3rd Act Magazine - Spring 2018

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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

MEDICINAL MUSICALS Your Brain on Show Tunes

GET HEALTHIER By Digging in the Dirt

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MESSAGE from the publisher

Coming Home We recent ly returned f rom a n extraordinary trip to Africa. Our journey was completely planned and led by a remarkable man, Charles Sleicher, who is 93 years old. It was a privilege and honor to travel with him. More than 30 years my senior, Charles outlasted me. He was the first into the Land Cruiser each day and the last out. Asked about his recipe for longev it y and vitality, he smiled, shrugged, and said that he tries to restrict his calories a bit during the week. Other than that, he had no idea. I suspect his vibrancy has something to do with his passion for photography and for adventure. I want to be like Charles. (Read more about him on page 46.) One of the greatest joys of travel is coming home. As thrilling and enlivening as it is to explore new places and cultures, the relief of sliding into your own bed at the end of a journey is a universal one, I think.

Home—it’s a place we are encouraged to reimagine as we grow older. The kids are grown and gone; we don’t really need that big house. And do we still want the yard to take care of? Many of us don’t need to be a commutable distance from work anymore. Then there are all kinds of financial, safety, and lifestyle considerations. The loss of a spouse can leave us lonely and isolated, and if we develop mobility challenges, home could become our prison instead of our safe haven. In this issue we dive deeply into exploring the different ways we can create and experience home. Most of us say we want to stay in our existing homes as we age, yet the housing alternatives for older adults are exploding! From resort-like “adult hoods” like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavilles, to cohousing, to every level of service-and-amenity-integrated condo and apartment communities (often referred to as independent or assisted living), there are options for every need, budget, and lifestyle preference. We take a look at—and compare—some of the current living options for our third act, including sensible changes to make in your current home so you can stay right there. Options abound. Discover what’s right for you, then come home again. It’s a great feeling.

“One of the greatest joys of travel is coming home.”

On safari with Charles Sleicher at Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

OU R VI SI ON 3rd Act Magazine endeavors to inform, inspire, and entertain older adults. Our stories and articles challenge worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Aging is good, let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and let’s age together with confidence. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Julie Fanselow ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna, Gayle Fox SOCIAL MEDIA Kellie Moeller ADVERTISING Victoria Starr Marshall, Carolyn Hultz DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall COVE R PH OTOG R APHY Dwight Reed WRITE TO US 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320 3rd Act Magazine is published quarterly by Oshi Publishing, LLC. The opinions, advice or statements expressed by contributing writers do not reflect those of the editors, the publishers, or of 3rd Act Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice, or other content contained herein. Oshi Publishing, LLC makes no representation and, to the fullest extent allowed by law, disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied. The content published herein may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. Copyright 2018 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.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018


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Exciting options for the way we want to live now. PRISCILLA CHARLIE HINCKLEY


Small upgrades for big gains in safety, comfort, and resale value. DORI GILLAM



NIRVANA Stylish décor for comfy,

compact rooms. KAREN PFEIFFER BUSH


Considering moving abroad? Here are some tips. ANN RANDALL


32 52

46 A LIFE OF ART & ADVENTURE A retired professor captures light and life in photography. ANN HEDREEN



Practice respectful language at every age, to every age. LINDA HENRY


Find someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. JENNIFER JAMES


Getting (legal) hugs at the office. ANNIE CULVER



My village is not a place, it’s people. DENISE KLEIN


RESILIENCE Death is always

a wrench in somebody’s works. You can help. ASHLEY T. BENEM


What are you willing to live for? DOUWE RIENSTRA, MD

Aging with Confidence

spring 2018

| 3rd Act magazine



18 LIFESTYLE 14 MONEY Should you pay off your mortgage before retiring? DON McDONALD


Manufactured homes can be a good option. KELLIE MOELLER

45 TRAVEL SOLO? WHY NOT Seeing America on my own. MYRNA LOVELAND



AT HOME How we live affects

our mental well-being. MICHAEL PATTERSON


7 good reasons to dig in the dirt. SHELLEY LAUREL


A new galaxy is my home

for now. SUSAN RAVA


A lifelong New Yorker reinvents herself. EMILY HERRICK

58 FEELS LIKE HOME TO ME Home is more than a place, it’s a place within. SALLY FOX


AGING? Older adults tell us what

it means to them. ERIC LARSON, MD

24 SEEKING THE CENTER Unplug on a labyrinth walk. CONNIE MCDOUGALL


Resources to help you stay in your home. JULIE FANSELOW

IN EVERY ISSUE 60 O N THE TOWN Show your brain a good time with Broadway tunes. MISHA BERSON


Enlightened Aging and Retirement Reinvention Reviewed by Julie Fanselow

Art and Adventure A Recipe for Long Life


Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.

Reimagining Home Vibrant Living Choices Abound

That Will Make Your Heart Sing


You Can Make a Difference (It’s) so wonderful for those of us who can make choices in retirement (“No Magic Potion,” 3rd Act, Winter 2018). Reaching a point beyond basic survival gives us a chance to think about our calling and then take action. I chose social justice activism, even before I retired, and I really see change happening. We are the first generation to have the chance to change the world in this way. So make a difference in whatever you choose. —Willie Dickerson, Snohomish

In the Care Circle “Build Breaks from Caregiving” (3rd Act, Winter 2018) spoke directly to me. My caregiving crept up slowly from regular wifely chores to assisting my partner now and then, and finally to very frequent duties. I was feeling overwhelmed about getting everything done and having time for myself. It’s not unlike having several toddlers under your care. The article gave me strength and wisdom to put myself in the “care circle.” Thanks, Denise Klein. —Name withheld by request, Bothell

A New Use for Vinegar Kudos to Teri Thomson Randall for her forthright and personal article (“Love Safely,” 3rd Act, Winter 2018). Look up Vinegar test/Mayo Clinic online and plan to utilize this very simple test (which will reveal HPV lesions) before your next sexual experience. It might give you cause to pause. —Merrily M. Mount MSN, ARNP Family Nurse Practitioner, Quilcene

talk to us!

Small-Space Decorating

MEDICINAL MUSICALS Your Brain on Show Tunes


GET HEALTHIER By Digging in the Dirt

PEOPLE-FRIENDLY HOMES For Every Age and Ability

3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

Cover: Professional photographer and retired University of Washington professor Charles Sleicher on the 2018 photo safari he led in Tanzania at age 93. His winter 2019 safari is already full. Photo by Dwight Reed

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


Oh, The Places We Will Go!

Travel with the publishers of 3rd Act Magazine as we head to some of the world’s most fascinating places. Announcing 3rd Act Adventures We’ve partnered with Overseas Adventure Travel, a leader in travel for older adults. Join us as we explore the world and write about our experiences in the magazine, sharing how Aging with Confidence and lifelong learning enhances our lives.

Do n are ’t m st i Ca ill a f ss o ll t ew u od ay! spot t! s



Our first trip is September 2018 to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos! This 16 Day Trip is $6795* and includes: • Roundtrip International airfare from Seattle, all land transportation and 4 internal flights • Accommodations for 15 nights, including aboard a privately chartered small ship in the Galápagos • 36 meals—daily breakfast, 11 lunches, and 10 dinners • 20 small group activities, Galápagos shore excursions, all park fees • Local trip leader (1 in Peru, 1 in Ecuador) • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, ship-crew, and luggage porters Only 14 spaces available! Reservations will be taken on a first come basis. Reservations & information: 800-353-6262 (press 2) Mention Booking Code G8-27967. Full Brochure Available at 3rdActMagazine.com or email Adventures@3rdActMagazine.com *Limited single traveler spaces at no additional charge. Trip is $5695 without airfare from Seattle.




Own Your Words

Respectful Language at Every Age BY LINDA HENRY

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.


A FRIEND RECENTLY SAID TO ME, “I just hate it when someone I don’t know calls me ‘dear’! It feels so demeaning.” A salesperson had addressed her with a sweet term that is so often reserved for those of a certain age. At a time when we are more acutely aware of the importance of showing respect for others regardless of gender or race, it seems only appropriate to have a conversation about the role of language and aging, too. Why does it matter? It matters because the words we use convey who we are and how we see others. And like it or not, we are all guilty of looking at others through a lens of “otherness,” whether defined by age, occupation, or belief system. Respectful language implies that we all are worthy of the same consideration. So, what words push your hot button? Is it sexist or ageist (or both) to address anyone— no matter what age—as “honey,” “sweetie,” or “dear”? When asked what bugs them about getting older, some of my workshop participants inevitably report experiencing ageist language. Writer Sally Abrahms suggests that “elderspeak,”

3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

the use of intimate endearments by strangers or otherwise addressing older people in a patronizing way, is one form of negative age stereotyping. In an era when we are beginning to be more comfortable about our own aging journey— taking charge of whether to retire or not and making transitional life choices—it can be disheartening to find that others continue defining us in a way we consider disrespectful. On the flip side, we define others by our own choice of words and attitudes. If it bothers me to be called “dear” because I somehow feel that means being more vulnerable or frail, I wonder how a 30-year-old feels about being addressed as “honey”? Does it suggest a lack of ability? Of course, it’s not only the use of specific words that bug us, but the attitude they convey. Many of us cringe if asked, “Do you still…?” Implicit in such a question is the assumption that if one is not still working, living in the same house, or driving, we are “less than” our younger counterparts. Perhaps it is equally troubling to ask a younger person whether they are “still” single or living with their parents. A better question for people of all ages is, “What interests you these days?” We own the words we use. Let’s have a dialogue about respectful language and commit to taking action. Refrain from using demeaning or patronizing language. Help others understand our sensitivity to certain language. Think about how our own words affect others. And finally, be willing to provide feedback, even to our friends, when there is a lack of respect.

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2018

| 3rd Act magazine




Someone to Love, Something to Do, Something to Look Forward To BY JENNIFER JAMES

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.


WE SENIORS REPRESENT THE FIRST GENERATION in America to have significantly longer lives. In 1900, the average American lifespan for women was 48; for men, it was 46. Now our average lifespan is 81 for women and 76 for men. Yet for some, living longer doesn’t automatically mean being happier— and discontent spikes when we encounter what gerontologists call the four plagues: loneliness, boredom, helplessness, and meaninglessness. We know that the antidote to these plagues is threefold: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Given our position as lifespan pioneers, we may need to hone new survival skills. If basic survival is under control, what is next? Historically, people have lived past 90 but we know little of their lives unless they made the news or live in one of the so-called “blue zones” (places in the world where many people live unusually long, healthy lives). Celebrities teach us a bit George Burns told jokes until he died at 100. Tony Bennett is 91 and still singing. Betty White is working at 96, as is Sidney Poitier at 91. Staying with a known career solves the “something to do.” Elaine LaLanne continues to promote fitness at age 92, and Jack LaLanne did so until his death at 96. Scientists, writers, and artists may find their passions remain. Oliver Sacks worked until his death at 82. People continue to create by modifying methods and tools. When he was diagnosed with disabling abdominal cancer, Henri Matisse moved from painting to paper collage until his death at 84. Georgia O’Keeffe

3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

stopped painting with oils as she lost her peripheral vision, but she found other mediums to explore. But what if our life has not revolved around such notable passions? We can find something— or someone. Years ago, an older man came to my door and offered to fix anything in exchange for homemade cookies. Something made me accept the deal. He was lonely, fixing things was his passion, and I needed help. Bob was a roller dancer and his first love and early skate partner had been married for 50 years to someone else. He still skated every Sunday and one day he saw her at the rink. She was a widow and had decided to try to skate again. He never came back to my house; he sent a note saying he had found someone to love. What if the intensity that motivated you for most of your adult life cannot be continued? If you are content, enjoy. If not, keep searching, keep learning new things, and make an effort to know those who you see around you. (My mail person and I both raise canaries.) Give to others, help your community, get out of the house (even in the rain), fight isolation. It turns out that planning


your week—whether regular meetings with friends, daily walks, reading, errands, meals, and other things— is reassuring. Something to look forward to, beyond celebrations with family and friends, may be hard to find unless you travel, collect something, or are mentoring young people who you see need a boost. I correspond with a talented university student who worked for me one summer. Through email, I counsel a few people I have never met who reached out to me. I look forward to their happiness. There are many ways to quietly love, and we can look forward to being with loved ones and enjoying their lives— a partner, friends, grandchildren, other family members. Grandchildren are the true miracles of my 60s and early 70s. They provide all three facets of the “plagues” antidote. I was able to witness the births of my two youngest because of my lovely daughter-in-law. When I saw their little faces emerge, it was the supreme moment of my life. I’ve made the time to watch, to listen, to play, and be a child again myself. We sing songs, create rituals, exchange jokes, and do

experiments found on YouTube. When they moved to Hawaii, I followed them. Don’t worry; I got my own place and I relieve their hardworking parents every weekend during the months when it’s cold back in Seattle. (What would I have done if they had moved to North Dakota?) They are now 7 and 9, so in a few years, they will have other plans—and I will need other plans, too. It is never too late to make a new friend or revive an old friendship, but you have to make the effort and keep it up until it becomes effortless. When you feel lonely, don’t settle; join a club or go to a social event, even if it turns out to be boring. You can “choose your plague.” I wrote this column to remind myself of the remedies to those four plagues because I have been in pain from arthritis and that distorts my perspective. Despite having someone to love and many options for doing, I had lost the feeling of something to look forward to. I was suffering the plague of meaninglessness. Writing this, reaching out to you, has restored my perspective. Life is good.


