a six-month curriculum that includes exercise and nutrition classes. Haack says, “If it’s popular, and I expect it will be, we’ll be introducing Quail Park U this year to our entire Lynnwood campus.” Early on, his company embraced technology, including virtual reality (VR) sessions at the memory-care community of Quail Park, West Seattle. Research shows that VR can enrich the lives of people dealing with dementia. “People want to be recognized, not marginalized,” says Haack. Cutting-edge technologies are an increasing feature of adult communities. Consider the new Koelsch assisted-living and memorycare project under construction in Belle Harbor, Bellevue. “The memorycare community is three stories rather


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

With attention to detail inside and out many new communities offer a variety of resortlike common areas. Left, the Keywaydin Sky Lounge at Aegis, Mercer Island. Right, a rendering of an outdoor patio at Koelsch's new Bellevue community.

than ground level,” Aaron Koelsch says. “To address safety and access, we’ve taken tech to another level. On a scale of 1-10, this is a 10. There are cameras, advanced calling and alarm systems, as well as other safety and security technologies.” Jay Woolford, executive director of SHAG, says his organization’s most innovative effort is finding new, creative ways to provide affordable independent-living options within a lively community. “We’re trying to help people who don’t have access to higher-end options, which is most people. We develop and produce housing in an efficient way, relying on federal tax credits,” Woolford says. “Our model also encourages diversity. We mirror the local population, with multiple cultures from different backgrounds. Our objective is to be part of the broader neighborhood, not an isolated island of seniors in a service desert.” Also seeking new approaches to affordability, Care Partners Senior Living offers varied levels of care including independent living, assisted

living, and memory care. This locally owned and operated company has 13 properties in the Puget Sound area with additional communities being built this year. Regional sales manager Susan Dale explains that they utilize resources in the community to expand what they can offer. “To enrich lives, we partner with senior centers, the YMCA, local schools and others. Ours is a unique model in the industry, aiming at the middle class who have worked hard all their lives.” While these families typically have savings, a pension and a home, Care Partners works to make sure people don’t outlive their means. Dale says, “We’re dedicated to easing the stress on families. Our residents can spend down to Medicaid. We offer excellent care, comfort and community.” Going forward, every bit of ingenuity from all stakeholders will be needed to successfully navigate this brave new world of living options for mature adults. “We’re taking care of that first wave now,” says Aegis’s Kris Engskov. “The next wave lands in 20 years. We are just getting started.”. Connie McDougall is a former news reporter and current freelance writer of nonfiction and personal essays. A lifelong student and proud English major, she has pursued lessons in flying, scuba diving, tai chi, Spanish, meditation, hiking and, most recently, Zumba.


Aging with Confidence

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Aging With Andy Post sits on the couch, one leg tucked under the other, shoes checked at the door to the apartment on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. He’s already put out a tray of appetizers, has checked on a vegetable curry stewing in the kitchen, and is settling a bit before dinner. Across the room sits Tom Bigelow, comfortable in a lounge chair, below a portrait of himself painted when he was a young man. Andy is 26. Tom is 86. Certainly you’d earn a “good guess” if you suspected grandson and grandfather. But no. Caregiver and client? No, not really. What? Friends. Simply that, and as important as that. GenFriends. The pair are part of a pilot program launched by a group called GenPRIDE, a Seattle-based LGBTQ organization aimed with laser focus at older members of that community. Founded, officially, in 2017, GenPRIDE offers an array of programs, connections, and events for elders, recognized by many as the one group—growing rapidly—ignored in some cases and certainly isolated in many respects from what might be considered mainstream and much younger LGBTQ people, to say nothing of the older, general population. And GenFriends? One of GenPRIDE’s efforts. It’s a concerted move to match young LGBTQ members with their elders. Tom, known as Father Tom, preaches at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood. Andy works in resource development for Solid Ground, a Seattle nonprofit. They’ve been friends since they first met in


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

GenPRIDE Brings Needed Connection and Programs to LGBTQ Elders BY TERRY TAZIOLI 2018; Andy is at Tom’s every week, fixing dinner. Sometimes friends eat with them. They will head to events together. Exactly what GenPRIDE had in mind. Friendship. GenFriends, however, is but one of a myriad programs, events, and help that GenPRIDE offers and plans to expand in the future, according to genprideseattle.org. The organization is on a mission—in a nutshell of its own words, to empower older LGBTQ adults to live with pride and dignity through programs and services that enhance belonging and support, eliminate discrimination, and honor the lives of older members. A 2015 study by Aging with Pride at the University of Washington found that older LGBTQ adults “are at heightened risk of disability, poor health, mental distress, and living alone, compared to heterosexuals of similar age. LGBTQ older adults have been historically invisible and largely overlooked in aging and health and human services, policy, and research.” At that time of the study, the LGBTQ population represented about 2.4% of the older adult population in Seattle/King County. Their numbers are expected to double by 2030. Successes? Absolutely. For years, GenPRIDE worked with eight other LGBTQ organizations and Capitol Hill Housing to finally win a City-of-Seattle OK to build an eight-story housing complex on Broadway aimed at older, low-income LGBTQ adults. The community is expected to open in 2023.


Steven Knipp, executive director of GenPRIDE since 2018, says they have trained hundreds of people at local organizations on issues specific to LGBTQ adults. “We teach them why LGBTQ seniors come to their doors a little bit skittish and what you can do to make your facility more welcoming,” Knipp says Thanks to a $1.4 million grant from King County, GenPRIDE is assessing area senior centers, what they’re doing (or not) for LGBTQ elders and what GenPRIDE can do to help. And that has led to another pilot program, facilitated gatherings at Ballard and Shoreline senior centers. “Our goal is to create a core program at all of the centers, community conversations,” Knipp says. “Once we get done with this, we’ll have senior centers equipped to handle older LGBTQ adults who come into the door.” Glenda West is a facilitator at Ballard. She’d already been involved with senior centers before she began volunteering with GenPRIDE about a year ago. The Ballard group has a core of regulars who show up for GenPRIDE’s community conversation. (Both West and Knipp acknowledge that Ballard had a head start, which probably helped attendance. The senior center already hosts a group called Aging Ballard Lesbian Exchange, a club organized to support older lesbians in that area.) The GenPRIDE group meets monthly, with hors d’oeuvres and wine, and topics, ranging from chosen families and

Aging with Confidence

community to fear-of-aging and good reads. It’s a strong start, and a reconnection of sorts for many LGBTQ adults who forged their early relationships in a common struggle for their rights. Now they have found less need for the fight, in part because of a growing acceptance of the LGBTQ community by many segments of the general population. As a result, many have lost contacts and connections. West sees it this way: “If you looked at anything that was at one point segregated, you’re going to have the ‘yes, this is great that it’s mainstreamed.’ But what people don’t talk about is grieving the loss of the special separate parties, whatever that you had that were all your own. When you mainstream anything, that falls away. That sense of community, that unity goes away and you lose those bonds that once existed.” And that, she says, is what re-creating community is all about. It’s been tougher at Shoreline, says Jessi Harris, a facilitator there. The word about LGBTQ community conversations went out last year. A gathering was scheduled. And nobody showed up. No one showed up at the next one either. Or the one after that. Finally, recently, three people have shown interest. So far, that’s it, and even that in fits and starts. One enthusiastic attendee came once and has not returned. Another is excited to attend but she wants the group to grow. So does Harris, “but we

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Rendering of an eight-story housing complex planned to open in 2023 on Capital Hill.

can’t make it bigger until people show up.” Isolation is one problem, Harris says, there simply may not be a great number of older LGBTQ living in the area. “Shoreline has been described to me as an older community of conservative people, and a lot of LGBTQ people raised there went elsewhere to live. And they haven’t gone back.” Still, Harris says, there’s no giving up. “We can’t let this [the Gen.PRIDE community conversations at Shoreline] die. I won’t let it die. I’m stubborn that way.”


