3rd Act Magazine – Winter 2017

Page 1


Make the Right Move Location, Situation, Community


Living Life as Art

Birds Some Fly North

Meet Evans and Mee

CRUISING SOLO Tips on Cruising Alone

THE SHOW WILL GO ON Seattle’s Leading Ladies on Aging


Who says we can’t keep up with our grandkids?

Forget about the cooking, the cleaning and the yard, and spend your life doing those things that fill you up and make you laugh.

Where Senior Living Comes Alive! Locally Owned and Operated since 2002

520 112th St. SW • Everett • 425.438.9080 GardenCourtRetirement.com



Aljoya Mercer Island (206) 230-0150 Aljoya Thornton Place (206) 306-7920 The Gardens at Town Square Downtown Bellevue (425) 688-1900 Ida Culver House Broadview (206) 361-1989

Enjoy a warm and vibrant lifestyle, a vast array of amenities, chef-prepared meals, rich programming, and exceptional care. Call today for a personal visit, or view testimonials and more at eraliving.com

Almost three decades of proud affiliation with

Proudly affiliated with


Ida Culver House Ravenna (206) 523-7315 The Lakeshore South Seattle (206) 772-1200 *

University House Issaquah (425) 557-4200


University House Wallingford (206) 545-8400

MESSAGE from the publisher

Losses and gains Big “L” and little “g.” That’s what it feels like sometimes—that as we grow older, the losses we suffer far outstrip the gains. We lose a beloved pet, a family member, a friend, mobility, health, or an election. A wise friend of mine said recently that the tendency to focus on loss is “a disease you can get when you get older, and you have to fight back!” How do we fight back? How about starting with the Serenity Prayer and remembering that we need to summon the serenity to accept the things we cannot change (acceptance), courage to change the things we can (activism), and wisdom to know the difference (grace). Jim Daly could have focused on his loss. He was a healthy 75-year-old

when an accidental graze from his dog’s tooth almost took his life. He survived sepsis, beat back despair, and gained community. His story, “Can’t Put My Finger On It,” inspires us to look at change and loss in a new light. A young, smart, black girl from Mississippi with a theatrical flair pushed back against “the crush of racial hatred and prejudice.” Now in her third act, Gloria Burgess uses music, poetry, and performance to fire up a new generation of leaders. We can turn losses into gains with a big “G.” Gains can take the shape of new travel adventures, as well as immersion in the arts, theater, and spirituality. What’s keeping us from trying a new sport, or picking up a sketchpad or paintbrush? In this issue we’ll meet skiers, actors, and artists (none of them young) fully embracing life. And we can, too. We can renew our commitment to take care of others and ourselves. We can move our bodies, eat healthy foods, stay engaged, grow, teach, learn, give. We can make new friends, declutter our lives, and transform the world one person at a time. We have tremendous power, experience, knowledge, and wisdom. Let’s use it. Some losses we accept, but others call us to action. Let’s get started!

“We have tremendous power, experience, knowledge, and wisdom. Let’s use it.”

3rd Act Magazine publishers Victoria and David Marshall actively embracing winter at Sun Peaks, British Columbia, Canada.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

OU R VI SI ON 3rd Act Magazine endeavors to inform, inspire, and entertain older adults. Our stories and articles challenge worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Aging is good, let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and let’s age together with confidence. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITORS Teri Thomson Randall, Julie Fanselow ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna, Gayle Fox ADVERTISING Kim Salzwedel DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall CONTRI BUTI N G WRITE RS Ashley T. Benem, Misha Berson, Shannon Borg, Gloria Burgess, Kyle Ciminski, Orla Concannon, Rebecca Crichton, Annie Culver, Jim Daly, Frances S. Dayee, Sally Fox, Hollis Giammatteo, Ann Hedreen, Jennifer James, Nancy Linde, Don McDonald, Kellie Moeller, Teri Thomson Randall, Richard Seven, Jo Shilling, Rick Steves, Liz Taylor, Karen Vogel COVE R PH OTOG R APHY Jeff Caven WRITE TO US 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320 3rd Act Magazine is published quarterly by Oshi Publishing, LLC. The opinions, advice or statements expressed by contributing writers do not reflect those of the editors, the publishers, or of 3rd Act Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice, or other content contained herein. Oshi Publishing, LLC makes no representation and, to the fullest extent allowed by law, disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied. The content published herein may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. Copyright 2017 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC 81 Canal Lane · Brinnon, WA 98320 360-796-4837 Email: info@3rdActMag.com For subscriptions and additional information, see us online at www.3rdActMag.com.


Have a new vision for 2017? So do we. There are plenty of reasons to take a new look at Hearthstone and Village Cove. New Pet Policy, New Refundable Options, New Pricing, New Leadership, and a New Attitude — just to name a few!

Call (206) 717-7475 or visit Hearthstone.org. Enjoy life at Green Lake with amazing walkability to everything you’ll ever want: restaurants, shops, cafés, yoga studios and more. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re living in a Life Plan Community that offers a full spectrum of health services, should you ever need them.