Brilliantly You’ll feel it as soon as you walk in, an energy that will make you want to call Quail Park of Lynnwood home. But don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself.

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2018

| 3rd Act magazine 11



Vitamin H

Why I Embrace A New Role When Visiting My Old OfFIce


Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early 1990s, she went to work for websites where she wrote sassy essays aimed at women. In recent years, she morphed into a writer for several universities in the Northwest. She retired in 2016, yet still enjoys freelancing.


I recall the sleazy photo editor who yanked me onto his lap more than once to discuss details of photo assignments I’d submitted. Or the other newspaper colleague—a religion editor, no less— who out of the blue one day asked if I was wearing a bra. Numerous forms of sexual harassment come to mind as I ponder a career that spanned more than 50 years. Yet, at this watershed moment in history—when inappropriate workplace behavior has finally reached its comeuppance—I’m baffled by something I hadn’t anticipated before I became a retiree. I’m not sure everyone who retires gets to experience this. The curmudgeons, nitpickers, killjoys, whiners, and grumps? Probably not. Here’s the thing, though. Once you truly retire, you’re out of the loop when it comes to troublesome power plays. The dynamics change and you become an old friend to many of your former co-workers. Still, I was more than a little surprised when I walked into my old office a month or two after retirement and a young fellow I had worked with reached out

3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

and gave me a bear hug. I was pleased, although caught off guard. As we chatted, a female coworker who heard my voice came over and gave me a second hug. I went to catch up with another man in the office and he jumped up from behind his desk to, yep, share yet another hug. Conversation was suddenly harder to follow because I was thrown off by all the happy hugs. I certainly didn’t expect handshakes or those absurd “virtual hugs” where we’d hug only the air between us at considerable distance so nothing could be interpreted as a form of misconduct. These were my lunch pals and cronies who had been part of the rich workplace community I had. The next time I visited, I figured I was better prepared. Then along came the vice


president with a big smile, his arms outstretched. We shared a full happy hug. That one, although welcome, bowled me over. I’d not fathomed hugging the top gun. Hugs do have their own etiquette. (Check out wikihow.com/hug if you don’t believe me.) The ones I experienced were all genuine, great-to-see-you happy hugs, much like those you’d exchange with an old friend. No awkward backstories or frontal delusions. As the hugs continued each time I dropped by (except for the time I warned people off when I had a nasty cold), I asked myself why. Duh! I don’t work there anymore. Our connections were authentic, warm, and welcome. When you’re still working together, it’s tough to express that without being unprofessional. I was struck by another aspect, though. By necessity, workplaces today are guarded, bordering on sterile sometimes. Empathy and heart can be tougher to express among untouchables. Employees justifiably fear somebody might get the wrong impression. So here’s what I propose to modernday retirees. Throw on some soft and cuddly duds, head over to your old office, and share some happy hugs with folks. Chat ’em up and show genuine support for what they do. Sure, some people retire and never look back. You might be among them. For me, those first few hugs I experienced signaled a new role I could play among those I grew to respect. I return to that office community maybe once a month now. By the time I leave, I’m grinning like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, glad to have retired when I did, yet pleased to share happy hugs and laughs with old friends.

Aging with Confidence

spring 2018

| 3rd Act magazine 13



To Be or Not to Be Mortgage Free BY DON MCDONALD

The host of the nationally syndicated Don McDonald Show for over 20 years, Don now co-hosts Talking Real Money with Tom Cock on Seattle’s KOMO radio Saturdays at noon (talkingrealmoney.com). Don also publishes the investing magazine, real investing journal (realinvestingjournal. com).


THEY CALL IT “THE AMERICAN DREAM”— and the idea of owning a home is so ingrained in our collective psyches that we often act against our own best interests in pursuit of that “dream.” For example, we often buy a home when renting is far less expensive. Most of us who “own” houses don’t have full ownership of them. Those who lent us the money through a mortgage have a claim on our homes. For many, the ultimate “American Dream” won’t be realized until the day when their mortgage is finally paid off. You’ve scrimped, saved, and invested for much of your life and are sitting on a decent retirement nest egg. Should you use some of that to pay off your mortgage? Maybe. Maybe not. Paying off your mortgage reduces your need for income from your investments. Do the payments saved exceed the income potential for those same dollars invested? That depends on how you invest. Let’s assume you bought a house 15 years ago for $200,000 on a 30-year mortgage with an

3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

interest rate of 5 percent, or lower. (If it’s higher, why haven’t you refinanced?) You still owe $136,000 on your mortgage for 15 more years, and you are considering paying it off. If you leave the mortgage in place, your cost for the principle and interest payments will be about $193,000 over the next 15 years. Your mortgage interest tax deduction (assuming a 25 percent tax bracket) would save a portion of that for a total net cost of about $180,000. The $136,000 you would use to pay off your home is in a tax-deferred portfolio with 50 percent in stocks and 50 percent in high-quality bonds. You conservatively expect—based merely on past performance—an average annual return over the next 15 years of 5 percent. If you left the $136,000 in your tax-deferred investment account that earned an average of 5 percent per year, you should end up with more than $280,000. Based on these assumptions, leaving the money invested in a moderate risk portfolio would mean about $100,000 more in your pocket by the end of the 15-year mortgage term. Of course, if the $136,000 is in 100 percent safe assets—making no more than 2 or 3 percent—paying off the mortgage makes better financial sense, but there is something else to consider: liquidity. What if one day you needed $100,000 or so to pay for healthcare or some other crisis? While the investment markets rise and fall, you know that if you need any part of the money in your no-load fund portfolio you can liquidate your securities on any business day and have the cash in hand a couple of days later. Plus, the transaction will cost you nothing. Home values also fluctuate (remember 2008), but a home locks up your capital far more tightly than stocks and bonds. To get $100,000, you can either borrow against the house—at (likely) higher interest rates than your current mortgage—or sell it. Selling a home takes time and has high transaction costs. And you’ll still need a place to live. From a purely financial perspective, it’s hard to justify paying off a mortgage early, but it’s hard to put a price on emotions. If you plan to remain in your current home for the rest of your life and place a high value on perceived stability and security, the relatively modest profit prospects pale in comparison. www.3rdActMag.com

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ENGAGE AT ANY AGE Saturday, May 5 • 8am–4pm Pierce College Campus Center Building Puyallup, WA 98374

Register at AginginPuyallup.org @aginginpuyallup

60 is the new 40, and yet… being informed is timeless. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn about the new realities of aging and to make the most of the gift of longevity. Aging EXPO 2018 celebrates May as Older American’s Month by honoring the many ways older adults make a difference in our community. The 2018 theme, Engage at Any Age, emphasizes that we are never too old (or too young) to take part in activities that will enrich our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Wendy Lustbader

Rajiv Nagaich

The day’s highlights include speakers Wendy Lustbader, well-known author, popular speaker and UW professor, and elder law attorney and Aging Options radio host Rajiv Nagaich. Aging with Confidence

spring 2018

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Our Village – A Feast of People! BY DENISE KLEIN

Denise Klein led the King County Area A gency on Aging for 12 years, was Senior Services’ CEO for 10 years, and spent 13 years as a national consultant on aging. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, received two national leadership awards, and is currently the executive director for Wider Horizons, a Village Network community in Seattle. (widerhorizonsvillage. org)


THE VILLAGE MOVEMENT STARTED IN BOSTON 15 years ago. A group of neighbors got together and invented a way of helping themselves and each other stay in their homes comfortably as long as they could, rather than just hanging on by the skin of their teeth. “Village” in this context refers not to a place, but to an approach to building a supportive community by people who live near each other. Boston’s Beacon Hill Village became a model; today there are 200 open villages in the U.S., with 150 more in development. In the Pacific Northwest, we have about half a dozen operating villages with more opening soon. There are many variations on the basic village theme: some villages emphasize services; some limit services; some are staffed; some are all-volunteer. Whether a village is urban or rural affects its approach. Many rural villages are one of the few sources of transportation for their members. Whatever the model, being a member of a village can be very helpful to people who are new in town, without close-by family, single, or just seeking more community engagement. My village, Wider Horizons, connects and engages people living in all the neighborhoods in the eastern part of Central Seattle, down to the Mt. Baker neighborhood. We’ve been open since June 2015 and now have 77 members: Their average age is 74 and ages range from the late 40s to the mid-90s. As a group, they are fascinating, independent people who want to age in community. Many joined as an extension of a lifetime of citizen activism.

3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

Membership fees vary from village to village depending on size and level of services. Our dues are typical of villages that have staff: an annual fee of $600 for one person or $900 for a household of any size, with reduced fees for people with lower incomes. The revenue from fees is not enough to make us sustainable, so like all villages—which are generally non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations— we raise funds from other sources. In my village, we do the things many closeknit families and friends do together—dinners, social events, rides to the doctor or the airport when needed, light home repairs, help with gardening and computer issues, and the like. We have fun together; we take care of each other;

we learn new things; we have adventures; we feel engaged and worthy. We are especially grateful for our non-member volunteers, most of whom provide technology support. Village members value the connections with each other more than anything else. As one tells me, “I joined my village to remain independent. As we age, things change—professional ties may weaken; friends retire, move, and travel. Some close friends die. While I still have my circle of friends and activities, my village offers a new community of interesting people who share my goals of remaining engaged and independent. It takes a village for us to thrive as elders and my village truly is a feast of people.” www.3rdActMag.com

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Members and volunteers do for each other what many close families and friends do.

Lifelong Recreation Programs for ages 50+

To join or to volunteer, contact: NEST (North East) 206.525.6378 nestseattle.org PNA Village (North West) 206.789.1217 phinneycenter.org/Village

Call today to receive our new FREE catalogue Seattle Parks & Recreation 206-615-0619

Westside Neighbors Network 206.937.1347 westsideneighborsnetwork.org Wider Horizons (Central) 206.650.3586 widerhorizonsvillage.org

Aging with Confidence

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BRAIN HEALTH STARTS AT HOME BY MICHAEL C. PATTERSON Susan McWhinney-Morse loved her neighborhood in the Beacon Hill area of Boston, but she sometimes worried about what would happen as she got older. Would she be able to stay in her wonderful home? Or would she be forced to move? She learned that many of her neighbors shared the same anxieties. How could they age without losing their independence and identities? The environment we live in—including our home and our neighborhood—has a profound effect on our brain health and on our mental well-being. An “enriched” environment keeps our brains healthy and


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

our minds active and vital. An impoverished environment has the opposite effect. Starting in the 1960s, researcher Marian Diamond and her colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, placed rats into different kinds of environments and tested their health, longevity, and intelligence. It turned out that rodents raised in an “enriched environment” did better on all counts. Rats raised in standard lab cages fared worse. They were scrawny, sickly, short-lived, and developed weaker neuronal structures. The same turns out to be true for human beings. So, what is an enriched environment? Here are the scientific basics: An enriched environment is stimulating and challenging. It stretches the brain. It makes it work. A safe yet challenging environment puts just enough stress on body and brain to promote growth and development. Too much stress, of course, is destructive. But a low level of what we call “benign stress” triggers the body and brain to make itself stronger. A mind that is challenged becomes nimbler and, in a very www.3rdActMag.com

real sense, more athletic—able to leap tall problems in a single bound! An enriched environment has sufficient healthy food and safety. It has lots of toys for play and places for exercise. An enriched environment is filled with interesting things that provide challenges and stimulate learning. And, perhaps most important of all, an enriched environment offers engagement with lots of other people. Conversely, scientists have found that an impoverished environment has the opposite effect. Plenty of research suggests that loneliness, isolation, inactivity (physical or mental), and poverty—with all the conditions that accompany it—stunt the growth and connectivity of brain cells. An impoverished environment is unsafe, chaotic, polluted, and noisy. It is an environment where resources may be scarce, and people have little time or energy to nurture and care for one another. Susan McWhinney-Morse did not want to be isolated in her old age. She did not want to give up the enriched environment she found in Beacon Hill. So in 1999, she and a group of neighbors got together to figure out how they could live independently and remain in their cherished neighborhood. Finding no existing model, they invented one. Their innovative solution came to be known as Beacon Hill Village, where a new mindset flourished. Now with over 400 members, Beacon Hill Village is a vibrant, member-driven organization for local residents age 50 and older. It provides programs and services that allow members to lead active, vibrant, and healthy lives while living in their own homes as they age. The model invented by one woman and her neighbors launched the Village movement, which has now spread across the nation and around the world. The Village movement is a wonderful example of people taking control of their own future through cooperation and creativity. By banding together and sharing their talents, their needs, their energy, and their concern for each other’s welfare, the members of a

Aging with Confidence

To learn more about the Village movement in the Pacific Northwest, see Denise Klein’s column on page 16. The Village to Village Network, a national organization that supports local Villages, can be found online at vtvnetwork.org. Village actively enrich their own environment. Rather than accept the inevitability of decline and loss, they actively engage their creative and experienced minds to design a happier and healthier older age. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.” 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.