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

There is a similar thread that, subtly or not, runs through practically every conversation about GenPRIDE. It will not go away. It will not die. Because it’s needed, and it’s thriving. You need only to sit and listen to Father Tom and Andy to understand what’s at work here. What’s at stake. Father Tom: “You don’t experience another human being for any length of time that they don’t become part of you. I will be saying things the way Andy is saying things. Part of him has rubbed off on me. His wisdom. I am better off because of it.” Andy: “The perseverance in relationships, difficult conversations. It’s a different lens here [at Father Tom’s]. A very comfortable place to be. We’ve shared a lot of our own stories. One of the things that will be nice about this friendship is that so much of it I’ll carry with me. Most of the learning will happen after the fact.” Steven Knipp most likely would tell you this is true in everything GenPRIDE does. Terry Tazioli works part time at University Book Store in Seattle. He left The Seattle Times in 2008, and since then has been serving in various volunteer positions, hosted a national PBS book show called WellREAD, and writes occasional freelance articles for various publications.




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Aging with Confidence

spring 2020

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Go for It!

It’s never too late to find your passion and act on it

Robert Frost once wrote, “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” Despite building skills over the course of our lives, many of us don’t realize our true calling until we hit our later years. BY ANN RANDALL Gifted with perspective and PHOTOS BY ERNIE SAPIRO clarity about what we value, we can finally give ourselves permission to abandon what’s been holding us back and try on new roles. The research on aging confirms that a late life reboot is a good move. Older adults live longer when we feel worthy and happy; when we think of our lives and skillsets as improving instead of stagnating. So, what does a third act reinvention look like? For these six Puget Sounders it’s about taking risks, doubling down, and reaching deep to find happiness.

Lora Hein

As a child, Hein’s mother told her she danced while in the womb and signed her up for ballet classes. For a free spirit who preferred Dances Like twirling and leaping, staid ballet wasn’t a good She Means It fit. At ten, her grandmother gave her Spanish castanets, a prescient gift she used for childhood freeform choreography. In college Hein discovered African dance. In later years, she joined folk dancing groups and fantasized ice skating a routine to the music of Santana. Eventually, her love of dance took a backseat to a demanding career, moves, home renovations, and marriage. But two years before retirement, Hein noticed a beginning flamenco class that was scheduled nearby and on her one free evening. Recalling her gifted castanets and attracted by the dance’s passionate, exotic


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

Ed Cuomo

Elayne Vogel


Keith Johnson

Aging with Confidence

Lora Hein Don Russell

Jan Johnson

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allure, she decided to give it a try. After the first class she was hooked. She told her teacher she could think of no better way to dementia proof her brain than to immerse herself in learning flamenco’s intricate movements. She loved the drama of it—the swirling skirts, the clattering heels, the dramatic arm postures, and the joy she felt dancing again. With more time to practice post-retirement, Heim signed up for intermediate lessons, performing with her class at Northwest Folklife Festival. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling to dance in front of a Seattle Center packed auditorium. It was supposed to be a one-time public performance. Then, a few years later, came an enticing call. Would she be willing to dance in a 2018 flamenco showcase to a medley of Santana tunes? It was kismet. “Black Magic Woman” was not only the soundtrack of an old skating fantasy, it became the beloved soundtrack of her flamenco onstage encore.

Keith Johnson

Keith, a retired teacher, is no slouch when it comes to embracing new roles. He and his wife Jan are enthusiastic Goes for the gold cheerleaders for each other’s third act do-over. He supports her efforts by volunteering as a driver for KIAC and helping out whenever he’s not training and competing as a world-class senior athlete. A competitive tennis player since high school, Johnson has over five decades of tennis tournaments behind him. At 65, he and his partner won the Washington State Doubles Championship in their age group. But not satisfied with that performance, he went in search of an outdoor activity that would help him stay fit in the winter and discovered the lesser known sport of snowshoe running. A cold weather endurance workout that burns more calories than road running and is twice as difficult, competitive snowshoe running is a 200-year-old European sporting event that’s only recently gained popularity in the United States. Now age 73, Johnson has competed in seven national snowshoe championships held in such high-altitude locations as the 10,000-foot Colorado Rockies. Despite taking up the sport later in life, he’s good enough that he’s won several bronze, silver, and gold individual medals. He’s so good that last year Johnson qualified for the 2019 USA World Cup Snowshoe Team. Competing in Italy’s Tyrolian Alps, he took eighth place in his division. He qualified for Team USA again this year, and accompanied by his wife Jan as cheerleader, took the bronze medal in February’s World Cup competition at Mt. Myoko, Japan.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


Jan Johnson

For 74-year-old Jan Johnson a lifetime of activism took on new urgency the morning of November 10, 2016. The retired school librarian and long-time political Uses Her Voice volunteer felt a sense of dread. Anti-immigrant to Give Voice to rhetoric of the presidential campaign was impacting Others her community. She had neighbors who were fearful. She heard from former teaching colleagues their students were scared. So, she contacted Kitsap Immigration Assistance Center (KIAC) and volunteered to do whatever they needed. As the only regional nonprofit providing legal and family support services to low- and moderate-income immigrants, KIAC needed a lot, but what they needed most, they told Johnson, was legal assistance for their clients. Two months later, Johnson boarded a plane for the Washington, D.C. Women’s March carrying a tote of study materials for an exam that would certify her as a Department of Justice Accredited Legal Representative. By June she’d completed the rigorous course and began providing legal representation to KIAC clients. The nonprofit provides a variety of services including immigration court representation and asylum and removal defense, but Johnson’s passion is making new citizens. She regularly puts in 40-hour workweeks navigating hopeful residents through the complex and evolving requirements to become naturalized; work that includes tutoring them for their civics exam, assisting with citizenship documents, and travelling to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration offices throughout the state to represent them in naturalization hearings. Since that ominous November morning, over 100 citizen applicants from 18 different countries have benefitted from her inspired efforts.

Elayne Vogel & Ed Cuomo

Elayne is 79. Ed is 70. And while they each have a fascinating backstory (she’s a respected Tacoma artist working in multiple mediums and his family immigrated from the Netherlands when he was young) this is a story about taking a risk for Find New Love and Commitment late in life love. Elayne grew up in the Jewish faith and, as was expected by family and religious tradition, at age 20, married a Jewish man. That marriage ended in divorce. Deciding love was more important than a common faith, she fell in love and tried again. That marriage also ended in divorce. So, four years ago at age 75, when she signed up for an online dating site, it was with a healthy dose of skepticism. She planned to date, but never again live with someone. Enter Ed. Also divorced, Ed describes his online dating experience as frustrating, confusing, and disappointing at times. His divorce, six years before he met Elayne, was painful. Still, when they agreed to meet for coffee on the first date, they found they had a lot in common. Elayne is a prolific artist and former 25-year tenured faculty member at Green River Community College. Ed is a graphic designer who worked for advertising agencies and now runs his own design studio. They both love photography. It was tentative at first. After the coffee date, there was a movie date. For three years they only saw each other on weekends. Then more regularly. They traveled together. Had fun adventures as a couple. Elayne realized she’d never been in a relationship so compatible: one where she felt loved, comfortable, and loving. One where she was appreciated for her independence. It became apparent to Ed that he couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. This past December the couple moved in together. “We finally realized,” explained Ed, “we were a bonded couple meant for each other.” Aging with Confidence

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Don Russell

Ann Randall is an independent traveler and writer who loves venturing to out-ofthe-way locales from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. A former educator, she now observes international elections and does volunteer work in India. Her articles have appeared in online and print publications, and she blogs at PeregrineWoman.com.