Green Lake

E 2nd Ave N

1st Ave NE

2nd Ave NE

1st Ave NE

Sunnysid Corliss Ave N

ke W ay nA N ve N



Gr ee n

W oo d



lvd aB






NE 65th St

Ave NE

6720 E Green Lake Way N • Seattle, WA 98103


One of Seattle’s best kept secrets in 62+ living.


e Ave N



6850 Woodlawn Ave NE


Location? Situation? Community? How to choose wisely. RICHARD SEVEN


ON IT When tragedy strikes, first

12 54

survive, then thrive. JIM DALY


Professional artists Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee on living the artist’s way. SALLY FOX


How about heading North for the winter? ANN HEDREEN


Vibrantly taking the stage in their third act. MISHA BERSON



Taking up art in retirement. LIZ TAYLOR

22 36

12 G IVING VOICE TO VALUES The benefits of friendships. REBECCA CRICHTON


A LOST ART Giving the gift of

a handwritten letter. FRANCES S. DAYEE


The process of decluttering. JENNIFER JAMES



We all need companions, allies, and advocates. ASHLEY T. BENEM

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine


LETTERS to the editor





RETIREMENT INVESTMENT SAFETY In retirement investments,

if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. DON McDONALD


Using the arts to create a bridge from what is to what can be. GLORIA BURGESS


How to avoid paying for two when when traveling alone. SHANNON BORG


Help with pressing questions on aging and transitions. KELLIE MOELLER


An insider’s hot tips on Seattle area arts events. MISHA BERSON


Shows and events you don’t want to miss.


Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.

ROOM Challenging cultural

stereotypes in travel and in life. RICK STEVES


Why Not Write Your Own? ANNIE CULVER


The health benefits of nature therapy. ORLA CONCANNON


Make the Right Move Location, Situation, Community



The robotic seal that is making us more human. TERI THOMSON RANDALL


HEALTHCARE How to become

your own health advocate. KAREN VOGEL

32 TRAINING FOR YOUR FUTURE Keep moving for a healthy heart. KYLE CIMINSKI


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

Living Life as Art

Birds Some Fly North

Meet Evans and Mees

CRUISING SOLO Tips on Cruising Alone

THE SHOW WILL GO ON Seattle’s Leading Ladies on Aging


Cover: Dwight and Terri Reed of Woodinville, and Shirley Caraway of Kirkland, spend their retirement winters in colder climes. Ski clothing and gear courtesy of Sturtevant’s, Bellevue. Photo by Jeff Caven.

Learning is Forever Lifelong learners will receive many benefits from the publication of 3rd Act. It fits our needs with many positive messages. We are involved in a lifetime learning organization here in Tacoma called Learning Is ForEver (LIFE). We are affiliated with Pacific Lutheran University. Thank you for providing a magazine that speaks so directly to our active senior population. — Gene & Dot Giannobile Tacoma

Thanks for the Resource I LOVE your magazine. As a social worker serving older adults—this is an awesome resource! I will happily share it with my folks. Thank you! PS. Do you know of anything similar in the Portland area? (Editor: Nothing in Portland yet, stay tuned!) — Lauren Sundby Providence Elder Place

Inspired Picked up a copy of your magazine in the Port Townsend Co-Op. What a wonderful magazine that speaks to this level of aging in a respectful, intellectual, and honoring manner— how refreshing! The articles are informative and inspiring. Love it and thank you for this subscription offering.

— Sherry Husfelt Port Ludlow

talk to us!

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

Live life Imagine living in a place where you’re connected to all generations, where you can be part of a vibrant community filled with people of all ages. Imagine knowing that you have all the extra help you need to stay independent and productive—and that more care is available if it is required. That is what you’ll find at Cristwood.  Independent Living  Assisted Living  Memory Care  Nursing Care  Respite Care  Outpatient Therapy Aging with Confidence


Call for a tour today: 206.546.7565

19303 Fremont Avenue N Shoreline, WA 98133


winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine


time to talk BY KELLIE MOELLER

“Sandwich Generation” typically refers to adults with children at home and aging parents. As we live longer, it also applies to adults who are grandparents themselves with parents in their 80s, 90s and beyond. Navigating and talking about the changing needs of everyone can be difficult, but necessary.


My husband and I are in our late 50s and starting to plan for retirement. I guess they call us the sandwich generation because we are caregivers for our aging parents and still support one of our three children who is still living at home and finishing college. We know there are financial considerations, but we are not sure what else we need to consider as we start to plan for future changes. What tips can you give us as we start this process?


George Patton once said, “A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.” The type of lifestyle you choose will be supported by your income and assets, so the first step is to meet with a financial professional who can help you map out your future. But assuming that you have your finances in order, the next steps require soulsearching and communication. Most of us have specific expectations of how our retirement years are going to unfold, and now is the time to talk with loved ones and do some research to find out if your plan will remain just a dream or become reality. Here are some recommended steps:

Kellie Moeller has worked in the senior housing industry in the Northwest for more than a decade. With an insider’s view and a passion for serving seniors, she gives a fresh perspective on aging. Email your questions to TimetoTalk@ 3rdActMagazine.com or mail your questions to Time to Talk, 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320.