8 Key Measures of Enrichment The Cogwheels of Brain Health are eight interactive areas that influence your brain health and cognitive well-being. Use them as a guide to evaluate the relative enrichment (or impoverishment) of your home and neighborhood. Does your environment:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

PHYSICAL – Promote regular movement: aerobics, strength, balance, and flexibility? MENTAL STIMULATION – Offer novel, challenging, and creative mental activities? SOCIAL – Give you regular access to supportive, caring, and nurturing people?

STRESS – Help you feel safe and secure? Does it offer places to relax and unwind? DIET – Give you easy access to healthy food, clean drinking water, and air?

SLEEP AND REST – Help you to get a good night’s sleep?

MEDICAL FACTORS – Offer you access to affordable medical care? ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS – Offer you access to nature, beauty, and wonder?

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Garden Your Way to Better Health

We all know that physical activity can help lower blood pressure. Did you know that gardening is considered physical activity? In fact, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute lists gardening as one way to battle high blood pressure. Just a few times a week can do the trick, they say.



by Shelley Laurel

If you love gardening, you’ll be pleased to know there are many reasons why it’s a great hobby. Digging in the dirt and producing blooms and veggies does more than beautify the neighborhood. It’s also good for your mental and physical well-being. Here are seven reasons gardening is a terrific way to improve your overall health.



If you’ve spent time in a garden, you know the sensation of Zen-like calm that can wash over you. Digging, smelling the blooms, taking the fresh air—these are wellknown pathways to peacefulness that gardeners have treasured for centuries.



“Horticultural therapy” is used by therapists to treat a range of disorders. One of them is dementia. It turns out that gardening stimulates thought and helps the mind become more aware of its surroundings. Gardening may help people with Bipolar II disorder, too. Therapists are sending their patients out to the gardens to help with depression, and finding that it helps.



Spending time outdoors in the sun is good for you. Wear proper sun protection, of course, but a little sun boosts the body’s production of vitamin D. In turn, that vitamin improves your body’s ability to absorb calcium. That helps boost your immune system (and your bones benefit too).


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018


While we’re on the subject of physical activity, this is a good time to mention that gardening burns calories, too. It’s considered moderate- to high-intensity exercise! Burn up to 330 calories per hour tending your garden or tidying up your yard.


Earlier we mentioned that some therapists are using horticultural therapy for people living with dementia. A study from the University of Exeter Medical School found that gardening may have real therapeutic benefits for people who have dementia. It seemed to lower agitation levels in dementia patients who participated in the study. Some research provides evidence that gardening may help prevent dementia, too. Scientists believe it’s the combination of mental and physical activity that produces a positive effect on the brain. They say that even just walking through a garden and experiencing its beauty can have a good influence on the brain’s health, too. This may be because being in a garden triggers happy memories.



Gardening is great for your body in several ways. Stretching is one of them. When you reach over to pull a weed or deadhead a flower patch, you’re stretching your muscles. That keeps you nice and limber, which produces all kinds of great benefits. Stretching is good for balance, strength, and for reducing the risk of injury. A final word: Treat gardening as you would any other physical activity. Always check with your doctor before you start a new exercise regimen. Ready for more ways to stay healthy this spring? We’re constantly celebrating the ways seniors can stay active, healthy, and happy. Join us on our 3rd Act Magazine Facebook page for more. www.3rdActMag.com

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Successful Aging How do you define it? BY DR. ERIC B. LARSON

Older Adults’ Perceptions of Successful Aging Percent who said this was important

95% • Remaining in good health until close to death • Able to take care of myself until close to the time of my death

• Able to make choices about things that affect how I age, like my diet, exercise, and smoking


• Able to cope with the challenges of my later years

• Having friends and family who are there for me • Remaining free of chronic disease




• Able to meet all of my needs and some of my wants • Able to act according to my own inner standards and values



• Feeling satisfied with my life the majority of the time • Not feeling lonely or isolated

• Feeling I have been able to influence others’ lives in positive ways • Having no regrets about how I lived my life

83% • Adjusting to changes that are related to aging

79% • Continuing to learn new things

• Staying involved with the world and people around me

85% • Feeling good about myself

72% • Having a sense of peace when thinking about the fact that I will not live forever

50% • Able to work in paid or volunteer activities after usual retirement age (65)

29% • Living a very long time

From Phelan, Elizabeth, A., et al. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2004


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s a doctor and health researcher, I’ve often heard experts try to define “successful” aging. They mostly focus on goals like avoiding illness and disability, holding on to your thinking and physical function, and maintaining an active social life. These are all great aspirations, but I sometimes wonder: Are such definitions really valuable? Do they help us plan for the future? Or do they lead to denial—making us think we can grow old without the changes that inevitably happen with age? I remember a patient I cared for years ago, a retired circus worker with serious health conditions, including kidney damage. Knowing he would eventually need ongoing dialysis, he often told me, “Whatever happens, don’t put me on that kidney machine. I wouldn’t be able to stand it.” But to my surprise, when the time came, he changed his mind. Why? A new friend had come into his life, giving him a sense of purpose. What had once seemed an unacceptable way to live was no longer that at all. He had reset his priorities, allowing him to live happily for the remaining months of his life despite the bother of dialysis. He experienced a kind of “successful aging” he might have never before imagined. Recognizing that people’s priorities often change over time, I worked with a University of Washington research team several years ago to determine what older people themselves value in aging. We surveyed two groups over age 65—some 700 Seattle-area Japanese-American elders and a general population of about 1,200 Kaiser Permanente members—to find out what matters most to them.


Understanding how Japanese culture reveres aging, we expected to find differences in the two groups. But we were surprised to find the results were exactly the same. Some of our findings may surprise you, too. For example, both groups rated “living a very long time” as least important. On average, they felt it was more important to keep learning, contributing, and being involved in others’ lives. They highly valued relationships. And most importantly, they wanted to stay in good health until close to death, living independently and not being a burden to their families. These results may or may not align with your feelings about aging. But you may find it helpful to look at the items in the table and think about your own wishes and priorities. Which would

you rank at the top of your list, in the middle, or at the bottom? Such questions may give you a clearer sense of the changes ahead and how you’d like to prepare. Aging well is like planning for any important journey. If you can visualize the trip and predict what you’ll need in order to be safe and comfortable, you’re going to have a lot more joy along the way. At the same time, it pays to stay flexible. In any journey—but especially a long one—the decisions you make at the beginning may not be the ones you’ll cling to later on. As a wise traveler, you may want to reassess your priorities as time goes by. Dr. Eric B. Larson is vice president for health care research and innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington and author of Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

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spring 2018

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If you’ve ever stumbled through a corn maze, thwarted Those don’t work very well for canes or wheelchairs,” by dead ends until you dumb-luck your way out, please note: he notes. He’s created a labyrinth for a retirement center A labyrinth is not that. where the path was wide enough for a walker and made one Rather, walking a labyrinth is a personal journey, one that was wheelchair friendly. “You follow the lines, not the path to the center and back out again, an ancient ritual space between the lines,” he explains. whose origins are lost in the mists of time. However people navigate the path, there are BY CONNIE multiple reasons for making the effort. “The biggest Mary Ellen Johnson of Seattle has studied and MCDOUGALL reason is to quiet your mind. Anyone who tends walked labyrinths for more than two decades. She explains that simple labyrinths appeared all to ruminate can benefit from this,” says Johnson. over the globe about 4,000 years ago, found in prehistoric “When your mind is wrapped around its axle, that’s the time rock carvings and across cultures. “Then, in the Middle to walk. Once you enter, there are no choices to make.” Ages, they evolved into more complex designs using what’s The exercise can also be used for problem solving. often called ‘sacred geometry,’ mathematics and principles of “I suggest to people that they stand at the entrance and geometry to create a scared space,” she says. “They believed pick a solution, Plan A. Stay with that decision as you walk God was in that space.” The most famous example is the and see how it feels. If it starts to feel wrong, go to Plan B,” labyrinth in the stone floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. she adds. “It can be a powerful tool for decision-making “There’s something elemental about them,” adds Dan or dealing with grief, offering solace and acceptance.” Niven, who lives in Lynnwood. Niven designs and builds Johnson is the first to admit there are no epiphany labyrinths, and he has a special interest in making them guarantees. “I don’t want to romanticize it,” she says. accessible. “Often, they’re in the ground or on cobblestones. “I mean, it’s not always this deep spiritual thing. I’ve done


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018


Perfect for folks who prefer more community and less retirement. It’s More Than Retirement. It’s Five-Star Fun.

Clockwise from top: Mary Ellen Johnson provides a canvas labyrinth at the Genesis Global Spiritual Center in Burien. Posing at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Seattle, Johnson explains this labyrinth is modeled after Chartres Cathedral in France. Dan Niven takes a selfie of his temporary labyrinth installed at a Seattle retirement center.

my grocery list in a labyrinth.” And there’s no wrong way to do it. “I say, the only rule is there are no rules,” says Niven. “I did a labyrinth for some Girl Scouts, a bunch of 9-yearolds. And they made it their own. They took this ancient template and invented extra rules for a game of tag. I trust people to do with it what they will.” A few suggestions for newcomers: “If you walk with others, give the person ahead of you lots of space,” says Johnson. “As you walk, pay attention to your breath and steps, your heartbeat. You might start out with a question or a prayer.” For example, labyrinth walker Nancy Regier has a ritual. “As I enter, I visualize that I’m letting go of obstacles, limiting thoughts, regrets, and as I turn at the center to return, I give myself a pep talk.” Aging with Confidence

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Perhaps a labyrinth’s greatest gift is offering an unplugged moment. “The important thing is that the labyrinth is really valuable for getting and staying grounded,” says Mary Ellen. “It’s an antidote to our overstimulated, chaotic world.” IF YOU GO

Learn more about labyrinths and find them in the Puget Sound region (or anywhere) at labyrinthlocator.com, and see examples of Dan Niven’s work at moderndaedalus.com. Mary Ellen Johnson offers workshops several times a year; see information at the Genesis Global Spiritual Center in Burien (genesis-global.org). 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.

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Wesley Des Moines Cottages

Aljoya Mercer Island


Options abound. Here are some of the possibilities.

All through our lives, we make changes. If we’re fortunate, we start out in a loving, safe home. We eventually grow up and move away, for school or military service or a job. We start careers and get our first apartments, building a home with yard-sale furniture and a few mementos from childhood. We get married and make a home together. And on it goes. As we navigate life changes, we redefine our physical home, each time creating a place to feel safe and comfortable. The changes we make and homes we choose in later life can be as exciting as those we make in our earlier decades—and every bit as new. Think about what’s important as we age. Maybe you’d like to make new friends, try new activities, travel more, or take interesting classes. You might want to be done with housework and home maintenance or feel that having someone else cook for you would be a dream come true. You could be thinking about needing extra help at some point.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

Or perhaps it’s just time for a new adventure. Here are some examples of what’s out there. 55+ housing communities for “active adults” If you’re looking for high-end fun, there are many resort-like planned communities with amenities such as tennis courts, pools, golf courses, spas, fitness centers, a club house, restaurants, maybe a ballroom —basically, lots of great activities. Residents buy a home and pay ongoing homeowners association dues for maintenance of common areas and those amazing amenities. Home prices range from the high $100,000s to low millions, depending on the location and style of the community. It’s important to ask what types of regulations or restrictions there might be, including on resale of houses. Age-restricted apartment buildings Apartment communities for older adults (55+, sometimes older) may offer just the basics or include a range of amenities like fitness centers, dining options, and garage parking. Monthly rents in Western Washington range from around $800 to $1,700 and up, depending on location and what’s offered. Ask whether the rent includes utilities. An example is the Savoy Lake City, designed specifically for people over 62. The new North Seattle complex is pet friendly, with a fitness center, bistro pub, rooftop deck, and common spaces for meetings or to entertain friends. Staff is available for help when needed, and social interaction among residents is encouraged. The Senior Housing Assistance Group, another major presence in this category, has more than two www.3rdActMag.com

Hearthstone at Green Lake

Quimper Village

Photo courtesy of Port Townsand Leader

dozen locations in Western Washington. Most SHAG communities are for people of modest means, but a few have no income restrictions. Communities with multiple levels of services Many apartment and condo-style retirement communities offer a mix of graduated care options, from no assistance to skilled nursing care. Some are for-profit, some not-for-profit, and many have a mission to maintain. For people who are thinking long-term, this can be a good choice. Amenities to look for include parking, 24-hour staff, dining rooms or restaurants, housekeeping and linen services, transportation for groups or individuals, beauty salons, massage therapy, fitness centers, swimming pools and spas, wellness classes, libraries, media rooms, and social activities. Within each apartment, there may be a washer and dryer, cable TV and internet access, and an emergency call system. Some communities are pet-friendly. Some describe themselves as a cruise ship on land. Monthly rates vary, depending on location, amenities, and the size of an individual residence. Most communities offer studio, one, two, or threebedroom apartments; some offer separate cottages. In the Seattle area, the range is approximately $600 to $9,000 per month. Some communities offer varying price levels based on the number of meals included in an individual plan. Assistance or skilled care will add to the fees. Ida Culver House Broadview, opened in 1990, is part of Era Living, a mission-centered, family-owned local company. The mission: to respect and honor