This September, 83-year-old Don Russell will be hiking through the Alaskan wilderness in search of grizzly Takes a Walk on the Wild Side bears to photograph. An avid boater and outdoorsman in earlier years, Russell had always taken photos of mountains and waterways to record trips. Eight years ago, after he retired, his wife convinced him to join her Woodland Park walking group. He did, albeit reluctantly, and brought his camera along for company. It was a fortuitous decision. On the walks, he discovered he loved photographing animals. They were a challenge. They moved. They were unpredictable, even in a zoo. Russell wondered what they’d be like in their natural environment and decided to find out by joining the Northwest Nature and Wildlife Photography Club, upgrading his equipment and travelling to photograph animals in the wild. His 80th birthday was spent with his photography club in the rainforest islands of Hartley Bay, British Columbia photographing the elusive Spirit Bear and attending a First Nations celebration. A year later, he traveled to Rwanda to photograph mountain gorillas, and then to Tanzania to shoot wildlife photos in the Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Parks. At age 82 he flew to Brazil to the world’s largest wetland, home to the biggest predator in the tropical Americas—the jaguar. That year he also traveled the rough roads of south-central India to capture Royal Bengal Tigers on film. Russell used his seventh decade to follow an unexpected curiosity, expand a travel bucket list and learn new skills. In the process he became something new—a bona fide wildlife photographer. Absent real limitations of health and mobility, you are only limited by your imagination. Your age has nothing to do with it. So, go for it!

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Aging with Confidence

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The Call to Adventure Using Myth to Navigate Late-Life Transitions BY MICHAEL C. PATTERSON


ick lay in bed and wondered why he should get up. At 82, he had recently uprooted his life and moved across country to share a home he purchased with his younger son’s family. It was painful to let go of his previous life. And what remained of his possessions now lay boxed in his son’s basement. “I realized getting up each morning was force of habit, which was pathetic!” he says. Dick decided that he needed to make some changes. All cultures have archetypal transition myths. In these mythic stories a hero sheds his or her past, navigates the mysteries of an unknown future, and ultimately dons a new and more powerful iteration of their evolving self. In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell examines the history of world mythology. He concludes that despite infinite diversity, the pantheon of mythic heroes all strive, in one way or another, to make sense of the riddles of life and to cope with inevitable change. One mythic theme that finds expression across all cultures is what Campbell calls The Hero’s Journey or The Call to Adventure. This often takes form in modern culture as coming-of-age stories. In “Star Wars,” the young Luke Skywalker ventures into outer space where Yoda tutors him to become a Jedi warrior and to find “the force” within him. Peter Parker is a young boy who is bitten by a radiated spider and acquires amazing superpowers. As Spiderman, Peter must learn how to control his power and to accept the responsibilities that come with maturity. Dorothy, a young girl on the cusp of womanhood, is caught in a whirlwind that transports her to the magical world of Oz, where she finds her power and defines her values. While coming-of-age stories usually focus on the transition from childhood to adulthood, as Dick came to learn, the transition from adulthood to elderhood is just as challenging. Late-life transitions have their own mythology,


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but unlike the heroes of childhood coming-of-age stories, older heroes often fail to find the happy ending. Rather than calls to adventure, late-life transition myths tend to be cautionary tales that warn of inevitable deterioration, disease, and decline. The character Jacques in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, for example, articulates the Elizabethan concept of the Seven




The Architecture of Late-Life Transitions Most transitions have a four-part architecture that echoes The Hero’s Journey. Successful navigation of late-life transitions is easier if you understand the challenges you face with each phase of the journey.


A Departure You chose or are forced to leave the comfort and familiarity of “home.” You need to grieve for what is left behind and control your anxiety about facing an unknown future. The old way of doing things is left behind. Dorothy is lifted by a tornado, transported away from the flat brown plains of Kansas and is deposited in the magical world of Oz.


The Wilderness You cross a threshold that severs the connection with the past and enter a forbidding wilderness. You are guarded because everything seems strange, different and intimidating. Dorothy is transported to the land of Oz where, with the help of new friends and guides, she confronts great challenges, and gathers strength and confidence.


Transformation You undergo a transformation. Gradually, you adapt to your new world and evolve into a new and improved version of your Self. You acquire new powers and greater clarity about your purpose. Dorothy, and her friends, discover their inner power. They learn that they possess the intelligence, compassion, and courage to pursue clear and meaningful goals.


Commitment You have found an emotional compass that gives your new life greater clarity and purpose and fully commit to pursuing your new path. For Dorothy, there is no place like home. She commits to a return to Kansas and her family. Her friends follow different paths, leaving behind their old lives to explore their new identities.

Ages of Man, which ends with “second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” What a dismal way to end a life, leaving the stage not with a bang but with a whimper. It’s time to reframe these late-life transition myths. My colleague Roger Anunsen and I have coined a new word to describe a more optimistic and positive vision of old age. Qualongevity. This neologism couples increased longevity with quality-of-life. “Qualongevity” defines the goal of living long and living well. It is an image of health, happiness, meaning, and purpose across a full lifespan. One critical key to achieving Qualongevity is the ability to successfully navigate late-life transitions. The core structure of The Hero’s Journey suggests a useful way to organize late-life transitions into stages and to define the type of challenges we need to face and overcome. (See the box.) In the last three years, my friend Dick has run a gauntlet of unanticipated challenges. In a short time, he lost the three most important women in his life. A bicycle accident cracked his spine and ended his daily exercise routine. Macular degeneration daily reduces what Dick can see and read. Stenosis and neuropathy make mobility a struggle. These are daunting late-life transitions. Dick has been forced, time and again, to depart from his known world and confront unanticipated new challenges. Like Dorothy in the

Aging with Confidence

“Wizard of Oz,” a whirlwind of events has transported Dick into a new and frightening world. Heroes are made by the choices they make in the face of adversity, by the resilience they display, and by their ability to adapt. Dick could have said, “I’m old, I’m sick, I’m tired! I am just going to lay in bed and wait for death.” But that isn’t what heroes do. Rather than focus on what he could no longer do, Dick decided to figure out how to make the most of what he could do, to explore the capabilities he still possessed. In spite of his challenges with vision and mobility, Dick leaves his house each day and takes public transportation or a Lyft to meetings and events at the local senior center or his local village organization. He participates in six discussion groups, two of which he initiated and leads. He is learning Spanish and the Braille alphabet and taking classes at the Braille Institute on how to cope with visual impairment. Dick has reinvented his life. He has confronted the wilderness and transformed himself. He has discovered new sources of happiness and invented new ways to cultivate meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Dick has answered the late-life call to adventure. Dick is my hero. Michael C. Patterson, founder and CEO of MINDRAMP Consulting, writes extensively on the art and science of brain health and mental flourishing. He is an educator and consultant who previously managed AARP’s Staying Sharp brain health program and helped develop the field of creative aging.