• Health Expectations You may have heard the statistic that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans over age 65 will need long-term care. In a study by Genworth Financial, slightly more than half of all respondents reported that their greatest fear regarding a long-term care illness or event was being a burden on their family. In fact, they reported being five times more concerned about being a burden than about dying. These proactive steps can help: – Invest early in accessibility features in your house: stairless living spaces, walk-in showers and other safety features can lengthen your time in your home. – Consider the possibility of cognitive decline. Talk with family about how you want to be cared for should there arrive a day when you are not able to do so yourself. – Leave no guesswork for loved ones by having both a financial and health power of attorney in place.

• Future Expectations Take time as a couple to write out how you envision retirement. You may be surprised to find out that your spouse wants beachfront property in Mexico while you are hoping for the security of a retirement community in Seattle. This is a great opportunity to explore how you can meld the two dreams into one.

• Social Considerations Aging in place can feel like prison when you no longer drive, and contact with friends and family diminishes. How will you manage alone? In a 1998 Harvard School of Public Health study, researchers found that “social participation and integration have profound effects on health and well-being of people during their lifetimes. We know from previous studies that people with many social ties have lower mortality rates, and strong social networks can help to prevent declines in memory.

• Lifestyle Expectations Many retirees are shocked to discover that the value of their retirement assets may require living in a smaller space. Talk about what simplifying your life really means: smaller spaces, less material possessions, and maybe even a streamlined social life.

At a doctor’s appointment recently, the physician said, “My job is to get you to live to 100 years old.” With longevity in mind, the perfect retirement plan will necessitate forecasting, preparation, flexibility, and eventually modifying your plans to fit the circumstances. Take the time today to map out your dreams for tomorrow.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


Since 1958

See What Everyone’s Talking About! Our “rejuvenation” is complete and it’s the talk of the town! Come by for a visit soon to see our beautiful new look and feel. Let us show you why we’re the new leader in Eastside senior living.

Madison House

Independent & Assisted Living Community A Koelsch Senior Community

(425) 821-8210 12215 NE 128th Street, Kirkland www.madisonhouseretirement.com

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine




The Art Experiment BY LIZ TAYLOR

Liz Taylor, an eldercare specialist for 40 years, lives in the San Juan Islands, where she is semi-retired. She wrote a popular column on aging for The Seattle Times for 14 years, and has consulted with thousands of older adults and their families. Liz can be reached at lizt@ agingdeliberately.com.


FOR ALL THE YEARS I WORKED IN THE AGING FIELD, I wondered wistfully what it would be like to retire. No alarm clocks to beat into submission each morning, no lunches to pack, no racing to get everything done day and night. Instead, once the rat race ended, I figured I’d be able to hike or read or nap whenever I wanted. Retirement looked great. But I also knew that older people have the highest rate of suicide in America, and studies have consistently shown that older people are happier than any other age group. The yin and the yang of aging. Clearly, retiring well is more complicated than it seems. The three most important ingredients of successful aging—being socially active, eating nutritiously, and exercising—has to be part of my life in retirement, I felt sure. Having purpose and being mentally active are also critical. I retired gradually over a period of three years, filling my non-working hours with volunteer activities I’d never been able to fit in when I worked: serving on a couple of boards, helping out at school, volunteering in the library. I also never had the mental bandwidth to read books while I worked, and I began to read fiction and nonfiction voraciously. I joined a book group.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

And then, quite by lucky accident, I enrolled in an art class two years ago. At first it didn’t feel lucky. I had drawn and painted as a kid, but now I was painfully rusty. I forgot to do the homework the instructor assigned. But as the four weeks of classes passed (then another four weeks), I started getting the hang of drawing as a routine (important, I’ve learned, for making progress in one’s art skills). When classes ended, a participant invited everyone to her art studio to continue. I was the only one who took her up on it. Another lesson: you have to make time to do art—it’s not something you’ll do “someday” if you don’t force yourself to DO IT NOW. Many people wait for the magic moment and never get to it. I also had a mindset that enabled me not to worry about failing (unlike in my career). “This is all an experiment,” I told myself. “I can have fun!” I’ve tried different media—first #2 pencils, then colored pencils, then pastels—and I throw away what doesn’t work. As a journalist, I write very painstakingly—each word must be perfect, and writing one article can take weeks—but, thank goodness, I don’t agonize over my drawings like I do writing, and I love the rush of creating a drawing that’s good. I’m a literal person, so my drawings have mainly been realistic, but now I’m experimenting with impressionism (which lets me splash colors across a page and is so much fun). I’m still experimenting—and I have a portfolio (oh, my) of work to show for it. I’ve had two art shows. I have a wonderful mentor who pushes me forward (thanks, Ginny!). Certainly in this last third of my life, I’m discovering a creative joy and passion I didn’t know I had. www.3rdActMag.com

425.673.2875 | 728 Edmonds Way | Edmonds WA


Try our Adult Day Stay Program for as little as $10 per hour. No hourly minimum. As little as 30 minutes or up to a full day. Specialized disease focused activities. 3 home cooked meals. Individual care. ADULT DAY STAY | RESPITE CARE | LONGTERM CARE

Call us today to schedule a tour. 425.673.2875 Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 11




Rebecca Crichton is Executive Director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that topic in the Seattle area. She worked at Boeing for 21 years as a writer, curriculum designer, and leadership development coach. She has master’s degrees in child development and organizational development, and she is a certified coach.