Aging with Confidence

older adults by enhancing the quality of their lives. Ida Culver House does that with a beautiful garden setting and views from many windows. Volunteers in the resident guide program act as mentors to newcomers, introducing them to the facility and to other residents. In addition to independent living, levels of care at Ida Culver include assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, and skilled memory care. Many residents come in as couples. Eleanor and Mary lived together for 50 years, sharing life, love, and work. Then, as they grew older, Mary needed some physical assistance that Eleanor couldn’t provide. It was time to look for a new home, and they found it at Ida Culver House. Eventually, Eleanor developed Alzheimer’s and went into specialized memory care on campus. Although they don’t share an apartment anymore, they can visit each other every day. “She still recognizes me, I think,” Mary says. “She’s happy when we’re together.” Popular communities with a lot to offer usually have a waiting list. Karli Christiansen, community relations director for Ida Culver, suggests, “Do research, do it early; join some wait lists and get priority for choices.” Another example is Merrill Gardens Burien, which has a large independent clientele. It’s located in the heart of Burien Town Square, so residents can easily walk to stores, restaurants, parks, the library, and the farmer’s market. There’s a complimentary happy hour every Friday, open to friends and families as well as all residents. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

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Horizon House

Wesley Des Moines Cottages

Friendships and romances happen here, another interesting reason to think about joining a community rather than living alone in a house. You’ll get to know people you might never meet otherwise. Merrill Gardens Burien community relations manager Ana Burnes advises people to pay attention to the “feel” of the communities they visit. Many places offer the same things, but when you walk in the door, you want to sense a particular atmosphere that makes it right for you. Life Plan communities Life Plan communities, also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), have a specific definition: Age-restricted properties that include a combination of independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing services (or independent living and skilled nursing) available to residents all on one campus. These communities will offer care for the rest of your life, with an emphasis on an active lifestyle and community connections. They are similar to places like Ida Culver and Merrill Gardens, offering the same types of amenities and services. Some are for-profit, some non-profit. The difference is mostly in the pricing structure and the guarantee of care. Life Plan communities vary, but there’s a basic structure: an entrance fee, which may be nonrefundable or refundable, and a monthly fee. Higher entrance fees generally mean lower monthly fees, which might not rise when or if skilled nursing care becomes necessary. Entry fees range from approximately $30,000 to $1,000,000, depending on the location, the style of the community, services, and amenities. Monthly fees in the Seattle area range


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

from approximately $800 to $4,500. If two people are living together, a second entrance fee and monthly fee may be added. The contracts for Life Plan communities vary quite a bit and can be confusing; it’s a good idea to consult your attorney or financial advisor before you sign one. Life Plan communities encourage prospective residents to think about their options earlier than other places offering assisted or skilled care. There may be a health requirement to move in, and residents start by living independently. Horizon House is a Life Plan community in downtown Seattle, for adults over 62. The emphasis here is on living an active lifestyle, while offering assisted living and memory care to help maintain that quality of life. The majority of activities at Horizon House are initiated and managed by residents, many of whom also volunteer in the Seattle community. The fitness center is always open, and a wellness team works with residents who want or need a personal exercise program. The Hearthstone at Green Lake in Seattle has a focus on healthy living and a variety of pet-friendly residential options. As health needs change, residents have access to assisted living, short-term rehab, physical therapy, memory support, and skilled nursing care. As a non-profit CCRC, The Hearthstone re-invests profits after operating expenses into improving residential life. And there’s a very reassuring promise to all those who live here: “If you are unable to pay your monthly fees through no fault of your own, The Hearthstone covers those expenses so you can stay where you are.” www.3rdActMag.com

SHAG Lynnwood City Center

Ida Culver Broadview

Cohousing Shelly Parks had a career in senior housing, working in marketing and sales. She had a great appreciation for that world, but questions kept popping up: How do we do it better? Are there other ways to live, to grow older in a more proactive way? To socialize, make friends, and live lighter on the planet? Cohousing is one option that meets those goals. Cohousing members commit to creating a strong community. Each individual or family owns a private home, built around shared space that will facilitate social interaction between neighbors. There’s usually a common house with a kitchen, where residents eat together a few times a week. There may be guest rooms in the common house, and areas for meetings or parties. Residents share the costs of common space and maintenance. Decisions made by the entire group include the physical design of the community, which could be separate cottages or townhouses; in the city, it might be a condo building. It’s not an inexpensive process if the community is built from scratch, or if it’s a major remodel of an existing apartment building, so it’s important to establish a budget early on. While cohousing is often intergenerational, many proponents have a particular interest in age-specific communities. Older adults may have very different ideas of what works than younger people do. It’s a little bit like a college dorm: You’re in the same place in life with everyone around you; you may have similar interests; and you probably understand how people think. But intergenerational contact is part of the outer circle of senior cohousing. Adult children and grandchildren are welcome as visitors. Aging with Confidence

More than 20 cohousing communities have begun in Washington state, and many are full before they open. When members move away or die, each community has its own plan for how new residents join. Most keep a waiting list, encouraging interested people to get to know the community before a vacancy occurs. The optimum size for cohousing, both financially and socially, is about 30 households, approximately 20 to 35 people. Monthly meetings provide discussion and decision-making opportunities. Everyone needs to commit to being a good neighbor; listening, caring, and communicating are key. Learning to deal with potential conflicts in a productive way is essential. Shelly Parks describes it as an old-fashioned neighborhood: messy at times; imperfect at times, but a great community that supports its members. She and her husband plan to pursue cohousing with a group that is searching for land in the Skagit Valley. Tiny houses You’ve probably seen them, online if not in person: adorable, cozy little houses that make good use of every inch of space. They’re often on wheels for easy moving. Pat Rasmussen, 72, of Olympia saw a tiny house that a friend had built for himself and his family. She thought, “Yes! I want something warm and comfortable like that.” Pat creates permaculture farms, so she likes the idea of a home she can move when she’s working at a new place. She plans to have solar panels on her roof, and hemp insulation, so she won’t need a heater. She’ll have two lofts, one at each end, where her grandchildren can sleep when CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

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they visit. She’s designing it with a local builder who specializes in tiny homes. Although only about 192 square feet, Pat says it will hold everything she needs. As Pat shared her plans, she found that others were excited about the idea. They discovered there were permitting issues in Olympia, so a group of tiny home supporters are working with the city to meet building codes. Some people may enjoy having a tiny home on their children’s property, so they can be close by but not actually living together. One of Pat’s friends is planning to offer space on her large lot for four or five tiny homes for older women. They could provide a tiny house for a shared caregiver, too. Or maybe, says her friend, she’ll build a tiny home for herself, move out of her big house, and join the other ladies on the land. New ideas Wesley (formerly Wesley Homes) is a non-profit, faith-based organization with a mission to meet the social, physical, and spiritual needs of the people who call Wesley home, as well as serve older adults in the surrounding community. In addition to offering cottages, brownstones, or apartments at their Des Moines location, Wesley Health & Home Care provides services for people who want to continue living in their homes off campus.

Sometimes it’s medical care. Sometimes it’s social; caregivers have helped a man put scrapbooks together and escorted a woman flying to a family wedding in Arizona. Hospice care is available as well. Wesley U is a continuing education program at Wesley Des Moines. Classes are inexpensive and available to both residents and outside community members. There’s even a resident-run TV station. In partnership with Highline College, Wesley Des Moines has created an intergenerational program. Highline identified students in need of housing, then Wesley chose five of them to live on campus for inexpensive rent in exchange for 10 volunteer hours a week working with residents. Assistance with technology is a large part of their volunteer service. At the other end of education, two preschools meet at Wesley Des Moines. Residents love being around the children, and the children learn and benefit from their adopted grandparents. As you can see from the many options noted above, creative housing is all about choice for people who love life. Challenge yourself a bit; imagine where you could be and how you could be living. Life may have a new adventure in store for you. 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.

Questions to ask before you make a move

Will the available services and amenities give you the type of life you want? Ask yourself: “Will there be activities I enjoy? Will I find friends? Can I bring my pet? Are there guest apartments? Can I invite guests for dinner?” Be sure you know about and understand all fees. Also ask about staff turnover and how long the executive director has been there. Longevity of staff and leadership speaks to the culture of the company and how it treats people.

A few more notes about the cost

In Washington, 74 percent of people pay for independent or assisted living with private funds, according to the Washington Department of Social and Health Services. The rest are eligible for Medicaid services. However, Medicaid does not cover all the housing costs beyond the services themselves, and even facilities that are Medicaid-contracted are not required to accept everyone who needs Medicaid to pay part of the costs. If you have concerns about finances when choosing a community, ask what the policy is if you should eventually need to use Medicaid. Medicare does not cover independent or assisted living costs. Medicare generally doesn’t cover long-term care but does cover short-term nursing home care following a hospital stay. Long-term skilled nursing care and memory care may be covered by Medicaid in Washington.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018


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Aging with Confidence

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| 3rd Act magazine 31

Staying Power

Many Resources are Available When There’s No Place Like Home BY JULIE FANSELOW


t often makes sense to move to a smaller, lowmaintenance abode and have a simpler lifestyle as we get older. Esti Mintz found her just-right place in a condo near University Village in Seattle. “I bought it even before they dug the hole,” she recalls. Mintz, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, was able to refine the design of her brand-new dwelling so it was more accessible, and she has lived there happily since 2002. Yet after a bad fall three years ago, Mintz faced a sudden end to her career at Microsoft and a long stay in a rehabilitation center. She could have stayed there or chosen another assisted living home, “but I have my own place,” she says. “All I wanted was to come home.” She researched the possibilities and chose Family Resource Home Care as a way to remain independent in the place she loves. Home care is different from home health care, which is short-term, physician-ordered, Medicare-reimbursed care that usually follows a specific event like a stroke or surgery. Often, potential recipients or their adult children aren’t aware of home health care benefits, so Sheila McKannay of Family Resource Home Care always advises clients to ask about those benefits first. By contrast, home care is non-skilled assistance, from personal care and light housekeeping to medication reminders, companionship, and respite care for family


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members. Many home care clients get help for a just few hours a week. The service can be especially helpful for busy families and for out-of-town relatives who want to be sure their loved one is eating well and taking needed medications. Medicare does not reimburse for home care, which typically costs between $25 and $40 an hour in Western Washington if arranged via a licensed agency. (Among other things, home care agencies do background checks on their caregivers, handle tax and liability issues, and provide backup care.) Washington state does have programs to help people who medically and financially qualify for in-home assistance. Moudy Remlinger arrives every weekday morning to help Mintz get out of bed and shower. In the three hours they have together, Remlinger also tidies up the place and prepares meals that Mintz can eat later in the day. Sometimes, the two women make food together—or, as Mintz puts it, “I look and she cooks.” Another caregiver, Ghrmawit Berhane, arrives in the evening to help Mintz get to bed. “It’s been much easier than I expected to accept help,” says Mintz. “I thought it would be really hard, but I feel good about it.” “Esti is easygoing,” says Remlinger, who was named the Washington Home Care Association’s Caregiver of the www.3rdActMag.com

Year in 2016 and has worked for Family Home Resource Care for three years. “She’s like a good friend.” Mintz adds that having home care allows her to enjoy life beyond her health issues, including occasional journeys to the museum and symphony and even to Olympia to advocate for legislation to benefit people with MS—a trip she recently took with Remlinger. “She helps me be as good as I can be,” Mintz says. “When she’s done with me, I’m fine.” Paid in-home care is a good choice for many people, and other creative options are on the rise, too. (See the articles in this issue on accessible home remodeling and on the dues-based Village to Village Network taking root in many Northwest communities.) Another program, Senior Companions, welcomes volunteers to help other adults beat isolation and avoid more costly care. Senior Companions is part of the federal Senior Corps programs, which also include Foster Grandparents and RSVP. Volunteers (who must be 55 or older and have a limited income) receive a small hourly stipend; there are no age nor income restrictions for recipients. “In a nutshell, it’s seniors helping seniors,” says Sarah Call, who manages volunteers for the Senior Companions

program at Lutheran Community Services Northwest in Tacoma. Companions do anything from visiting the doctor or grocery shopping to attending a swimming or yoga class together. “I have clients who just sit at home and play a game of Scrabble, take a walk, or go see a movie together,” adds Call. “They create a lasting friendship.”

Learn More

• The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services can help older adults and their families learn about available options for aging in place. For a list of state and local resources, visit dshs.wa.gov and search for “Services that help an adult remain at home.” • The Washington Home Care Association’s member agencies commit to industry best-practice standards. Learn more at wahca.org. • Senior Companions provide friendship and assistance to other seniors. Homage Senior Services runs the program in King and Snohomish counties (sssc.org; 425-879-7050). In Pierce and Kitsap counties, contact Lutheran Community Services Northwest (lcsnw.org; 253-272-8433).