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Anacortes at sunset. Photo courtesy the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce

So how does one decide whether to stay, go, or where to land next? A growing body of research has identified common factors on the 50-plus wish list for a next chapter place to call home:


WHOLE NEW PLACE? Here are 3 Washington Towns You Should Consider BY ANN RANDALL Consider these facts. According to AARP’s latest research, one in three Americans is now over age 50. However, only 59% of our demographic intends to age in place in our current community. The rest of us are considering relocation driven by factors like cost of living, climate, traffic, proximity to family, medical care, and housing. That’s a potential migration of over 44 million seniors in search of what author and gerontologist, Stephen Golant calls, “aging in the right place.” Earlier in our lives, the factors that drove our where-tolive decisions could have included proximity to job. Now that we’re endowed with longer, healthier lives than previous generations, we want a community offering amenities that meet our current and future lifestyle. It should be a place to pursue favorite pastimes and that bucket list we put on hold. It’s a quandary, though. Is the answer moving to a less expensive part of the country? Bidding adieu to a quiet suburban life for a vibrant urban setting or escaping city traffic congestion for Aging with Confidence

• Recreational opportunities and fitness amenities • Educational and cultural activities • Opportunities for continued work • Community participation and volunteer possibilities • Networking opportunities • Walkability • Public transportation • High speed internet access • A downtown with a sense of community (public library, coffee shops, restaurants) • Airport access for travel and visitors • A community with an openness to newcomers • Proximity to friends and family

rural tranquility? Or is it a rebooted attitude about our current locale and its ability to meet the needs of our new life chapter? Begin by consciously creating your own checklist. Depending on health and financial circumstances, you may have additional items. Creating the list requires a mind shift because activities that filled your time and served your needs as a working, family-raising, middle-aged adult have shifted. It’s important to evaluate your best place to retire through that lens. Identify needs vs wants. Prioritize and be realistic. You may want family proximity to spend more time with your teenage grandchildren, while they prefer spending it with friends. If so, high speed internet for grandkid FaceTime chats might be more practical. Then do the research. Whether it’s relocating to another

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GLIMPSES OF LIFE IN PORT ANGELES Clockwise from the top left: Happy hour at a waterside pub (M. Krueger Photography); hiking in Olympic National Park (photo by Adam McKibben); artist at Juan de Fuca Art Festival (M. Krueger Photography); walking beside Crescent Lake (photo by Adam McKibben)

neighborhood or a major move elsewhere, check the community’s website, tourism materials, and local newspaper for civic organizations, schools, fitness amenities and arts organizations—all possible opportunities to network, volunteer, or socialize. Dig deeper by signing up for newsletters and joining Facebook and Meetup groups where neighborhood and community interest groups hang out like art groups, book clubs, and senior volleyball leagues. If retiring in place is your preference, consciously consider if it meets the needs on your list. Spend a chunk of time in possible communities during ideal and inclement weather. And while there, really try it on for size. Stay in a vacation rental with a kitchen so you’re living in a neighborhood and shopping at the local grocery store. Attend a meeting of the arts or civic group that interests you, check out the library, use its public transportation system, bike its pathways, take a class, hang out in its coffeeshops, and meander its downtown core. Experience the community as a potential resident, not just a visitor. Policymakers are beginning to realize our generation isn’t interested in a one-size-fits-all retirement. The Milkin Institute’s report, “Age Forward Cities for 2030,” advises communities to be nimble in addressing a 50+ population “that is vast not only in number but also in age range, and diverse in all the ways younger adults are—in interests, needs, motivations, and physical and cognitive abilities.”


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There are residents in several Washington towns who’ve realized their lower cost of living isn’t enough to attract the AARP generation. Though they haven’t marketed the towns as retirement locations, they’ve reinvented them by adding seniorappealing new amenities and opportunities, expanded public transportation and high-speed internet access. Once you’ve done an assessment of what you want and need, it’s much easier to research what makes them an attractive relocation option. Here are three examples using the above wish list:

PORT ANGELES No longer a remote Olympic Peninsula logging town, reinvigorated Port Angeles is home to the Juan de Fuca Festival of Arts with its year-round season of nationally renowned music, theater, and dance performances. Additional cultural opportunities include the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra, the Forest Storytelling Festival, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, and the Art Mural Trail. After an evening of culture, the Olympic Culinary Loop offers up an eclectic choice of eateries and wineries. The town boasts 35 family, community, and civic organizations ranging from Habitat for Humanity to the Peninsula Trails Association. For new arrivals, the North Olympic Newcomers Club offers meetups, interest groups, and social events to get oriented. www.3rdActMag.com

Clockwise from the top: Wenatchee's vibrant downtown; Wenatchee enjoys copious Eastern Washington sunshine on the banks of the Columbia River (photos courtesy visitWenatchee.com); Kayakers explore the islands near Anacortes. (photo courtesy Anacortes Chamber of Commerce)

“Now that we’re endowed with longer, healthier lives than previous generations, we want a community offering amenities that meet our current and future lifestyle.” Port Angeles is home to Peninsula College offering two-year degrees, community education courses, and its own cultural programs, including several at the House of Learning, the first Native American longhouse in the nation built on a community college campus. For outdoor lovers there are one million acres of surrounding Olympic National Park hiking trails and fishing rivers, 147 miles of Olympic Discovery Trail, and two golf courses. And for sports spectators, a collegiate summer baseball team called the Port Angeles Lefties. The Clallam Transit and the Dungeness Line bus services provide local and regional transportation, but also service to the Seattle ferries, Seattle hospitals, and SeaTac Airport. And for anyone wanting an easy international trip, the Blackball Ferry line makes the 90- minute trip daily between Port Angeles and Victoria, Canada.

WENATCHEE It’s hard to resist a town whose motto (like our generation’s)

Aging with Confidence

is “Always Fresh, Always Growing.” Lining Wenatchee’s walkable downtown core, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are plenty of eateries, coffeeshops, and stores selling products from nearby wineries, craft cideries, and brewpubs. Pybus Public Market— a repurposed steel mill—is a popular community gathering place, and market of local produce and artisan products with music scheduled in the summer. If outdoor recreation is your priority, there’s Mission Ridge Ski Resort; Ohme Garden’s nine acres of walking paths; the 26-mile Apple Capital Loop Trail; 14 nearby golf courses and, a short drive away, North Cascades National Park. Home to two acclaimed performance venues—the Music Theatre of Wenatchee and the Numerica Performing Arts Center—Wenatchee’s theater scene produced the Tonynominated actress and playwright Heidi Schreck. The town’s galleries sponsor monthly First Friday Art Walks and summer concerts. Wenatchee Valley Community College offers an extensive catalogue of personal enrichment continuing education opportunities in fine and maker arts, languages, gardening, outdoor recreation, and cooking and baking. Link Transit is the community public bus system serving the city, college, Mission Ridge, and surrounding communities. Don’t want to drive to Seattle? It’s a 4.5-hour scenic train ride

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from Wenatchee’s Amtrak Station to Seattle’s King Street Station. Alaska Airlines flies daily from Wenatchee’s Pangborn Memorial Airport to SeaTac.