IN HIS 1986 BESTSELLER Love, Medicine and Miracles, Dr. Bernie Segal asked patients if they wanted to live to be 100. He nudged those who answered “yes” without qualification, suggesting that living that long meant their friends and family might have died. Their response: “Then I’ll make new friends.” Segal took that as a positive sign for their survival. Segal was right: friends are good for us. Friendship can protect us from isolation and its accompanying depression—even from decreasing motor function. The research is incontrovertible: isolation from social connections has been compared to the danger of smoking 15 cigarettes a day! We know we are likely to lose friendships from earlier in our lives: friends from childhood, adolescence and college years; neighbors and colleagues; connections from raising our children. These friendships, like all deep relationships, are irreplaceable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t make precious new friends. Many older people spend time online, reconnecting with friends from the past and sharing with their virtual communities. While those are good ways to feel connected, they can take up many hours without providing the physical and emotional contacts that sustain us over time. Humans are wired for mutual companionship and affection—the in-person kind. When I asked my own friends what they looked for in a friend, I heard variations on the theme of acceptance and understanding: “Someone who ‘gets’ me and doesn’t judge me.” “Someone who shares my sense of humor.”

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

“Someone who is self-aware, who has worked to understand themselves and can be honest exploring who they are.” Personally, I look for people who listen well and are curious both about the world and about what can unfold as we get to know each other. One well-connected friend said that making friends takes focus, attention and energy. She recounts “picking up” a friend whose vibrational energy—her life force—looked interesting to her. Seeking out connections with people different from her, she has friends of different ages and ethnicities, varying spiritual traditions and cultures. “You can’t travel all the time,” she says, “but you can have friends who take you to new places.”

Growing real friendships requires honesty and intimacy, humor and patience, vulnerability and acceptance of ourselves and others. Consider these questions as you become intentional about making new friends: What do you want and need in a friend? What depth of connection do you seek? What do you value in a friend? Reflect honestly about yourself. What do you bring to the table as a friend? What interests and activities do you want to share? And what constraints exist that will affect the kinds of friends you can make and the mutuality you want to establish? Most of all, be open to what can unfold. Be willing to be surprised about what you can learn about yourself and another person as you get to know each other. What a gift it is to find a friend with whom to share interests, concern, compassion, and understanding. www.3rdActMag.com





HomePlace Special Care at Burlington Memory Care Homeplaceburlington.com

Edmonds Landing Assisted Living Edmondslanding.com

HomePlace Special Care at Oak Harbor Memory Care Homeplaceoakharbor.com









Bay Pointe Retirement & Memory Care Baypointeretirement.com

Where The Heart Is Assisted Living & Memory Care Whereheartis.com

The Terrace at Beverly Lake Memory Care Theterraceatbeverlylake.com

Clearwater Springs Assisted Living Clearwaterspringsseniorliving.com





The Bellingham at Orchard Memory Care Thebellinghamatorchard.com

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 13



Letter Writing


“I WROTE A DELIGHTFUL LETTER YESTERDAY,” my neighbor told me. A retired teacher, she was writing to congratulate a former student on his appointment to a prestigious position. With today’s written communication of emails and texts, letter writing is becoming a lost art. Words pop onto the screen and are deleted just as quickly. It feels so ephemeral. Less artful somehow. I remember looking forward to letters from friends and relatives around the states. We caught up on one another’s lives, births, deaths, jobs, vacations. Across space and time, we cried on one another’s shoulders, celebrated accomplishments. “I didn’t realize how important letters and cards were until I became ill,” a friend confessed. When her spirits got low she could revisit those tidings, a reminder of those who love and care for her. When I was young, we were encouraged to have pen pals. My teacher provided the names of children overseas, and some of those pen pals became lifelong friends. A letter is a legacy—a part of the writer exists within the words and sentences. If you and ten other people wrote about the same trip to the store, each person would write about it differently. Each person’s perspective of the trip, what was important to him or her at the time, will differ greatly. That is why sharing oneself with another in a letter is such an extraordinary and personal gift.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

The icing on the cake? Writing is healthy for the writer. We exercise our brain when we focus on our subject, search for the right words, put concepts together, delve into memories. And if we pen the letter, we’re employing fine motor skills. “I don’t have anything to say. My life is boring,” you might be thinking. It may be boring to you, but the receiver will be delighted to receive your missive, to glimpse a life different from his or her own. “I don’t have anyone who cares.” Go to the library or onto the internet and research snail mail pen pals. There is a plethora of potential recipients from global pen pals to snail mail lovers to pen pals for seniors. Or go to a rehabilitation center or retirement home and find someone who has no family. Share with them a small piece of yourself. My friend Clineene remembers what her mother called a “round robin letter,” which got passed from family group to family group, each family adding a bit of news before passing the letter along. Even though parents and siblings seldom saw one another, these letters helped them feel connected. And not only that, they had something tangible to hold in their hands and revisit, a legacy to hand down, one generation to another. Frances S. Dayee has taught manuscript critique classes for more than 16 years. Her expertise has guided published writers of both fiction and nonfiction. She wrote a monthly game page for The Trumpet and was a stringer for several publications. Frances has published three books, a column called Love and Popcorn for a Canadian magazine, and numerous nonfiction articles. Contact Frances at fsdayee@yahoo.com.


Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 15



The Illusion of

Retirement Investment Safety BY DON MCDONALD

Don McDonald has been the host of the nationally syndicated “Don McDonald Show” for more than 20 years and now co-hosts “Talking Real Money” with Tom Cock on Seattle’s KOMO radio Saturdays at noon (talkingrealmoney.com). Don also publishes the new investing magazine, Real Investing Journal (realinvestingjournal. com).


RETIREMENT IS A RELATIVELY NEW CONCEPT. At the end of the 19th century, the average American died before reaching age 50 and only 4 percent of the population was older than 65. Of that group, more than 70 percent remained in the workforce—most dying on the job. Today more than 15 percent of the U.S. population is older than 65, with 10 times more people living past age 85 than in 1900. It’s no wonder that ours is the first generation to head into our later years with a real sense of angst for the long-term future—as we are likely to have one. Over half of 65-year old women today will live to see age 85, and almost a third will celebrate their 90th birthday. That’s potentially a very long time to be without the income from a job. Our potential longevity is a big part of the reason for the dramatic growth in American retirement savings and investing over the past couple of decades. Yet many remain stuck in the discredited investment approaches of the past. Over the past fifty years, a wealth of financial data has allowed the creation of a branch of science devoted to studying investing, in particular, retirement investing. These academics have determined that there is no way to make money without taking risk. What about those incredible 10 percent interest rates on bank CDs back in 1980? Are you waxing nostalgic for those double-digit FDICinsured returns? Those rates were an illusion. In reality, your money lost 3.5 percent of its value to inflation that same year. Yearning for safe returns has led many to the perceived security of insurance policies and annuities. But even this safety comes at a hefty price. In many cases, you sign over your assets to

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

an insurance company that will take investment risks for its benefit. Should their investments perform poorly, most have clauses that can make you pay for their mistakes by increasing your premiums or decreasing your benefits. To add insult to potential future injury, these “safe” investment vehicles are often sold based on lies and obfuscation. The truth is buried in dozens—or often, hundreds—of pages of complex, befuddling disclosure documents. Take “indexed” annuity products. They are pitched as a way to “get the returns of the market, with no risk.” What they neglect to say is that you only get a percentage of the increase in the value of the index, up to a maximum amount, or “cap.” And no dividends. These aggressive salespeople also fail to disclose their astronomical commissions and massive surrender charge.

“Research tells us it is

impossible to grow our retirement investment without some risk.” Even immediate annuities—those that promise a lifelong income—can be misleading when they claim to offer a 5 percent or 6 percent annual return. What they mean is that you will be guaranteed an annual income at that percentage of your initial investment. An annual check for $60,000 on a $1 million annuity is not a 6 percent return. An investment that returned 6 percent would add $60,000 to your $1 million portfolio. The annuity chips away at your initial $1 million nest egg year after year. Yes, if you beat the odds and live another 30 years after taking out the annuity, you will have withdrawn $1.8 million. But if you only make it another 15 years, you’ve lost the bet with the insurance company. Research tells us that it is impossible to grow our retirement investment without some risk. Still, we can be smart investors who take control of our future by creating massively diversified global equity portfolios. This, combined with the right amount of short-duration, high-quality bonds, will help reduce overall volatility to a level that is in line with our needs and tolerance for risk.


Get in the Act! 3rdActMag.com TOGETHER, LET’S AGE WITH CONFIDENCE! VISIT US ONLINE TO: • Interact with us, our writers, and other readers • Share your favorite articles on Facebook or email • Read articles found only on our website • Access past issues and stories • View great videos • Listen to engaging Podcasts • So much more!

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 17



A Spoonful of Nature BY ORLA CONCANNON

AS THE GREEN REVOLUTION gives rise to non-polluting, environmentally sustainable industries such as clean energy, green building, and organic farming, so, too, it is furthering advancements in medicine and eldercare. “Nature therapy” and “horticulture therapy” have gained ground as natural approaches to health and healing. Have you considered how nature can directly affect your health? A Room with a View Despite being used for healing for thousands of years, nature-based therapies have gained significant attention only in the past several decades. In the 1980s, research conducted by Dr. Roger Ulrich, a leading environmental healthcare architect, revealed that hospital patients who were exposed to views

18 18

3rd Act magazine magazine || winter winter 2017 2017 3rd Act

of nature had shorter hospitalizations than those with views of brick walls. Around the same time, mental health professionals began to research Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a common type of depression related to the change of seasons, and identified light therapy as the treatment. Since that time, hospitals and rehabilitation centers have been using nature-assisted therapies to help patients with an array of issues from physical to mental. Nature Therapy Nature therapy involves reconnecting with wild animals and plants. According to a 2006 article in the British Journal of General Practice, nature-assisted therapies “tackle the obesity epidemic, prevent bullying, reduce attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder and improve concentration, self-discipline and self-esteem.” Nature therapy and farming are also used to help many individuals including veterans recovering in hospitals and children with learning deficiencies. Programs usually involve sensory experience such as touch and sounds of nature. Listening to bird songs, for example, was found to help a veteran suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Horticulture Therapy According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticultural therapy helps to reduce depression and improve memory, cognitive abilities, and socialization. People also experience improved dexterity as they get their hands in the soil. Researchers have also found that gardening helps to improve mood