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PeopleFriendly Homes

Small Changes Can Mean Big Gains in Safety, Comfort, Even Resale Value BY DORI GILLAM


irthday cards would have us believe that by age 60 or 65 we can’t see, hear, remember anything, or touch our knees (let alone our toes) without creaking. Tepid, ageist jokes about walkers and wheelchairs are plentiful. I received many of these “greetings” when I turned 65 last year. Just two weeks after my birthday, I fell and shattered my right arm, sprained my left arm, and herniated four disks in my neck, requiring spine surgery and fusion. Nearly immobilized from the waist up, I spent four months in a neck brace. Common household items were too awkward to grasp with my swollen hands, too difficult to rotate with my splinted arm, or too heavy to lift safely after spine surgery. There were things I could not do alone. My home of 30 years was not supporting me very well. Luckily, I have wonderful friends and family who helped. I recovered. And now I’d like to make my home more adaptable to whatever else might happen as I age. With unlimited money, I could design and pay for a fully accessible “smart home” remodel. I’d be ready for anything. Except I don’t


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have unlimited money. So I consulted experts: architects, contractors, realtors, AARP, and an occupational therapist. Tom Minty, a certified seniors real estate specialist with John L. Scott Real Estate and longtime Northwest Universal Design Council member, told me the top three considerations for safety and functionality: • At least one level entry. • Bedroom, kitchen, and full bath on the main floor. • The bath should have an adequate turning radius for a walker/wheelchair and a nothreshold shower. Barry Long, the first disabled Americans with Disabilities Act real estate specialist in Washington state, says one of his goals is to help people stay in their current homes because it can be more cost effective to remodel rather than move. Long, an aging-in-place specialist with Sotheby’s International Realty, confirmed that there can be a stigma to listing a home for sale as “fully accessible.” In fact, there isn’t even an easy, www.3rdActMag.com

consistent way to list the accessible features of a home on the Multiple Listing Service. Minty and Long are working to change that and are committed to educating brokers and consumers. The stigma is real: My mother refused to let us build a ramp up to her front porch, even though she used a wheelchair for her last seven years, because she didn’t want her home tagged as a “handicapped house.” Many folks think installing grab bars in the bathroom will give it a hospital/nursing-home air. Yet when done right, adaptations can actually increase resale value, says Steve Wattenbarger of Wattenbarger Architects in Bellevue, who has designed over 14,000 apartment homes for older adults in 15 states. When he and his wife built their home to be wheelchair friendly, they intentionally incorporated design features to assist her mobility and to enhance the future value of their home. No-lip thresholds into the showers, attractive grab bars that match the towel racks, and railings on both sides of stairways are found in most high-end hotels. Everyone can use the facilities, and the accessible features are stunning, not stale. Minty suggests that by removing barriers for people of all ages and abilities, you increase your home’s “visit-ability” and make it more livable for you, too. This resonates with me: I regularly entertain several older adults who can’t navigate my front steps without a person on either side of them for support, since there are no railings at all. Smaller projects can be tackled one at a time, suggests occupational therapist Margo Traines. “Consider it as a spectrum, a process,” she says. “There might not be a reason to lower counters, widen doorways, or remodel a bathroom right now,” but gradually, you can address them all—ideally before you need to. John Barnett, a former president of AARP Washington, makes presentations on AARP’s HomeFit Guide, which shows scores of simple, inexpensive adaptations CONTINUED ON PAGE 36 Aging with Confidence

Simple Ways to Make Your Life Easier Of course, you hope that your health will never decline and that you’ll never have an accident. But things happen, so why not look over AARP’s free HomeFit Guide with its easy checklists? Available on the aarp.org website (where you can also download a copy or request a printed brochure by mail), it’s a great start, and the projects are well-laid out. Here are some ideas: • Instead of widening your doors, try swing-away or swingclear door hinges to maximize your door width. (These come in handy when you are moving furniture, too!) • Lever handles (instead of round doorknobs) are so easy to open your dog can do it—and they sure come in handy when your hands are full. • Install single lever, touch, or sensor style faucets instead of round turn handles or knobs in kitchen and bathrooms. • A no-step or compressible rubber threshold entry into your home will lessen tripping hazards and make it easier for all wheeled aids to enter your home. (Wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers!) • Install grab bars to a solid wall surface. They are sturdy and can be decorative too. • Change your stationary showerhead to an adjustable one that can be used standing or seated. • Switch to rocker-style “push” wall switches instead of “flip” switches. Consider getting lit switches to help you see them at night. • Add railings to both sides of staircases.

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Dori Gillam speaks on aging well, aging in community, and planning for a good death. As a Seattle native, she has a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and has worked for Sound Generations, AARP, and the Center for Creative Aging.

such as changing light switches to the rocker style with built-in night lights so you can see the switch in the dark. (This would have helped me.) Now I’m looking at lever-style handles on doors, rather than knobs that require wrist or shoulder rotation. I already have a single-handle faucet in the kitchen and I’m considering installing a touchless faucet in the bathroom. I’m thinking changes that could be tackled by a handyman or woman, rather than ones requiring a contractor. Many of us spend decades making our homes hospitable for ourselves and our guests. We love comfortable chairs, enough space to move around, and mood lighting. We fix the back steps and repurpose bedrooms after children move away. Yet few of us make our homes livable for aging well. We hope we’ll always be able to make it down to the basement to do laundry. I have several friends who have had knees or hips replaced or who have had a biking accident, and all can attest to the beauty of having a stackable washer dryer installed on the main floor, even if it means losing a closet.

Many of us spend decades making our homes hospitable for ourselves and our guests. Yet few of us make our homes livable for aging well. After climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2015, I certainly never thought I’d fall in front of the dry cleaners two years later and break myself into so many pieces. I don’t want to be a prisoner in my own home ever again. I’ll make sensible changes so I, and my friends of all ages and abilities, can enjoy my home now and for years to come.

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3rd Act magazine | spring 2018


Aging with Confidence

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ecorating a small home can seem like a bulky coffee table. Instead, use two smaller ottomans or daunting project—especially when you’re trunks, preferably ones that do double duty as additional transitioning from a larger space. A good first storage. step is to focus on the positive aspects of living in a small SMALLER SCALE FURNITURE NEED NOT BE BORING space: less maintenance, greater efficiency and function, AND UNCOMFORTABLE and of course, the beauty and coziness factors. Look for smaller pieces that are still full and comfortable. Whether you’re downsizing to a smaller home or Throw pillows can be used for extra comfort and to add transitioning into a retirement community, small-space bright pops of color. Larger pieces like sofas or loveseats living does not mean the end of good design; instead, it are usually best upholstered a bit more neutrally while is an opportunity to be smart and patterned side chairs and throw intentional with your design and rugs can add layers and interest decor. It’s a chance to shed some to a room. tired things and surround yourself LOOK UP AND MAXIMIZE SPACE BY GOING VERTICAL with only items that you love, need, Choose wall sconces instead and use. While it’s a big task to sort of table lamps to free up through a lifetime of possessions, surface space on side tables most of the hundreds of people and nightstands. Use vertical my company has helped with space for storage and display. this process express a feeling of Floating shelves or custom liberation and peace once they’ve casework can act as a focal pared down to just their favorite point in a room. and most useful things. Many people choose to keep LET IN THE LIGHT just their artwork or a single Hang window treatments statement piece of furniture above the window frames as and start from scratch with the close to the ceiling as possible rest of the furnishing. Whether and position rods so curtains you choose from pieces you can be opened all the way to already own, or you shop for new the edges of the windows. This pieces—or a combination of the lets in more light and gives the IN A SMALL SPACE two approaches—here are some illusion of taller ceilings and tips for making your small space wider windows. By Karen Pfeiffer Bush beautiful and functional. Downsizing to a smaller space does not mean saying farewell to good design. CREATE ROOMS WITHIN ROOMS Floating seating areas within a room rather than It is an opportunity to embrace the wisdom of how you pushing furniture against the walls can actually make a really want to live in a home and what makes your heart room seem larger and airier. Desks or side tables can be sing. What do you truly love to look at? What do you really placed against walls and used for work, dining, or display. need and use? How are you most comfortable? When you A throw rug in the seating area will ground and separate fill your space with only beautiful, useful, comfortable things that are intentionally placed for the best flow and the spaces. function, you have reached design nirvana. Go for it! EMPLOY FURNITURE THAT CAN SERVE You know what you like! MULTIPLE PURPOSES


A sofa table behind a floating sofa can double as a work surface—just pull up a chair. Bins underneath can hold office or hobby supplies. Reconsider the shin-bruiser


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Karen Pfeiffer Bush is a senior living specialist and owner of two Seattlebased companies, Housewarming (housewarmingseattle.com) and Studio 65 (studio65design.com). Contact Karen at 206-719-1662 or email her at karen@housewarmingseattle.com


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: • Hang window treatments so they make

the window seem higher and wider and let in more light (Rendering by Amanda Kratochvil/Housewarming). • Custom casework going all the way to

the ceiling provides a focal point and opportunity for storage and artwork display (Design by Jacquelyn Rardin/ Studio 65). • Use small-scale furniture that is still full

and comfortable, and employ patterns on area rugs and side chairs to provide visual interest in a neutral and airy palette (Bush/ Housewarming). • An heirloom trunk makes a great coffee

table and provides additional storage. Tiling the kitchen backsplash all the way to the ceiling is a great trick to bring the eye up and make the ceiling seem higher. A horizontal window just below the ceiling between the living room and bedroom lets in light and lifts the eyes (Design by Lori Sullivan/Housewarming)

SMART STYLE Here are a few resources for smaller-scale furniture: Del-Teet Furniture, 10308 NE 10th St, Bellevue, delteet.com. West Elm, westelm.com Housewarmingseattle.com for interior design assistance and access to designer showrooms.

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spring 2018

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Manufactured Homes Can be a Good Option in the Expensive Northwest


ou have heard this story before—a tale of surrender my entrepreneurial freedom and my dreams crushed by the 2008 financial crash. dreams to work with a corporation again? At 57, in I am one of the significant number of people good health and with an adventurous spirit, I wasn’t who experienced nightmares in the Great Recession. ready to give up! My tale includes the loss of two homes, a major job I had a small nest egg to invest and didn’t want the transition, a shattered retirement plan, and the demise burden of a loan, so I began with the idea of pursuing of a 37-year marriage. the purchase of a tiny home. Because of my love for For all of us hit hard by the crisis, the way visitors and grandbabies, I opened my options BY KELLIE we live, work, and spend have changed forever. to include manufactured home communities MOELLER I may have to work long past 65 to make up for for people 55 and older. I’ll admit I saw a few the losses. Yet I still have dreams of working as a consultant and digital nomad, traveling to faraway places while owning a permanent home in the Seattle area. I am determined to do this debt-free. First, I had to confront my own prejudice. The phrase “trailer trash” crossed my mind as I confronted my vanity and faced the reality of my personal finances. Was I really willing to continue paying $1,800 a month for a one-bedroom apartment or purchase a home with a high mortgage payment? Was I willing to


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dumps, like the trashed singlewide with sticky floors and an inch of nicotine on the walls. But there were a few that helped me see greater possibilities. I finally found (or maybe it found me) a delightful, well-maintained, bright blue, cozy two-bedroom home in a quiet neighborhood near Silver Lake in Everett. Manufactured homes are becoming more popular with the middle-income aging population. From small retirement communities to sprawling acres with hundreds of homes and a clubhouse, you are able www.3rdActMag.com

to live a comfortable lifestyle without the burden of debt. Here are other paybacks that attract mobile home buyers. Find big savings Mobile home park space rent costs a fraction of what you’ll pay in apartment rent or condo fees. You can buy a manufactured home, then put in upgrades and sell it for a profit. Stretch your income By downsizing, you’ll stretch your fixed income during retirement. With the savings, you can travel, golf, go to the beach, or do whatever else you love. Enjoy the amenities Manufactured home communities are often located in prime locations—near lakes, rivers, golf courses, and easy access to conveniences. Most enjoy a close-knit community with neighbors that look after one another, giving you a sense of someone always being there, decreasing the risk of loneliness. At the same time, the communities are big enough that everybody doesn’t know your business, protecting privacy.

Feel secure Many mobile home parks are gated, giving residents security. All residents go through background checks, adding to the sense of safety. Think flexibility Manufactured homes are not as “mobile” as one might think, but demand for this type of housing is growing in high-priced Seattle, enabling you to resell quickly and easily. If you are a “snowbird”—someone who moves from colder climates to warmer ones in the winter—a mobile home community can be a perfect option for either your first or second home. As I make my move into the trailer scene, I look forward to a future filled with making dreams come true. I may not live all of my twilight years in a manufactured home, but surrounded by a strong social network, safety, and a tight-knit community, maybe I will. The most important thing is that I have a choice. I’ll be living the dream with “trailer cash.” Kellie Moeller has worked in the senior housing industry in the Northwest for more than a decade. With an insider’s view and a passion for serving seniors, she gives a fresh perspective on aging.

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2018

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The Expat Life For a Year or Two (or More), Many Americans Seek New Vistas Abroad BY ANN RANDALL

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —Mary Oliver Below: Laureen Lund on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Brenda Prowse and Hugh Nelson in Paris.