ANACORTES Located in the Olympic Rain Shadow, a 90-minute drive from the urban amenities of both Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Anacortes gets a full foot less annual rain than Seattle. Big city accessibility and weather make it an option for seniors wanting a drier western Washington place to “rehome.” With a higher than state average of residents 50+ (31% of the town’s adult population qualify as seniors), it’s already been discovered. This community loves a good festival. Almost once a month, there’s a celebration showcasing its art, beer, oysters, maritime history, wine, and salmon. All those festivals need volunteers, providing plenty of opportunities for involvement, while getting a dose of local arts and culture. The Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center advertises a variety of classes and workout opportunities, many that are free or low cost through senior health insurance plans. Fifty miles of trails, including the Anacortes Community Forest Lands are available for walking and biking.

“Research says aging in a healthy way is closely linked to the physical, social, and economic environments of older adults.” The unique Anacortes Senior College offers a no stress learning and social environment of courses geared to the 50+ community. Its 70 volunteer instructors have taught over 4,000 students in engaging classes such as the Politics of Climate Change, Artists of Skagit, and Understanding Worldwide Religions. For history and architecture buffs, Anacortes has nine buildings on the National Historic Register, including its public library with its own schedule of events and classes like its Wednesday Adult Programs. The Skagit Transit bus routes include the town and county, as well as Bellingham and Everett. Nearby Mt Vernon has Amtrak access to Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Research says aging in a healthy way is closely linked to the physical, social, and economic environments of older adults. Where we age is a key determinant of how long we’ll live. Whether that’s aging in place or in the right place, it’s a decision that deserves age-forward decision-making.

Explore Generations Memory Care At Harbour Pointe, our Generations Memory Care is a program focused on the individual’s strengths to foster moments of achievement. Our associates complete extensive, certified initial and ongoing training to better support our resident individuals living with dementia.

If you or a loved one is looking for an assisted living or memory care community driven by a dedication to care and compassion, please call us today and schedule a tour. 10200 Harbour Place | Mukilteo, WA 98275 | (844) 307-8772 | hpretire.com


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


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It’s Never Too Late to Find Your Purpose BY KATHRYN CAROLE ELLISON


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Our culture honors youth with all Its unbridled effervescence. We older ones sit back and nod As if in acquiescence. And when our confidence really gels In early convalescence… “We can’t be getting old!” we cry, “We’re still struggling with adolescence!”


irthing a poem is akin to birthing a baby. There’s a tendency to overprotect it and not let it go out into the world to live a life of its own. Maybe that’s what took so much time for me to decide to get my poems published and on the market. Over a few years I shared some of them in my annual Christmas letters, and the responses from friends and family convinced me to share them with the world The synchronistic way in which the first three books—Celebrations, Heartstrings, and Inspirations—came into being was nothing short of miraculous. Absolutely the right people, at exactly the right time, and in the proper order came into my life and helped make it happen! When I turned 75 in 2014, I published the first three books. And at 77, the next three: Awakenings, Sojourns and Sanctuary. In May 2019, I celebrated my 80th birthday, and during 2019 I published three more books: Milestones, Gratitude and Tapestry. In 2020, I will have an additional three books, for a total of 12, plus an accompanying journal, to present to the public. I am super excited about them, as they will feature some of my finest work to date. I started writing the poems in the 1970s. My first husband moved us to California with our two children (then aged 7 and 3)

Aging with Confidence

to seek his fortune, and after his several failed attempts, I took a job at a local weekly newspaper, The Tiburon Ark, to “tide us over” until he could bring an idea to fruition. Unfortunately for him, my disillusioned husband fell victim to a major midlife crisis. In his haste to reach what he considered Nirvana, he followed the teaching of Timothy Leary, and “turned on, tuned in, and dropped out.” Contrastingly, and fortunately for me, my work at the newspaper allowed me an opportunity to really grow into my own talents. With a limited staff, I became a “Jill of All Trades.” I managed the office, did the typesetting, helped design some of the advertising and also wrote a couple of weekly columns—a California history column, and a restaurant review column called “Shore Leave.” My marriage was on the ropes. We were growing in two different directions: he down the drugged path of least resistance and me into my talents. His verbal and physical violence and abuse When I turned 75 in forced me to end the marriage. 2014, I published the first I advanced rapidly into the role of single parenthood. To give three books. And at 77, my children something they the next three. could count on as tradition, I began the Advent Poems, the Lessons on Life and Love. I felt that after what our family had been through, the kids needed some input of good old-fashioned common sense. Each day of Christian season of Advent they would receive a poem (24 in all, each year). The messages were helpful for making some of life’s hard choices: perseverance, patience, helpfulness, kindness, forgiveness, and above all, being true to themselves. I hoped the poems would enable them to make good choices and have a healthy self-image. (I believe that messages in rhyme are easier to digest than a lecture from Mom.) My good choice was to move back to Washington State where I met my second husband with whom I shared a life for 25 years until he died of Alzheimer’s in 2008. So why start publishing poetry books in my 70s? Well, you can be old at 30 or young at 90, and I choose “young.” In seriously looking back at my life, I realized there was a very important part missing: making something special out of my life that was mine alone…that I could pass on—not only to my own adult children and stepchildren, and their children, but to people all over the country and the world. I finally found my purpose as a poet, and it is truly exhilarating to navigate the third act of my life.

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The good, the bad, the snuggly. One couple reflects on a hike at high altitude through the Swiss Alps. by Patti Shales Lefkos


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Tough First Day There is a time in each multi-day hike when enough is enough. But, it’s not usually on the first day. I gaze down at my feet. Blisters extend horizontally like pale yellow water balloons from the sides of my big toes. I step gingerly into the narrow shower. Hot water streams over my exhausted body, dribbles over the red indentations where my backpack belt rubbed my hips. I pull the curtain aside. A stranger with bruised collarbones and the grey eyes of a dehydrated long-distance runner, stares back at me from the steamy mirror. Dried and dressed in leggings and a T-shirt, I attempt a few basic stretches. My quadriceps scream in protest, rigid as uncooked spaghetti. I turn to my husband. “I’m not sure I can do this kind of hike anymore,” I say. By this kind of hike, I mean lugging a full backpack for six to eight hours a day for nine days over 105 miles. Considered one of the world’s classic hiking trails, the Tour du Mont


Blanc or TMB circles the Mont Blanc Massif through France, Switzerland, and Italy. “Let’s wait and see how we feel in the morning,” says my supportive, super fit husband who has wandered along all day, hands in his pockets, as if out for a Sunday stroll. But I’m rarely one to give up.

shuttled ahead each day, but needing to reduce the weight of our packs, we strip the items we will carry to the bare minimum, repurposing some for double duty: gray emergency merino

A Fresh Start Never underestimate the recuperative powers of an almost seventh-decade body. Dinner and wine at a local restaurant encourages an uninterrupted eight-hour snooze. I awake still stiff and sore, but the shouts of my offended body parts have softened to semi-urgent whispers. I’m ready to lace up my boots. My stubbornness yields countless rewards. Daily Routine The sights and trails of each day differ even though the routine becomes predictable. For me and my husband, morning starts with an early breakfast. Swiss muesli cereal and fruit chill my nervous stomach while we pour over the guidebook contemplating the number of ascending and descending feet of the day’s trails. The first and last hours of the day challenge me most. Settling the pack on the hips, forcing fresh steps through dewy morning chill, I ask myself again why I am doing this. Six or seven hours later the question repeats itself as we wander around a new village searching for our hotel or refugio, mumbling silent prayers for a room with a bathtub. But during the hours in between the majestic white dome of Mont Blanc and adjacent string of aiguilles, needle shaped spires, hover above my left shoulder, lifting my spirits. My boots brush the dirt of meadow trails as we pass flowerbox laden alpine chalets and climb dramatic mountain passes into the next valley. Four Days Later — Italy Our bags stuffed with clean clothes are waiting in the hotel storage room in Courmayeur, Italy. All other hikers we have met carry only a daypack, having arranged to have their bags transported to their next stop each day. Not wanting to pay the premium to have our gear

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Left: Day one on the TMB. Above: A beautiful panorama of the French Alps from the Tour Du Mont Blanc trail. Below: Stone cairn indicating Grand Col Ferret, the frontière between Italy and Switzerland.

wool long johns become evening leggings and my derriere covering turquoise T-shirt now doubles as a nightgown. Accommodation on the TMB varies from Champex-Lac Switzerland’s historically elegant Hotel Splendide to country chic homes like France’s The Guesthouse Vallorcine. Most evenings we bond with fellow hikers over shared experiences. Two days of restorative napping and carbo loading on wagon-wheel-sized pies at Pizzeria Le Tunnel restaurant restore us.