Senior living communities have started to integrate therapeutic horticulture into their programs. In addition to the wellness benefits, residents enjoy a new sense of purpose while nurturing their gardens and growing life. Medicine for the Soul As Northwesterners, we are regaled with lush scenery by simply setting foot outside. If your needs change or you simply move into a new home, consider how you can integrate Mother Nature into your life. Is there natural sunlight and windows with views of nature? Can you garden throughout the year—either indoors or outdoors? Is there easy access to fresh air and safe paths? You can promote your wellness through the benevolence of Mother Earth—a resource that has been available since the dawn of time. In the words of Luther Burbank, the famous horticulturalist after whom Mercer Island’s park is named, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.”

An indoor garden by Eldergrow provides community residents year-round gardening.

and self-esteem. The New York University School of Medicine, for example, found that patients undergoing cardiopulmonary rehabilitation who participated in a horticultural therapy program experienced reduced blood pressure and elevated moods.

The cost of living keeps up. The costgoing of living The cost of living living The costgoing of keeps up. keeps going up. keeps going up. The cost of

Orla Concannon is the founder of Eldergrow, an innovative indoor garden company focused on helping older adults experience the benefits of therapeutic horticulture. She founded Eldergrow as part of her Healthcare Leadership Executive MBA Capstone for Seattle University. Eldergrow is now serving communities in Puget Sound and has expanded nationally. For more information visit eldergrow.org.

Transforming and Redefining Aging. Everyday.

The cost of The cost cost of The of your funeral your funeral your funeral funeral your doesn’t haveto. to. doesn’t to. doesn’t have

Call (206) 281-5744

doesn’t have to.

Schedule a tour, meet our residents and view our beautiful apartments. Ask for our special promotions.

We offer morethan mind. offer more than peace peace mind. WeWe offer more peaceofofof mind. Pre-plan now your cost will be Pre-plan now and your cost will be be We offer more than peace of Pre-plan now and your costmind. will lockedin. in. locked Pre-plan now and your cost will be locked in.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? A script? Star in a movie? Paint your masterpiece? Bayview is the perfect setting to make that a reality. Visit youtube.com/retireatbayview for our resident movies!

locked in.

Mills & Mills

Mills Mills Park Funeral Home & & Memorial

Funeral Home & Memorial Park TumwaTer TumwaTer Mills & Mills Mills Mills Funeral Home & Memorial MillsandMillsFunerals.com Funeral Home MemorialPark Park MillsandMillsFunerals.com TumwaTer 360-357-7743 TumwaTer


MillsandMillsFunerals.com MillsandMillsFunerals.com M3822_7560_6315_MillsMills_PNT_Value_2-9x4-9_C.indd 5/17/16 360-357-77431 360-357-7743

M3822_7560_6315_MillsMills_PNT_Value_2-9x4-9_C.indd 1

M3822_7560_6315_MillsMills_PNT_Value_2-9x4-9_C.indd 1

M3822_7560_6315_MillsMills_PNT_Value_2-9x4-9_C.indd 1

Aging with Confidence

A 62+ Nonprofit Life Plan Community 11 West Aloha Street | Seattle, WA 98119 Bayviewseattle.org

10:40 AM

5/17/16 10:40 AM

*Bayview Resident Allan

5/17/16 10:40 AM

5/17/16 10:40 AM

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 19



declutter your life BY JENNIFER JAMES

At about age 60, I began to notice multiple articles about downsizing, home safety tips, and being nice to one’s heirs. I decided to do it all myself before people who don’t know the history or value of my stuff take over.

Jennifer James has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and master’s degrees in history and psychology. She was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington Medical School. Jennifer is the founding mother of the Committee for Children, an international organization devoted to the prevention of child abuse worldwide.


I know I need to clean out the closets in my mind too. I learned early that if I took the time to sort through my possessions and my mind I was less anxious. Now I find it also reduces fatigue and regret. I started working on the house and other collections a little at a time. It was easier as a campaign than a forced march. When my mom moved to a retirement center she left the cleanup to me. I wore out. I stopped carefully sorting everything and started stuffing the piles of old clothes into bags. I mistakenly donated her Hawaiian mumu so when it was Hawaiian night at her new home I had to find her another. I didn’t know what was important to her. Paring down my own accumulations was disconcerting, despite my feelings of accomplishment. When I moved into my current home at age 50, it seemed very important to fill up the shelves and rooms. Growing up as a WWII baby in London, I had developed a fear of deprivation. All my things added up to safety, or so I thought. A friend once chided me because one of my kitchen drawers was full of cookies. She had grown up wealthy and had no thoughts of cookies as a sort of insurance. I did not realize what I was doing