As they approached retirement from their Bainbridge Island teaching jobs, it was the nagging question posed by a favorite poet that inspired Alice Mendoza and her husband, Carl Lindbloom, to move to Rabat, Morocco, for three years to finish out their careers. “We were comfortable in our teaching shoes and looked forward to the stimulation of doing work we

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knew how to do in a different culture,” says Mendoza. “We planned on returning so we kept our house, but we bought a car and rented a house in Morocco and stayed an extra year to fully experience the country.” Fellow teacher Susan Morgridge spent two years working at an international school in Lebanon in her 60s before her first grandchild enticed her home. “I had a dream of traveling the world on a sailboat and teaching. Fast forward 30 years later, I still wanted to do it,” she says. “I talked to my kids who weren’t interested, so when my youngest turned 21, I realized it was then or never.” Waiting meant her choices were limited. “Many international schools don’t accept teachers who turn 60 during their contract,” Morgridge notes. “I had a choice between Lebanon and Bangladesh and picked Lebanon because I wanted a place where expats didn’t live a separate, privileged life from locals.” A temporary expat life is one option for anyone considering re-homing themselves to another country. However, temporary plans can become permanent. That’s what happened when newly retired Poulsbo real estate agents Brenda Prowse and Hugh Nelson decided to follow Brenda’s dream and live in Paris for a year. “Brenda was determined to come here,” says Nelson. “I didn’t have a burning interest to move to France. At first, I told her that moving here was impossible. After all, how would we gather mail, care for our house, pay taxes? We were leaving behind a furnished house with no plan to care for it. There was also the question of how we would pay for our Paris experience.” But after a year, the couple returned home, sold everything, and returned to Paris indefinitely. Why? As Prowse explains, “We hadn’t mastered the French language and had so much more of Paris and Europe to explore. We love the lifestyle here. We don’t need a car. We walk everywhere. We eat much more healthy food. It is easier to travel to other countries with Europe as a base. We found a great apartment in a neighborhood www.3rdActMag.com

we like. I love the exhibits, museums, art, fashion.” Former Seattle resident Mark Mains and his family made the same decision. At age 54, Mains decided he had five to six years left in his career. He wanted to work internationally, so—with a wife, two kids, and a dog in tow, plus a teaching degree and experience in hand—he took a teaching job in Guatemala. Before long, he decided to buy a house and resign his teaching position at the end of the school year. “It was the opportunity, climate, and economy that kept us here,” says Mains. “We can live here quite inexpensively. If we’d stayed in Seattle, I don’t think I could ever retire. Here I’m testing the water at age 55.” For one retired couple, expat life doesn’t mean staying in a single country but making a long-term journey they’ve dubbed “the Grand Adventure.” Gig Harbor writer Laureen Lund and her husband, Arne, embarked on a trip in November 2016 that took them to two dozen countries in their first year as expat nomads. After selling their home and most of their Aging with Confidence

accumulated possession, they packed their roller bags for an itinerary that left options for detours. Home has been a series of Airbnb rentals, apartments, a boat, an RV camper while traveling in New Zealand, and hosted albergues lining the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Despite their varied approaches to expat living, these former and current expats give remarkably similar advice to anyone considering a move abroad:

3Don’t try to transport your U.S. lifestyle.

Brenda Prowse is following her dream of living in France.

You can follow the Paris adventures of Brenda Prowse and Hugh Nelson on their blog muchadoaboutparis. com and read about the Lunds’ journeys at myfabfiftieslife.com.

Learn to accept your new culture including all its inefficiencies and embrace the differences. “I’ve seen a lot of expats who had preconceived ideas and expectations and their experience has been clearly less satisfactory than ours,” says Mains.

3Immerse yourself in the experience. Eat local foods. Shop local markets. Attend local celebrations. Make friends with locals and learn the language. It’s a great surprise “when we are able to spend quality time with someone we meet in our travels and change their view of the average American,” reflects Lund. “This

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means more to me than most anything else over the past year.”

3Research before you go. Have some understanding of the history, politics, religion, and cultural mores of the country that will be hosting you, no matter how temporarily.

“We’ve lived without a clothes dryer and sometimes without a washing machine. No dishwasher, no movies, no American TV. Don’t miss it. Don’t need it.”

3Take advantage of travel opportunities. From her home base in Lebanon, Morgridge used vacations to travel to India, Morocco, Jordan, Croatia, Italy, Romania, and Egypt. Mendoza and Lindbloom bought a car and traveled throughout Morocco.

3Get familiar with technology. Stay in touch with friends and family via cost-effective applications such as Skype or Line2 for making calls and WhatsApp for texting. “The world is so connected,” says Nelson. “I’m still the webmaster for Poulsbo Rotary and we still listen to a Tacoma NPR

station.” Nelson and Prowse avidly watch University of Washington Husky games from Paris; Mains does the same from Guatemala.

3Appreciate a downsized lifestyle. “We discovered we were perfectly happy in a 450-square-foot apartment with a couple suitcases of clothes, a two-burner stove, and no oven,” reflects Nelson. “I’ve learned how little you need in day-to-day life to feel satisfied,” says Lund. “We’ve lived without a clothes dryer and sometimes without a washing machine. No dishwasher, no movies, no American TV. Don’t miss it. Don’t need it.” Ann Randall is an independent traveler and writer who loves venturing to out-of-the-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 maintains two blogs, PeregrineWoman.com and ExploreKitsap.com.



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3rd Act magazine | spring 2018


Travel Solo? Why Not? T


he beginning of this story is a familiar one, I think. My husband of 47 years had died, six months had passed, and I was still sitting on the couch. We had enjoyed a life of travel: first in tents, then in trailers (going from small to large and back down), and finally in motels. Throughout those years, we’d built a storehouse of memories, yet I wanted more. Could a widow in her 70s continue the joy of seeing America while traveling solo? I owned a vintage Honda and while she lacked the “extras,” she did have the basics of brakes, gas pedal, clutch, steering wheel, and mirrors. I named her the Silver Steed. We “hit the road,” slowly and cautiously at first. Now, in 2018, I am another 10 years down that road—and an octogenarian. Many of those years included a solo cross-country adventure. (The last one was in the fall of 2016 and reached Fort McHenry in Baltimore, looking out to Chesapeake Bay.) William Least Heat Moon had it right: America is best found, defined if you will, along its “blue highways,” those roads with speed limits below 65 mph. My daily mileage rarely exceeds 225 miles, and most of my adventures consume eight weeks or more. If you’re someone who has thought about the possibility of such travel, I would like to offer a few tips I have found to be true and useful.

• America’s seniors can be found volunteering in a wide variety of information centers. If you find loneliness creeping into your day, stop at one of these sites. You will find someone very willing to chat at length, and you will also leave better informed.

• Joining a hotel rewards program reaps benefits. Points add up quickly, especially when one takes advantage of special reward dates and days of the week.

Myrna Loveland has been a social worker, wife, and mother. Now she is a retiree, writer, and solo traveler. Some of her tips have appeared in the Thurston-Mason Senior News.

Aging with Confidence

• For me, picnics are less lonely than restaurant meals and usually less expensive. Picnic tables abound—in city parks, roadside rest areas, and at famous sites. Pick a scenic spot and you will be refreshed. Share a table and you will meet a fellow traveler. • Focusing on reaching a daily mileage total is the quickest way to become stressed. Don’t do it. Focus instead on the possibilities between Point A and Point B. As a final note, let me suggest that if you cannot stomach another glorious sunset, green vistas stretching into eternity, or staring into some natural abyss, it may be time to look at the Roadside America website. Here you can find the wacky, the outrageous, and sometimes, even the inspiring. For the past two years I have sprinkled my miles with these sites and laughed my way across America. It seems Dorothy had it right after all, because even Kansas looks great through that filter.

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Retired Professor Captures Light and Life in Encore Career of Photography

and adventure Charles Sleicher shows me one of his favorite photographs: an egret, snowy white against a dark, pre-dawn sky, tail fanned like a spraying fountain. It’s a picture that took him years to get: years of annual forays into the Florida darkness, searching patiently for just the right spot, the right light, the right moment in the egret’s ritual courtship performance. Sleicher points out the splash of lime green around the egret’s beak: a rare show of bling, visible only when the bird was courting. We are standing in the dining room of Mirabella, the Seattle retirement community where Sleicher has lived for nine years. He takes pleasure in visiting old favorites hung around the building, like the egret. We also look at photos of eagles in Alaska, the rolling green wheat fields of the Palouse, fall foliage in New England, and penguins on South Georgia Island—which, Sleicher reminds me, is southeast of South America. It’s where the explorer Ernest Shackleton famously landed after one of the most grueling Antarctic voyages in history.


Aging with Confidence


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Previous page: Death Valley at dawn, great egret at first light. This page: Charles on safari, Steptoe grain elevator from Steptoe Butte, Jenne Farm in Vermont.

Sleicher has been a professional photographer since 1991, when he retired from his first career as a professor of chemical engineering (and longtime department chairman) at the University of Washington. His specialties there were fluid mechanics and heat transfer. Sleicher contends that chemical engineering and photography use “completely different parts” of his brain. His work has been featured in National Geographic, Nature’s Best Photography, Sunset, and many other magazines and calendars; he is represented by a stock photo agency, and he still leads photo safaris in Africa. He admits to slowing down a little—endurance and balance are the challenges he feels at 93—but he is still deeply immersed in the art, and adventure, of photography. The adventure began with the gift of a Brownie camera when he was 10 years old. His family spent summers in the Adirondack Mountains, and he began to take nature photographs. In high school, he set up his own darkroom. In 1944, when Sleicher graduated from Brown University and went into the Navy, he bought a Leica, which he kept “for decades.” But those decades—as he earned his doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan and pursued his 30-year career as a professor at the University of Washington—kept him too busy to pursue photography as seriously as he would’ve liked.


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In 1971, Sleicher, his wife Jan (who passed away in 2008), and his two children lived in Nairobi, Kenya, for a year while he studied the effect of pesticides on the environment. The Kenyan government gave them a free pass to all the national parks. They bought a VW bus and spent as much time camping in wildlife areas as they could. Sleicher’s hope was that someday, he would come back and concentrate on photographing the landscapes, animals, and birds of Africa. Since retirement, he’s made 10 trips. On most journeys, he sees at least 150 different species of birds; on one trip, he saw 240. On another, he saw 17 different species of eagles. Sleicher can’t imagine his life without photography. He says that when he retired, he studied woodcarving for two years, but then decided he had to choose. He chose photography because it would mean many more opportunities for travel and adventure. He began by taking classes with several photographers, including renowned nature photographer Art Wolfe, who lives in Seattle but spends most of his time taking pictures and leading safaris and workshops around the world. Sleicher went digital “early on,” when Canon came out with a ninemegapixel camera in 1999. Photoshop is “like the darkroom,” he says: You’re taking the photo you snapped in the field and developing the digital image into a “real image.” A work of art. What keeps Sleicher going? That continual search for “the beautiful and the unusual.” It gives him “great pleasure,” he says, when he finds it. Which he does: again and again. www.3rdActMag.com

Into Africa



What do you say when a renowned photographer you’re sitting next to at a dinner party turns to you and asks if you’d like to join him on an African safari next year? That question and my enthusiastic “yes” kicked off a year of planning and preparation. On January 29, we landed in Tanzania, reuniting with Charles Sleicher who’d organized the entire trip, and a group of nine other friends, new and old, to begin a two-week safari. Remarkable, inspiring, and at times challenging— words cannot fully describe the majesty and humbling awe we experienced on our memorable trip. Going to Africa was a bucket-list trip for David and me; our good fortune in being able to take this journey with Charles and our friends made it even better. So, if you’ve been putting off one of your bucket-list trips, let this be an inspiration for you. Say “yes” to yourself and go. You won’t regret it. SEE MORE PHOTOS ON THE NEXT PAGE Aging with Confidence

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Our group at Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Top row from left: Dwight Reed, Moses (Guide), Chuck and Sandy Leicester, Allen (guide), Tesha (guide) – Bottom row: Charles Sleicher, Eileen Birge, Terri Reed, David & Victoria Marshall, Mark Boyd and Nancy Lomneth, Randy Suhr & Jo Shilling, Hussein (guide)


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Resilience on the Golden Wings of Community BY ASHLEY T. BENEM

Nothing quite says community like a house fire. I mean it. What comes to mind when I say house fire? We see images of bucket brigades, the Red Cross, teams of firefighters working in tandem. We see neighbors out in the streets in their pajamas offering everything from blankets to water to hugs. Leave it to a few overly motivated church ladies and that family will have everything from bedding to clothing and furniture donated and gathered in a matter of days to nearly outfit a new home. Let’s face it, here in America, we “do” trauma really well. When natural disasters or a house fire happens, we know how to pull together like a well-oiled machine to support a family in need. I don’t know about you, but I want to live in a community that knows how to be that kind of resilient. The strength of a community is grounded in its resilience— its ability to adjust to and overcome a variety of challenges. We are literally hardwired to help, with an innate yearning for a sense of being useful. And the wonderful thing about helping is that you feel better for doing it and the person you are helping feels gratitude for it, too. It’s a win-win for both parties. But without a natural disaster at hand, we rarely have a way to be truly helpful at a time of need. We live in isolated homes and lives, and our culture has become so specialized in everything we do, that we tend to think very little of our own effectiveness. We don’t know how to help. The perfectly placed wrench in your community’s cog can create an incredible opportunity for members to practice rising to the occasion. It gives ample chances to offer small nuggets of support based on your capacity at the time. Death is always a wrench in somebody’s works. No matter how long you’ve known it was coming,

Aging with Confidence

it’s still a shock and a logistical challenge. When you activate your community after someone has died, or even while a loved one is in their dying journey, you give countless people a chance to feel good by helping. You are helping them as well as yourself. So reach out in your time of need. Solicit help for grocery shopping, meal preparation, yard work, errands, selling the old car, sorting items for the estate sale and charitable donations, and more. When you set up a bouquet chain for a family to receive fresh flowers every week for the next three months, you are cheering them as much as you. See websites including caringbridge.org and mealtrain. org to organize help. The burden is easier when shared. We yearn to be “put on a team.” We’ve just gotten out of practice on how to get there. Having a vigil before or after the death of a loved one—or hosting a wake—provides an incredible opportunity for your family and your community to rise like a phoenix out of the ashes of loss and fly. We certainly fly with more ease when we do it in the lovely formation of a flock. Ashley T. Benem is the founder of the non-profit A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service and the creator of the Art of Death Conference. She is an advocate for palliative and end-oflife care issues, empowering and supporting families to reclaim their right to die in congruence with their lives. Contact Ashley at asacredpassing@gmail.com.