Back on the Trail The first day in Italy ends at Rifugio Alpino Walter Bonatti near Lac Malatra, Val Ferret, Italy. Named for legendary mountaineer, explorer and journalist Walter Bonatti, this impressive rock and timber mountain hut, opened in 1998, presides over an Italian panorama of the Mont Blanc massif. Historic photos of and by Bonatti line the walls giving

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In my imagination I hear a chorus of The Sound of Music. An hour’s walk ahead at La Peule, farm owners Sabine and Nicolas Coppey offer the delightfully gooey treat, called croute, oven baked white bread doused with white wine and layered with eggs, tomatoes and cheese. We indulge.

Mountain goats in the French Alps near the Lac Blanc massif. Mont Blanc is in the background.

the efficiently run and impeccably clean mountain inn a museum-like ambiance. Nepali chef Dorje routinely creates four-course gourmet dinners for 80 and magically produces a hearty buffet breakfast served from 6:30 a.m. to allow an early start for the arduous climb ahead.

Entering Switzerland Several uphill hours into the day we reach a weathered stone cairn indicating Grand Col Ferret, the frontiere between Italy and Switzerland. Beyond the rock pile the rugged Italian route gives way to verdant Swiss meadows.

Final Day — Back in France I feel fit and ready for anything. Hoping the skies will clear to allow a glimpse of the peaks, glaciers and aiguiette, we scan for the signpost showing the way to Lac Blanc via Col des Montets. Steep at the start, the trail flattens to follow the contours into the Chamonix Valley. The final climb to Lac Blanc is aided by vertical iron ladders bolted to the rock slabs, interspersed with log and iron steps. Back where we started, in Chamonix, the brutal first day is a distant memory. Toes healed, bruises faded, but memories of Mont Blanc’s unique mountain characteristics intact, I feel proud of my bull-headed perseverance. I got stronger every day. When not trekking or writing, Patti Shales Lefkos skis at her winter home base at Silver Star Mountain Resort, British Columbia. Her articles have appeared in Macleans, The San Francisco Chronicle, Travelife.ca, and Elevation Outdoors. Look for her adventure travel memoir Nepal One Day at Time coming in 2020.

Life to the Fullest.

Life is best lived in community. Come visit and see for yourself.

Call to schedule your visit today.


12215 N.E. 128th St., Kirkland, WA 98034


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


Ne T An ed O he dW u W e W r T orl d int ill N rav W o t eed el ill he to in Wo Re rld -em 202 ! 1. e

June 2021!

r ge

We’re taking reservations NOW for our 2021 3rd Act Trip!

Crossroads of the Adriatic Journey with us to the countries of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia—southeastern Europe’s multicultural lands of forgotten beauty.

Base Trip Cost: $3495 Airfare from Seattle: $1700 Once we get through this virus scare there will be a pent-up demand for travel. Email me at Victoria@3rdActMag.com to get on our waiting list for this trip. No deposit is required at this time!

We are bringing our 14-yearold grandson on this trip. If you have a teenage grandchild, bring them too! There are no single supplement fees. Our group size is 16 max. For questions or to request the itinerary, email Victoria@3rdActMag.com Aging with Confidence

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Roads Not Taken



was March 1, and I was riding high on a connecting flight from San Jose to Seattle. I had just spent five weeks in Guadalajara, Mexico, getting a certification to teach English as a foreign language, and I was proud of myself for mastering a new skill while navigating life in an intense, gritty city. Looking back, I was aware that the coronavirus had arrived on the West Coast, but I was only slightly alarmed by two people coughing nearby: one directly behind me, the other beside me. Mercifully, I didn’t catch a virus on that flight, and as I write this in late March, no one I know well has fallen ill—a fact I pray will remain true as


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

the tragic health tolls of this crisis are tallied. But for many of us who live to travel, being unable to do so has been a tiny death of its own. Just a few weeks into the pandemic, I had to choose whether or not to scrap plans I had made to visit Boise, where I would see my daughter and volunteer at the annual Treefort Music Festival in late March. The very day I decided to cancel my flight, festival organizers announced the event would be postponed until this fall, so I knew I’d made the right decision. Yet the festival was incidental, and the real question remains: When will I get to hug my daughter again?

Our travel plans are often tightly bound to life events, and many trips have been forsaken this year amid circumstances far more painful than mine. How many weddings, memorial services, graduations, and vacationsof-a-lifetime have been canceled


or delayed? How many people have been unable to physically gather with loved ones, both distant and close? It’s difficult to fathom what we have lost. I have passed time this spring reading books about distant places and taking solace in my travel memories. In a memory box, I find the list of more than a hundred train songs that Tom and I brainstormed while riding Amtrak’s California Zephyr. On my phone, I find a video clip of the Beatles cover band my daughter and I saw at the Cavern Club in Liverpool; a snapshot from a favorite coffeehouse in Guadalajara; and another from McClaren Park in San Francisco, clouds billowing above the bay. In my mind, I can retrace the steps of a labyrinth on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. And here by my bed is the last thing I see before I go to sleep and the first thing I see when I wake up, a photo of a sunset on Camano Island. If, by cruel fate, I never again take another trip, I have decades of memories to enjoy. But odds are I will live to take more trips, and you will, too. So let’s take this time to dream about and even

revisiting your fondest travel memories. Then study your maps, survey your favorite travel-planning websites, and bookmark the pages of your future adventures. If you could only take one more trip, where would you go? Whether it’s a getaway with grandchildren or a long-deferred dream vacation, how can you find a way to make it happen? Odds are good there will be bargains galore once travel resumes in earnest, and travel will be a sign of hope, a leading indicator that our world is on the mend.

plan for the day, hopefully not too distant, when we will again be “free to move about the cabin,” or to book that rental cabin. Some people will likely be reluctant to schedule a trip anytime soon, out of fear that their plans could be disrupted. But many of us will feel more keenly than ever that the time to travel is now—or soon, anyway, as soon as we are confident that the coronavirus threat has diminished. So go ahead. Spend some time

Some tips for armchair trips Your travel plans may be on the back burner for now, but here are a few ways you can stoke your dreams of future journeys. • Visit travel websites like AtlasObscura.com and RoadScholar.org. Start wish lists for destinations on Airbnb.com. • Go to Google Maps and find somewhere you’d love to visit. Click anywhere on its satellite image for a street or beach-level view of that spot. • Watch travelogues at RickSteves.com—his public TV shows are available online, too—or listen to Rick’s interviews with fellow travelers, also available via his website. • Take a two-hour vacation via a travel-themed film. Some good ones to watch (or see again) include Shirley Valentine, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Trip, Faces Places, The Straight Story, The Way, Thelma & Louise, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Last Cab to Darwin.