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

until she laughed at my stash. When I sorted out my history I stopped hoarding cookies. It takes time to adjust to simplifying our lives. I packed away some things to see if I would miss them; so far I have not noticed their absence. I know a smaller house would have hidden the empty spaces and forced more decisions but I don’t want to leave my garden. My plan is to fill the house with roommates. It is hard to stop being a consumer; shopping was often a task that brought excitement and satisfaction. I remember as a graduate student being happy about a new box of tea. A new outfit signaled a future just as a new hat once cheered women. When you stop accumulating things, you drop one of our standard measures of success. At age 70 you may still be buying for children and grandchildren but rarely for yourself. You start asking your family to skip gifts. My special daughter-in-law and I used to send each other pajamas every year. Even though there is a compatibility between aging and pajamas, even that had its limits. I found an alternative shopping joy at Value Village, Goodwill, and the others. The entertainment was worth the $10 plus the senior discount. I discovered these places when buying clothes for my mother’s and my grandchildren’s changing sizes. I did finally establish some rules for my closet. I keep two boxes: donate, think about and penance. “Donate” is easy for business clothes and tight pants, “think about” is for clothes I have never worn and memory pieces, “penance” is another word for donate. Every one new garment I bring home requires two going into the boxes. I am committed to recycling. One of my favorite memories is seeing an aging streetwalker I had once helped wearing a flashy Easter outfit I gave her years ago. She was still flagging down cars. I looked around my garage and asked myself who could use


my gardening and sports equipment. I gave away the motorized lawn equipment this year when I finally had to hire a lawn service. The food bank got my stash of mac and cheese boxes that once fed grandchildren. It has a shelf life of 25 years. Another way to use stuff up is to consolidate and sort so you do not inadvertently buy more. Hoarding cleaning materials and cosmetics is not a good idea at age 70. Vinegar and moisturizers will always be available. If only I could use up everything before I check out. If only I could stop saving nails, screws, and small plastic parts. Decluttering made home maintenance easier and my home safer. It also forced me to clean up my memories and relationships. Our possessions have stories to tell, and these memories flood our minds and slow down the decluttering process. I began to think of these moments as Sandburg’s “fog” creeping into my mind “on little cat feet.” My collection of memories needed sorting. I now label some of mine “moth memories” because they seem to flit about my mind at dusk. There are also “shame shots” when an unbidden memory creates a visceral shock. Unpleasant memories can surprise me even when I am trying to sleep or just relaxing. They sometimes pop in at unguarded moments and change my mood. Some of my memories are from decades past. Why is that memory surfacing now? Yes, I did forget

Aging with Confidence

my lines in a school play, or more serious, I intentionally hurt someone. If some of yours are happy thoughts, good. If they are sad or painful ones, then it is time for memory boxes. My boxes are toss, replace, mitigate and penance. I have also learned how to switch from the “my mistakes” memory channel to the puppy channel. I’ll continue to share my ideas for sorting memories in another column, but if you haven’t started on your house or your history, then join me. I know it is not easy to sort a lifetime. I also know that when your home feels uncluttered and safe it is easier to clear your mind. Then you are free to receive the energy and pleasures of simple, and therefore profound, peace.

“decluttering made home maintenance easier and my home safer. It also forced me to clean up my memories and relationships.”

winter winter2017 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 21




wo years ago, Lavena Chapman retired and moved with her husband from Snohomish County to a home near Castle Rock, a rural burg about 10 miles north of Longview. They sought more space and a slower pace, and settled on two acres with a beautiful view of Mount St. Helens and the Toutle River Valley. But today they ponder whether to move again. Their property doesn’t have adequate access to the internet, there are no convenient or away-fromtraffic walking paths, no gym or medical center nearby, and the rifle shots that ring out in the area, especially during hunting season, can be unsettling. They also have an off-kilter neighbor who flouts land regulations and neighborly etiquette. Chapman, a positive person by nature, considers another move just fine-tuning, part


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

of the retirement journey. They likely wouldn’t move far and it helps, she says, that they pared their collection of stuff when they left Snohomish County. They travel light now. And she stresses that the current situation is hardly dire: “We have wonderful neighbors, a great house, a great view, nice property.” So how do we come as close as possible to the right move when we retire? Most of us stay put until moving is necessary, but others seek, even crave change. Change could be trading clogged urban traffic and nest egg-eating property taxes for the rural life in, say, Sequim or Port Townsend, or toward Portland. Or it could take the middle route, be it suburbia or a mid-sized college town like Bellingham or Pullman or Wenatchee that offers at least a dose



of culture. Or you could go small and move to a planned community or into a downtown condo. The better you pinpoint what makes you happy the more likely you will be able to find the right spot. Consider a range of factors, from finances to medical care access to social structure to what you want your life to feel like. You also need to keep an open mind because things will change. Maryanne Vandervelde, a Mercer Island psychologist and author of the book Retirement for Two, suggests taking a holistic view. “Consider both people and things before you relocate in retirement,” she says. “What people are most important to me, and how will this move change these relationships? How do I plan to make new relationships? What things are most important to me; size and type of housing, my environment, costs? What things have brought me happiness in the past, and what things are likely to help meet my goals in the future?” Below are some ideas to consider. (And if you have a mate, be prepared to compromise.)