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Are You Ready for the Show? by Dr. Douwe Rienstra

Baseball players call the big leagues “the Show.” Do your job well enough in Triple A, and you might be called up to the major league; you might make it into the Show.


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hey call it the Show because at its heart, Major League Baseball is entertainment. But underneath the entertainment, baseball calls for solid skills in batting, fielding, running, and knowing what to do when the ball comes your way. Here’s a little story that illustrates what I mean. Years ago, we picked someone from a large pool of applicants to train as our new receptionist. She was eager to start, happy to have been chosen, and showed up the first morning at 8:30. Anyone who works as a medical receptionist can tell you how busy and complicated the job is, and how little time there is to dawdle over coffee. This newcomer watched the current receptionist expertly juggle various tasks all morning—then she called us over the lunch hour to let us know she wouldn’t be coming back. We laughed, making little jokes along the lines of, “Well, I guess she hadn’t understood there was actual work involved.” To be fair, she did us a favor to let us know right away this wasn’t going to work. She had seen our Show and decided she wasn’t ready for our humble form of major league activity.

What Are You Willing to Live For? Sometimes people ask, “What are you willing to die for?” I’d turn this around and ask, “What are you willing to live for?” Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr.—we remember the many people who gave their time and their lives for the common good. Muhammad Ali made every effort to become the best heavyweight boxer in the world. He gave his time, his energy, and—ultimately, as Parkinson’s disease progressed—his life. But billions of people have given their time and their lives in less visible ways. The Show doesn’t always play out on a big-league ballfield. It has played out in any place you can imagine, at any time in history, from the serfs of the Middle Ages to the slaves in the cotton fields of the South. For some, the Show played out in the trenches of World War I or in the coal mines of Appalachia. Whatever your script, it has involved challenges. As the blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo once said, “What the imagination could never conjure, reality delivers with a shrug.”

Aging with Confidence

Choosing Your Script Sports offer an easy script: Score more runs than the other team. But everyday life is rarely so simple. We consult our head and our heart; we choose the role we will play; and then, whatever our time and place and situation, we choose how fully to throw ourselves into that role. “All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare. But in our lives, the blood and the tears are real. Think of the people you know who’ve been given a terminal diagnosis. Some feel the best approach is to think positively and never give in, to the point their doctors feel pressured to never give up, to perhaps never even discuss the possibility that the illness might be incurable. Others assess the poker ha nd d i f ferent ly and play the cards as they feel best after consulting their doctors. Some people, when they see the end approaching, voluntarily abstain from medicine, food, and drink until death takes them. As I watch the Show here in Port Townsend, I see people choosing many different paths. In every circumstance I do my very best to take care of them.

Sometimes people ask, “What are you willing to die for?” I’d turn this around and ask, “What are you willing to live for?”

The Greatest Show on Earth We are facing enormous problems in our country and the world today. The Show needs us all. While few of us will ever play in Seattle’s big-league ballpark, as long as we live, we can copy the guidelines of those who do: • Work on your basic skills every day. • Listen to the coach. • Follow the rules. • Always give your best performance. • Help and cheer on your teammates. • Smile and wave at everyone else. Dr. Douwe Rienstra practices family medicine at the Rienstra Clinic in Port Townsend. You can read his newsletter, “Medicine for People!”, at rienstraclinic.com/newsletter.

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MARS Water streams from the top of my of our basset hound’s big feet on head down my back to my heels, our wooden floors, my husband then swishes down the drain. My shouting “Jerks!” at the broadcast curly hair lies flat and soaking news, the rumble of a trash truck, wet in the well of my collarbones. the squeal of school bus brakes The hot shower lifts the chill of across the street. Navy blue silence this late March morning in New every morning outside this village. BY SUSAN RAVA England. I scrub my legs, using my How does spring come here in Hopkinton, I ask grandsons’ white washcloths and towels, stacked in myself. I’ve seen no buds, no daffodil leaf tips, no the bathroom closet ready for their homecoming when forsythia. Ellen has healed. I tilt my head back to catch the water on my face. I hear a deep female voice say, “Mars.” Green apple shampoo and Dove soap smell like a I jump, startled. Blink. Peek naked out the side of the new season. shower curtain. No one. On the sink top my toothbrush My grandsons’ nav y-blue shower cur tain and hand lotion, my hairclips and makeup displace the closes me in a silent world. I hear no sirens in the boys’ superhero toothbrushes and strawberry-flavored Massachusetts countryside, no morning talk show on toothpaste. My grandsons are staying with their father the radio, no sound from my 42-year-old daughter, as I care for Ellen. Ellen, asleep across the hall with a pillow pressed to “Mars,” the voice says again. the incision along the bottom of her rib cage, the site I turn in the shower. My shoulder bumps the curtain. of her liver surgery. It responds, In the deep blue quiet, I clean my body with its own “Mars.” scars for the day ahead of cheering, fetching, bending, Oh my God, oh my God. It can’t be the curtain. cooking to lure Ellen to eat something, anything—split I have never heard of. . . of what? pea soup or chicken salad, please eat because you are I turn off the water, timidly push the curtain to the my precious oldest daughter and so very thin now. And side, try to step out without touching it. My toe bumps it is so quiet here. I miss the morning noises from my the bottom hem. urban house in the heart of St. Louis with the sound “Pluto,” the voice says now.

A Mother’s Journey into the Unknown


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Standing at a distance, I throw a towel over my head, and stare at the curtain. Planets with their rings and moons and even the Milky Way cover its dark vinyl surface. In the upper right corner, I glimpse a pocket with a battery. I yank the curtain just to see what will happen. “Mars,” comes the voice. And here I am, weeks into my daughter’s recovery, far from my own Midwestern planet, far away in an orbit of healing and health, a new universe that reminds me every morning that my children always and forever bear me to places I have never traveled before. This new galaxy—not light years away in the heavens but deep in the innards of my child—is my home for now. I have journeyed here unwittingly as a doctor’s voice intones places stranger to me than Mars or Venus, Jupiter, or Pluto. Hemangiomas, dim lungs, discectomy, hematocrits, and biliary tree—too foreign to grasp, too frightening to search on the Internet, on those caregiving days when a doctor asks me to simply reject or accept a new protocol. I pray a prayer I have just learned: Dear God, please let there be stable vital signs. I voyage into this galaxy beyond galaxies, into the pitch-dark universe of my child’s illness, into the depths of powerlessness, into the black hole of despair. Then a navy-blue morning voice—ignorant of my morning shower ritual to ward off the evil of illness—that voice breaks through my drying myself with an unbidden “Mars.” I laugh and answer, “Can you fly me there? Please.” Spring creeps in here in New England. Susan Rava, a former French teacher, lives and writes in St. Louis. She is the author of Swimming Solo: A Daughter’s Memoir of Her Parents, His Parents, and Alzheimer’s Disease (Plateau Books). “Mars” was first published in The Lindenwood Review.

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Kitap’s Beachfront Retirement Community 1600 NW Crista Shores Ln Silverdale WA 98383 info@cristaseniors.com cristaseniorliving.org


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From One Island to Another

How I reinvented my life in my late 50s and found a wonderful new world on Vashon Island BY EMILY HERRICK


ollow your gut. Trust your instincts. Listen to your intuition. These are variations of a concept we’ve all heard about. For many years, I’ve said, “The only times I’ve regretted anything were when I didn’t follow my gut.” My husband, Michael, and I thought we were lifelong New Yorkers until an article in The New York Times changed that forever. The profile of a dairy farmer living on an island near Seattle mentioned that he had a book coming out soon. One of the traditions that my husband and I have developed over the years and hold dear is that of my reading a food-related book out loud to him many evenings after dinner. We agreed to try this book, Growing a Feast by Kurt Timmermeister, for our next read-aloud. One morning a couple of days into reading the book, Michael said these innocent but fateful words to me casually over breakfast: “What about where that guy lives?” “What guy?” I asked. “The guy in the book we’re reading,” he replied. Michael had become intrigued by Timmermeister’s descriptions of his farm on Vashon. Together, we googled “Vashon, WA,” and within minutes, we were both exclaiming “Wow—this place looks like it would be perfect for us! Artists, writers, foodies, farmers… 20 minutes from Seattle… let’s check out the


3rd Act magazine | spring 2018

housing market just for fun…” Michael went off to work and I went on Zillow, where I found a house that had been on the market one day—“a sign, for sure,” I thought. I picked up the phone and had a chat with a lovely real estate agent who told me, “If you’re serious about looking at this house, you’re going to have to fly out here this weekend. I’ve been in real estate here a long time, and I can pretty much guarantee you that house will be sold by Sunday.” Without giving it a second thought, I hung up the phone and booked two flights to Seattle for that Friday evening. There were eight offers on the house, and ours wasn’t accepted. Undaunted, we were back six weeks later, and our agent showed us a number of properties, none of which excited us. At the end of the day, she said, “I think that’s all I’ve got, guys.” Then she paused and said, “Oh, wait, I just remembered one more.” It’s hard to describe the feeling both Michael and I had when she showed us this property, but the way I recall it, the hairs stood up on the backs of our necks. This was the one: an untouched, wooded 5.3 acres at the end of a short, level dirt road, with partial views of Puget Sound. It had the peace and serenity we craved.


While there were times it felt as if this dream was far off, we are grateful every day that we are finally living in and enjoying our beautiful home and studio.

That summer was a blur: Listing and selling our house on the East End of Long Island, New York, then saying goodbye to friends and all our larger possessions for an indefinite period of time was quite stressful. The crosscountry trip with our two labs in the back seat of Michael’s 2007 Buick was an adventure through what Michael called “the geography of nowhere,” most towns looking much the same as the ones before them, with the same big-box stores, fast-food joints, and chain motels. Compelling us forward was our excitement for our new life in what we saw—and still see—as the best of all worlds. Vashon Island has rural beauty; a small, close-knit, creative community of about 11,000 people; and proximity to a fun city. Five furnished rental houses and more than two years later, we were finally reunited with our possessions on January 30, 2017. One of our precious labs passed suddenly on election night 2016 and never lived in the new house. But we buried her ashes near the front door with the belief that her spirit guards the house, just as she did in life. Here are some of the takeaways I’ve learned on this journey of the past several years: • Follow your gut. Trust your instincts. Listen to your intuition. They will never fail you. • Take risks that feel right, unapologetically. Your life is yours and you don’t need to justify your choices, especially over age 50.

Aging with Confidence

• There is no commodity more precious than time; make the most of it. • Be kind to and gentle with yourself, more than ever during a time of transition and transformation. We are often our own harshest judges, and that is no way to take care of yourself. • Prioritize how you want to feel and your own self-care and self-love. By doing this, you will bring your full potential self to the world and make a difference for others. • Stay receptive to opportunities that come your way. Be open to the idea that things may work out differently than you imagined. • Finally, dream big and add the phrase “or something even better” to the end of each dream. I’ll close with two of my favorite quotes, both from Joseph Campbell: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” Emily Herrick is a yoga teacher and wedding celebrant who lives on Vashon Island with her husband, Michael, and two lab mix rescue dogs. Emily also works as a key account coordinator for Yin Yang Naturals, a natural and organic food broker, and Michael is a para-educator at Chautauqua Elementary School on Vashon Island. Emily’s website is unionvashon.com. This is adapted from a chapter she wrote for a book called Having It All at Fifty Plus (Lovely Silks Publishing).

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Feels Like Home to Me BY SALLY FOX

The quest for home is a pull that lives deep within us, beyond any attachment to a physical place. Following my mother’s move into a cheery, small room in an assisted living unit, she started having moments of delusion. When I’d arrive at her room, she’d be waiting with the news: “I have to get ready. I’m going home tonight.” Wanting to understand her, I’d ask, “Where’s home, Mom? Is it your old apartment in independent living?” She’d shake her head “no.” Your house with Dad in Seattle? “No.” Our childhood home in Connecticut? Another shake. Your home with your parents? “No.” Wondering if she might be in touch with a religious sense of home, I’d continue, “Are you going home to the Maker, Mom? Going home to God?” Again, she shook her head “no.” She could never say where she was going. But she was yearning for something, and that led me to ask myself the question: Where do we find home? Does home live in the crackle of a fireplace or the smell of hot chocolate? Is it in a dinner of roast turkey, or fried chicken and collard greens, dal with red chutney, or grilled kufta kebabs? Is it in children laughing, grandfather leading a prayer, a porch swing, or an open front door?