Aging with Confidence

I have a postcard on my refrigerator here in Seattle; it was on my fridge in Guadalajara, too, and on the mantel of the Airbnb I ran a few years back as well. The picture is of a 1970s-era Gremlin (which was also my first car), yellow with white racing stripes, in a seaside parking lot. “Travel is never a matter of money but of courage,” the caption reads, quoting the Brazilian author Paulo Coehlo. Now more than ever, that seems true. May we all be brave. Julie Fanselow is a writer in Seattle. Read more from her at surelyjoy.blogspot.com.

spring 2020

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The Lighter Shade


Spring and summer always mean lightening up my diet. Gone are the comfort foods of winter that rely on too many animal-based proteins and carb-rich sides. Instead, spring green beckons! I’m on the lookout for bright, flavorful, healthy, and easily prepared vegetables. Two favorite pale green offerings to explore this season are fennel and avocado.


Fennel is one of the most versatile vegetables around. Used fresh, is has a mild licorice flavor that adds crunch and contrast to salads or a crudité platter. Roasted, it accompanies meats or adds a lighter note to a pan of roasted vegetables. Use it instead of celery as a base for a vegetable soup or as part of a mirepoix mix.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020

When picking fennel, look for pale green, tight bulbs. If the bulbs have frilly tops, they can add flavor to salads or other dishes. I usually just cut them off and add them to my frozen bag of vegetable scraps and chicken carcasses, to make base for fresh chicken soup.


It’s time to explore things to do with avocado that isn’t guacamole! The fruit that Brits call alligator pears is super healthy. They contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and even protein. The mild flavor partners well with stronger herbs and spices. By now you know that avocados are the new darling for healthy eating. Avocado toast with its many variations can be found on breakfast menus and is among the simplest way to get a tasty dose of this healthy food. To make sure your avocados ripen evenly, buy them hard and let them ripen until just barely tender, and then refrigerate them. For an easy and elegant lunch, halve them and fill them with a something flavorful, like a scoop of curried chicken salad, spicy shrimp salad, or a dill-flavored tuna salad. A big spoonful of a good mango chutney is another winning and unexpected flavor combination.


Selection of peeled and sliced citrus: mandarin, cara cara orange, satsuma, grapefruit, blood orange—for total of 2 pounds. Layer in a salad bowl with the fennel first, the citrus next, and the avocado slices on top. Dress with a vinaigrette that includes a teaspoon each of mustard and honey, and blended with lemon juice to taste. Serves 4.

Roasted Fennel Slice the bottom and top off each bulb and cut vertically into ¼-inch slices. Spread on a flat sheet pan and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turn over, brush with more oil and salt and continue roasting until they are brown, and a fork can pierce them easily. They go well with pork or chicken, and make a good light side to fish dishes.

Fresh Fennel in Salads

Quarter fennel bulbs and remove the core. Slice finely in a processor or by hand and toss the fennel with a light lemon vinaigrette. Add some tamed red onions (see note) or sliced green onions, and other vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, or shaved carrots. Dress with your favorite vinaigrette and consider swapping vinegar for a mix of lemon or other citrus juice. Fennel pairs well with citrus and avocado. Try the recipe on the next page and appreciate the great mix of citrus, crunch and smoothness. Note: Tamed red onions. An easy way to take bitterness out Aging with Confidence

of onions is to slice them, put in a microwavable bowl, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Heat for 3 minutes. The vinegar can be part of the dressing, and the onions are mild and sweet.

Fennel Roasted with Herbs

Avocado with Warm Sweet-andSour Sauce

I often start meals with a halved avocado filled with a recipe I’ve had since college! It is easy to make, with ingredients that most people have in their pantries.

Fennel combines well with quartered red onions and quartered waxy potatoes. Toss them all with oil, salt and other spices of choice such as sumac, herbes de Provence, or oregano. Roast at 400 degrees, checking every 15 minutes and stirring to get all surfaces evenly browned. When all the vegetables are tender, sprinkle them with a splash of balsamic vinegar to give them a nice hit of acid. They can be served hot or at room temperature.

This sauce is also excellent as a dressing for a wilted Spinach salad or can be used as an easy barbecue sauce for grilled meats.

Avocado, Fennel, and Citrus Salad

Serves 4.

Start with 2 tablespoons of each of these 5 ingredients for 2 avocados: butter, sugar, cider vinegar (or other vinegar), Worcestershire sauce, ketchup. Combine them in a small pan or microwavable bowl. Heat until the butter melts. Stir and spoon over halved or sliced avocados

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced—keep a few fronds aside for sprinkling on top

spring 2020

| 3rd Act magazine 65











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3rd Act magazine | spring 2020




ere’s a little secret that many of you may already know. the northwest corner of the sprawling UW campus. Children love learning about dinosaurs. But so do older The Burke houses Pacific Northwest Coastal tribal art and adults. artifacts including totem poles and button blankets. Visitors Therefore, it’s not just kids clamoring for a look at the life- enjoy panoramic views of the Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history, sized dinosaur skeletons in the paleontology and fossil wing of and learn the interconnections between land, water, air, plant the splendid new Burke Museum at the University of and bird life. The imprint of generations of human BY MISHA Washington. You’ll find multiple generations of museum- BERSON beings on local culture and geography are explored in goers there, fascinated by the towering creatures that eye-catching ways throughout the inviting and spacious roamed the earth millions of years ago. They’re finding out much facility. more about them thanks to the Burke’s ingenious, state-of-theThis treasure trove of materials has a hands-on, interactive art new exhibits and onsite scientific experts. design that makes it an especially captivating way to spend And it’s not only the dinosaur features and the giant, awe- time with friends and relations, or simply on your own. The inspiring whale skeleton in one of the side entrances of the 113,000 square-foot museum (66% larger than the previous museum that grab your attention as you wander through this Burke building) invites even the youngest visitors to participate handsome, multiple-story, wood-and-glass faced structure in in learning. They can step into a carved canoe, climb on an orca Aging with Confidence

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| 3rd Act magazine 67

Clockwise from the top left: Culture is Living Gallery (photo by Andrew Waits); Suspended skeleton of a rare Baird's beaked Whale (photo by Mark Stone); “Syndecdoche,” a three-story mural by RYAN! Feddersen (photo courtesy of the Burke Museum)

IF YOU GO… The Burke Museum is located at 4300 15th Ave. NE in Seattle. It is open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month. Admission prices range from $20 (62 and over), to $22 (non-senior adult), $14 (youth and non-UW students); and admission is free for UW students, faculty and staff, and children 3 and under. Admission is free for all on the first Thursday of each month.

whale statue, examine a tide pool, and more in the “please touch” areas of the museum. Though this is clearly an all-ages resource, it was initially due to the efforts of young people that the Burke was born. A high school group called the Young Naturalists Society founded the museum in 1885, in a much smaller building on campus. Their mission was to collect and house specimens and objects documenting the natural history of the state. Designated the official Washington State Museum in 1899, the institution has greatly expanded its holdings and popularity since then. Many years and several moves later, by the 1990s it was known as the Burke Museum—after Thomas Burke who, with his wife Caroline McGilvra Burke, donated their enormous collection of scientific and Pacific Northwest native cultural


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


materials to the institution. But after moving several times, by the 21st century it was bursting at the seams of its cramped facility. There was considerable government and private support for building the new Burke, which officially opened last October, at a construction cost of $99 million. In addition to expanding its exhibit areas, and adding classroom and activity spaces, the museum created a new feature that allows visitors to watch scientists and others prepare specimens and artifacts. There are a dozen visible laboratories and workrooms with large windows, so you can peer in and observe someone repairing a piece of decorative clothing from a Northwest Native American tribe, or painstakingly cleaning and arranging an animal skeleton or plant specimen for display. (The Burke now has an amazing 16 million objects in its collection.) There is no wasted space here. As you walk down a brightly lit hallway, you can scan “Syndecdoche,” a threestory mural by RYAN! Feddersen, an award-winning artist who is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. For this mural she has created dozens of black vinyl cut-outs and 3-D fluorescent acrylic shapes from the natural and human-made world (from insects and fir trees to gas

pumps and airplanes) that represent motifs in the Burke collection. Every aspect of the open, airy building, designed by lead architect Tom Kundig of the local firm Olson Kondig, is thoughtful and educational. (One of the most arresting is a display of layers of human and animal landfill from different periods over the centuries.) But gardeners and plant lovers should not overlook the building’s landscaping and multipurpose courtyard created by Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. In a pleasant outdoor area of tiered steps and open spaces designed for outdoor events more than 80,000 native Pacific Northwest plants are arrayed. The facility also includes a sizable gift shop and a bustling café, where you should expect to wait a while in line to put in your order. And at the main, on-campus entrance there is the spacious Cascade Room, a quiet place to gather with others, relax, and gaze at the 16-foot tall, recently restored grand Louis Comfort Tiffany window, a landscape with peacock that has long been a favorite in the Burke’s historical collection.

All A’s 1. Aloha 2. Acrophobia 3. Aroma 4. Alaska


(Puzzles on page 72)

Aging with Confidence


Misha Berson writes about the arts for The Seattle Times and many other publications, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).

Change A Letter 1. C—Cell, Cable, Camper 2. J—Jail, Jingle, Jacket 3. R—Rookie, Reach, Rhyme 4. G—Gnarled, Glue, Germs 5. S—Slight Sense Soot


Issaquah + Everett

5. Anemia 6. Aurora 7. Austria 8. Amiga

6. Q—Quest, Quite, Quilt 7. T—Timed, Touch, Twine 8. G—Grate, Golf, Goal 9. D—Deaf, Drain, Drafty 10. W—Wasp, Wraps, Whopper

9. Ammonia 10. Amnesia 11. Abracadabra 12. Alpaca

Anagrams 1. Sepal, Pleas, Lapse, Peals, Leaps, Pales 2. Teals, Slate, Tales, Stale, Least, Steal 3. Warder, Redraw, Drawer, Warred, Reward 4. Tinsel, Inlets, Enlist, Listen, Silent 5. Padres, Spared, Rasped, Drapes, Spread, Parsed 6. Lusters, Results, Rustles 7. Rattles, Startle, Starlet 8. Pertains, Painters, Repaints, Pantries


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| 3rd Act magazine 69


EightySomethings A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness



ome years ago, I was following the creative promptings of the book The Artist’s Way and one of the exercises was to write a letter to me from my future 80-something self. What insights would my future, olderself share with me? I found the process to be cathartic: My 80-year-old self told me that she was just fine. That all the stuff I was fretting about was going to work out OK. I remember feeling physical relief as I read my own words. I felt much the same way reading EightySomethings. Writer Katharine Esty, in her 80s herself, explores what she refers to as this “last life stage” by interviewing 128 80-something adults and 26 of their adult children; sharing some of their stories. Organized by chapter on the challenges, opportunities, transitions, and pleasant surprises this life stage holds for us and our loved ones, Esty lets her interviewees’ experiences shine through. She ends each chapter with questions 80-somethings should ponder for themselves, and tips for adult children to help them better understand and relate to their older parents. If you are currently in your 80s, this book will validate some of your feelings and experiences and give you perspectives from other members of your cohort.

It’s optimistic and encouraging; offering a celebration of your long life and ideas for living the rest of your life fully. As someone with parents in their 80s, EightySomethings helped me to better understand my parents’ life stage and journey, and the reasons behind some of their behavior and choices. I also have a better understanding of what they may need from me, and what they won’t. As for gaining insight on my future 80-something life, this book is pretty specific to the generation that is in their 80s, now. While many of the challenges and opportunities that arise will be the same, Boomers will likely rewrite the book starting in 2026, when the leading edge of this large cohort starts turning 80 themselves.

Free Audio Books from the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library Do you struggle with reading the newspaper because the print is too small? Are you missing your favorite books or authors because you can’t focus for long periods of time? Is it hard to hold a book or turn pages because of hand tremors or arthritis? The Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) can keep you reading with free audio books. WTBBL is a statewide library service for anyone unable to read standard print, offering free audio books by mail, download, or mobile app. Their collection includes more than 90,000 titles, and readers’ advisors are available by phone weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To take advantage of this resource or learn more, please visit wtbbl.org or call 800-542-0866.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020


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

Change a Letter (easy)

Change the first letter of the three words in each list to create three new words that all start with the same letter. For example, given the words whine, plant, and reason, what one letter can replace the first letter of each word to make three new words? The answer is S—shine, slant, and season. 1. Bell, Fable, Pamper ________________________________

6. Guest, Suite, Built_________________________________

2. Mail, Mingle, Racket________________________________

7. Aimed, Pouch, Swine_______________________________

3. Cookie, Peach, Thyme_____________________________

8. Irate, Wolf, Coal___________________________________

4. Snarled, Blue, Terms_______________________________

9. Leaf, Brain, Crafty_________________________________

5. Flight, Dense, Boot________________________________

10. Gasp, Traps, Shoppe_______________________________

All A’s (harder)

All the answers in this word definition game begin and end with the letter A. 1. Hello, in Honolulu._______________________________ 2. Fear of heights.__________________________________ 3. Fragrant odor.___________________________________ 4. Where you would find Wasilla and Denali. __________________________________________ 5. Condition caused by a red blood cell or hemoglobin deficiency. ______________________________________ 6. Celestial light show that is fairly common at high latitudes.________________________________________

7. Home country of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adolf Hitler, and Mozart._____________________________________ 8. A female friend, in Spanish.________________________ 9. The key ingredient in smelling salts.________________ 10. A type of memory loss often used as a plot line in soap operas.____________________________________. 11. This “magical” word has a total of five A’s. _______________________________________________ 12. Related to a camel and smaller than a llama, this Peruvian animal’s hair is made into a very soft, luxurious wool fiber.______________________________________.

Anagrams (hardest)

The letters of each word in this list can be arranged in multiple ways to form other words. We provide the word and the number of anagrams that are possible to make.

1. Sepal (5)_____________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Teals (5)_____________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. Warder (4)___________________________________________________________________________________________ 4. Tinsel (4)____________________________________________________________________________________________ 5. Padres (5)____________________________________________________________________________________________ 6. Lusters (2)___________________________________________________________________________________________ 7. Rattles (2)___________________________________________________________________________________________ 8. Pertains (3)__________________________________________________________________________________________ Reprinted with permission from Nancy Linde, author of the best-selling book 399 Puzzles, Games, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young and her newest book, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young. She is also the creator of the website Never2Old4Games.com, which is used by many senior-serving organizations in the U.S. and Canada.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2020



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