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Does home live in our memories? Or, if you grew up in a house of violence or abuse, can it live in your hopes and longings, in what you hope to create for yourself or your children? Home is more than a place. It’s a deep, primal yearning for safety, for familiarity, and for a feeling of being welcomed, appreciated, and loved for who we are. It lives in the past, in the future, and in our desires for today. Home is about the feelings and qualities we long for, not just for a roof and walls. When I first went to summer camp, I had terrible homesickness and wanted to return to the familiar comfort of my family and house. But when I discovered the joys of swimming, crafts, and songs around the campfire, I began to feel at home with my new friends. Home shows up in song lyrics as a theme second only to love. Sometimes it lives in a sweet, sad longing, as when Linda Ronstadt sang about wanting to leave her loneliness and find her way back home in Randy Newman’s Feels Like Home. Sometimes home is described as the place, like heaven, where we can leave our earthly troubles and pains behind. Paul Robeson sang about it in William Arms Fisher’s Going Home, written in 1922: www.3rdActMag.com


“Goin’ home / Goin’ home / I’m a-goin’ home / Quiet like, some still day / I’m just goin’ home/ It’s not far / Just close by / Through an open door / Work all done, care laid by / Goin’ to fear no more.” Even the more secular songwriter Leonard Cohen, a practicing Buddhist, wrote his version of “Going Home” in his 70s, just a few years before he died. He sang about returning to a better place, where he could shuck the burden of his identity and be free of “the costume that I wore.” Whether or not we believe in the possibility of a sweet welcome on the other side of this life, home is a feeling we can cultivate now. We can make our communities feel more homelike by forgoing our cars and discovering our neighborhoods anew by walking and talking with people. We can make our houses homey by shaping cozy or sacred spaces and creating rituals and special celebrations to fill our rooms with warmth, laughter, and conversation. We can discover our home in the natural world by walking slowly, allowing ourselves to feel the wonder of nature’s beauty. Aging Agingwith withConfidence Confidence

Most importantly, we can find home within ourselves by cultivating stillness, calm, peace, and acceptance. Meditation, contemplation, and sitting are all techniques for this. Often, I’m too agitated to go directly into a silent meditation, so I put on a piece of evocative music, sit, and drop into my feelings. As my heart swells, I sense a deep longing for the eternal and discover a place in my core that wants nothing more than to give and receive love. This, for me, is home. As we find our inner sense of home, we can spread out a welcome mat for others. In today’s world, too many people have been forced to flee their homelands because of war, poverty, and natural disasters. They yearn for home, especially because they know they may never be able to return to their lands. When we meet a refugee, immigrant, or stranger in our communities, why not reach out and find a way to say, “Welcome. We’re happy you’re here. You’re safe. You’re wanted. You’re home.” Sally Fox, owner of Engaging Presence, is a coach and writer who helps individuals develop and craft compelling stories. She writes about following your creative calling after midlife. Find her blog at engagingpresence.com and listen to her podcasts at 3rdActMagazine.com.

spring 2018

Red, white, or blue 1. Redcoats 2. Whitewalls 3. Blueprint 4. Redeye 5. Blueberry 6. White cap 7. Blue fin 8. Whiteout 9. Redwood 10. Blue jay 11. Blue blood 12. Whitewash Par for the course 1. Parachute 2. Parakeet 3. Parka 4. Paraffin 5. Parasol 6. Partridge 7. Parchment 8. Parsnip 9. Parliament 10. Parody Anagrams 1. Please, As leep, Elapse 2. Lemons, Solemn, Melons 3. Capitol, Tropical, Optical 4. Darters, Traders, Starred, Retards 5. Dearths, Trashed, Hatreds, Threads, Hardest 6. Terrains, Retrains, Strainer, Restrain, Trainers 7. Cautioned, Education, Auctioned 8. Emigrants, Streaming, Mastering 9. Discounter, Reductions, Introduces

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Show Your Brain a Good Time with Show Tunes ON THE TOWN BY MISHA BERSON


“Alzheimer’s Patients’ Brains Boosted by Belting Out The Sound of Music.” Five years ago, headlines like this one from The Guardian newspaper garnered international attention and sparked some amusement. Could it actually lessen dementia if you made like Maria in the famous Broadway musical and belted out the lyrics to the opening song, “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”? Or, depending on your tastes in Broadway shows, if you sing a little something from Oklahoma! or The Phantom of the Opera? Or Rent?

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Well, quite possibly. The headlines referred to a four-month study in 2013 by George Mason University neuroscientists. They found that elderly residents with Alzheimer’s disease living in care facilities who took part in three 50-minute sing-athons of familiar show tunes each week did better on cognitive tests later. And in another study, researchers at Helsinki University in Finland learned that a 10-week singing course for dementia patients improved subjects’ mood, orientation, and certain types of memory. For those of us who are longtime fans of Broadway musicals, this isn’t such a surprise. Even if you can’t recall the name of your sister’s neighbor’s daughter-in-law, how come you remember all the words to Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes? And even when you’re just crooning in the shower, isn’t singing a mood picker-upper? Tacoma’s Rialto Theater


There is a growing mound of research that illuminates exactly how the brain processes and retains music differently than spoken language. According to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, just listening to your favorite songs or sonatas can brighten your day and perk up your alertness. Joining in the chorus adds another positive, active dimension. Broadway musicals aren’t for everyone. But stories studded with songs, humor, romance, and razzamatazz have been a popular national pastime for over a century. They’ve contributed most of the numbers in the so-called Great American Songbook—standards ranging from “Some Enchanted Evening” and “The Music of the Night” to “Send in the Clowns.” Each generation has favorites. (Today’s youth are listening repeatedly to songs from the cast recording of the current hit musical Hamilton on their digital devices.) Apparently, you can please your brain by singing along, performing, or just regularly taking in musical productions. Lucky for us, the Seattle region produces many commendable live versions of toe-tapping musicals with tunes that can stick to your noggin. Here are a few coming up this spring at theaters around the Sound: KISS ME, KATE. Broadway meshes with Shakespeare in this sparkling show that follows a divorced (but still fond) couple backstage and onstage as they star in a dance-garnished musical version of the Bard’s romantic comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. A splashy mounting at 5th Avenue Theatre will feature some of the top musical theater talent from Seattle and Broadway. Top Tunes: The score by Cole Porter is filled with great ones, including “Too Darn Hot” and “Wunderbar.” April 6-29 at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. Info: 5thavenue.org or 206-625-1900. HAIRSPRAY. Adapted from a John Waters movie comedy, this nimble show melds campy 1960s nostalgia with civil rights protests in an ebullient tale of a plump teenager’s campaign to gain acceptance, and later to help racially integrate a TV dance party show. The original version had its world premiere in Seattle before conquering Broadway. The Village Theatre will present this rouser at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah and at the Everett Performing Arts Center. Aging with Confidence

Top Tunes: The Marc Shaiman-Scott Wittman score spoofs and celebrates ’60s pop and Motown music in such catchy songs as “You Can’t Stop the Beat” and “Run and Tell That.” May 10-July 1 in Issaquah, July 6-29 in Everett. Info: villagetheatre.org or 425-392-2202. MY FAIR LADY. This Broadway classic, based on G.B. Shaw’s 1913 play Pygmalion, never goes out of style. It tells the story of a flower-seller in Edwardian London who gets a makeover from a phonetics professor who can’t help succumbing to her feisty charms. Broadway will present a new revival this season, and Tacoma Musical Playhouse plans its own version this spring. Top Tunes: “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” are stand-outs in the witty, melodious Lerner and Loewe score. May 18-June 10 at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. Info: tmp.org or 253-565-6867. THE PAJAMA GAME. A Broadway musical about a fight between the union workers and their bosses in a pajama factory? It may have sounded far-fetched, but the show remains a delight, filled with quirky characters, great ensemble numbers, and a sexy will-they-or-won’tthey romance between management and labor. Top Tunes: The ballad “Hey There” and the deliciously bawdy novelty tune, “Hernando’s Hideaway.” May 18-June 3 at Federal Way’s Centerstage Theatre. Info: centerstagetheatre.com or 253-661-1444. Misha Berson writes about the arts for The Seattle Times and many other publications, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).

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The tyrannical self tires of the uncompromising honesty of a true home.

It is the resting place from impermanence, asylum for authentic conversation,

In the end we give away everything that saps our energy.

for reconstructing heaven, for unraveling from the world.

At the window the feminine moon is slowing down, and at the sink

Our pots and the art that moves us are only the archeologist’s proof of

we survive our mistakes, our grief, our joy, with robust

existence, of how long the apprenticeship lasts until we surrender.

celebration, the door open the kettle on.

Judith Adams is an English-born poet living in the US since 1976.She has published four books of poetry and recorded several CDs of her work. Judith has been selected for the Washington State Speakers Bureau for 2017-18.





3rd Act magazine | spring 2018



Older Americans are changing the way we work, live, play, and age. Here are two new books from Seattle-area authors who are on the vanguard of these transformations.

Enlightened Aging

BY ERIC LARSON M.D. AND JOAN DeCLAIRE It’s been half a century since chants of “power to the people,” and decades since women first turned to Our Bodies, Ourselves to take greater control over health decisions. Enlightened Aging makes the case that it’s time for older adults to be “activist agers” in the same spirit that prevailed in our youth. The good news is we are living several years longer than our parents’ generation, and we’re healthier in many key ways including higher educational attainment and lower rates of smoking. The bad news is that rising rates of obesity-related disability and chronic illness might drain the life from those added years. This book encourages readers to build mental, physical, and social reserves we can call on as we age. Dr. Eric Larson is the ideal messenger for this prescription, as a practicing internal-medicine physician and the leader of the world’s longest-running study of aging among “real world” people. The Seattle-based Adult Changes in Thought study has generated such landmark findings as the observation that people who exercise three or more times a week have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk for developing dementia, and that even very frail people appear to benefit from gentle exercise. Yet Larson is also an aging realist. He encourages readers to be comfortable in our own skin, find contentment in the reality that life is finite, choose meaningful pursuits that we enjoy, and resist an over-medicalized life of intensive, invasive health care. Enlightened Aging is full of real-world examples of people (many of them from Washington state) who have succeeded in building a satisfying, resilient, and joyful old age.

Aging with Confidence

Retirement Reinvention BY ROBIN RYAN

“Live for now” may seem like a strange message from someone who made a living as a high-profile career counselor, but Robin Ryan is serious. After battling breast cancer— while simultaneously seeing two friends die of cancer in their early 50s— Ryan is insistent that older adults make every day

memorable and worthwhile. Some of your best days, as many as 9,000 of them, are still ahead of you once your career winds down, she notes. But just as you planned for success in your earlier life, you need to plan for a successful retirement. For one thing, for a host of reasons from financial to social to longer lifespans, retirement will probably include work. Ryan advocates for a new, transitional career phase she calls “retirement reinvention” in which people choose work—paid or volunteer—that is enjoyable, meaningful, and leaves lots of time for the hobbies and bucket-list leisure goals that have traditionally defined retirement. Ryan includes plenty of anecdotes about people who’ve reinvented their retirement. Many of them are from the Puget Sound region, including Victoria and David Marshall (yes, the publishers of this magazine). By reading their stories and completing checklists that are both fun and thought-provoking, you, too, will get a sense of how to reimagine the rest of your life.

Correction: In the winter 2018 issue, we reviewed Walking Washington’s History. Author Judy Bentley wrote to thank us but noted “the Ruth Kirk you quoted did not die last summer; she is alive and well. She is in her 90s but still going strong in her support of other writers and of regional history. In fact, she always makes a good interview.”

spring 2018

| 3rd Act magazine 63

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

Red, white, or blue (easier)

All of the answers in this word definition game contain the words red, white, or blue. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

What British soldiers were called in colonial America. ________________________________________________ Automobile tires considered stylish in the 1920s and ’30s.________________________________________ An architect’s design plan or technical drawing. ________________________________________________ Nickname for a late-night cross-country flight. ________________________________________________ This fruit is great in muffins.________________________ An ocean wave with a foamy top.____________________

7. A gourmet type of tuna.____________________________ 8. A blizzard with zero visibility.________________________ 9. The tallest known trees on Earth, native to California and Oregon._____________________________________ 10. A common backyard North American bird, it is often noisy and aggressive.___________________________________ 11. A person of noble birth.____________________________ 12. A deliberate concealment of a person’s mistakes or faults to make him look better or to clear her name. ________________________________________________

Par for the course (harder)

All of the answers in this word definition game begin with the letters PAR. 1. Emergency wear for a test pilot._____________________ 2. Common house pet called a budgie in England and Australia.________________________________________ 3. The Eskimo word for this winter wear is anorak. ________________________________________________ 4. Candles are usually made of this waxy substance. ________________________________________________

7. In ancient times, this material made from animal skins was used as paper. Today, the more common version is made from vegetable pulp and is often used in baking.


8. This root vegetable looks like a white carrot. ________________________________________________

5. An umbrella-like device that protects the user from the sun._________________________________________

9. The House of Lords and the House of Commons make up this legislative body in England. ________________________________________________

6. Although this bird nests on the ground, it’s possible you’d find one roosting in a pear tree.________________

10. To imitate a work with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect._____________________________________

Anagrams (hardest)

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

1. Please (2)

__________________ _____________________

2. Lemons (2)

__________________ _____________________

3. Capitol (2)

__________________ _____________________

4. Darters (3)

__________________ _____________________ ____________________

5. Dearths (4)

__________________ _____________________ ____________________ ____________________

6. Terrains (4)

__________________ _____________________ ____________________ ____________________

7. Cautioned (2) __________________ _____________________ 8. Emigrants (2) __________________ _____________________ 9. Discounter (2) __________________ _____________________ 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 2018



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