KNOW THYSELF What matters to you? Need to be around people or looking for privacy? Crave a network? Yearn for the excitement and challenge of making new friends or do you want to stay with your established circle? Partners can be at odds when it comes to social life and it can strain the relationship so have a frank talk with your mate before moving. And whatever happens, give your loved one some space. “Find ways to compromise so that each of you gets most of what you want, and get professional help if you cannot resolve issues on your own,” Vandervelde says.

FINANCES Can you afford the move? Think about not just the cost of the house or condo, but upkeep, taxes, fees, and the everyday prices in the community.

City or country? Urban living and rural communities each have their own unique appeal, drawbacks, and advantages.

Various news organizations and websites compile lists of “best places” complete with rankings. Their criteria and conclusions might not match yours, but they raise valuable issues to consider. Sequim, known for its sun and senior-friendly lifestyle, remains atop lists of most researched retirement locations. The San Juan Islands, Bellingham, Port Townsend, Spokane, and Seattle seem popular, too. A marketing company recently released its 25 most livable cities nationally. Kirkland, Bellevue, and Olympia made the list. HERE ARE LINKS TO JUST A FEW: • www.livability.com/wa • www.topretirements.com/state/ washington.html • www.aarp.org/home-family/livablecommunities/best-places-to-live/


Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 23

If you move away from family and friends, factor in traveling and lodging costs. Mid-sized college towns often offer cheaper real estate and reasonable entertainment options. A financial planner can help determine if the move pencils out.

COMMUNITY Some people prefer to surround themselves with a mix of young and old as well as racial and income diversity while others feel more comfortable around like minds, people who share their outlook or stage of life. Sense of belonging is critical to happiness and health and a big reason why retirees can be reluctant to move, some experts say. Is your new neighborhood walkable or friendly to bicycles? Or do you have to drive every time you seek company, food, or supplies? How about public transportation? Some people rent an apartment or house or stay in a hotel during different seasons to sample the humdrum of a Tuesday afternoon and the buzz of a


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

“SO HOW DO WE COME AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO THE RIGHT MOVE WHEN WE RETIRE?� Saturday night. Is the summer too hot or touristy? Is the winter too wet and dreary? If you can pull it off financially, maybe keeping two abodes in different communities will solve the issue or buy time to decide. When looking at a retirement community, ask yourself if it promotes an active lifestyle.

HOUSING How important is your residence? It makes sense to get a smaller residence when the kids leave, but


some people report missing the space. They also want to keep a house big enough to accommodate visiting grandkids or friends. A view is nice, but is it worth the added price? Does your property have a big yard that needs tending? You up for that? Are you going to be healthy enough for a multi-level home? Old houses are cool, but costly repairs often loom. You might want a traditional retirement community where repairs, maintenance and other life tasks are tended. Are you OK with the noise of close-quarters living? A Seattle couple recently downsized from their house to an Edmonds condo only to find out the neighbor above seems to dance in clogs every night.

LEISURE These are supposed to be your carefree years so picture yourself having fun. What are you doing? Hiking, playing golf, working out at a gym, volunteering, attending classes, going to the

74584 LC QP Lynnwood_3rdActHalf Ad.indd 1

Aging with Confidence

theater? Is what you want convenient? Do you want (or need) to continue to be engaged in the work world with a phased retirement, in which you work part-time after giving up the career? Does your landing spot have industry or can you do your work online?

HEALTH CARE Are there good medical facilities nearby? You don’t like to think about it, but you likely will need more care as you age, especially if you have a chronic condition. Find a place you can age into or easily transition from.

STAY CALM If you do make a mistake, or the spot isn’t exactly as you imagined, try again or adjust. “Usually, another move will rectify the mistake,” says Vandervelde, “and you will have learned some important lessons.” Richard Seven has lived and worked as a journalist in Seattle for more than three decades. He spent most of that time as a feature writer and editor for The Seattle Times.

winter 2017

12/2/16 4:15 PM

| 3rd Act magazine 25

Can’t Put My

Finger On It BY JIM DALY

Sepsis shocked my body into a coma on October 16, 2012. Jefferson Medical Center in Port Townsend applied emergency procedures to keep me alive and then airlifted me by helicopter to Swedish Medical in Seattle, so I’ve been told. A series of procedures followed, and my wife monitored them diligently. I was blown up like the Michelin Man with fluids, paddled to stop my gone-crazy heart, put on dialysis, etc. All the time, I was living in the most vivid and weird world all my own. 26

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

But I had moments of lucidity. I remember viewing fingers that looked like charcoal sticks and wondering when they would return to normal, then sinking back into my world. I remember finally becoming completely conscious and viewing my heavily bandaged hands. Just before Christmas, with my kidneys functioning on their own, my wife took me home. I was 40 pounds lighter, no fingers or thumbs, balance problems, and memory problems, but I was one of the lucky ones. My wife had been told by a sympathetic doctor that “Some people have survived this.” I had been in excellent health for a 76-year-old when I was struck down. At first my recovery was slow. But with lots of physical therapy, persistent encouragement from my wife, and my own desire to “become normal” again, I began to put on weight, recover some energy, learn to maneuver a spoon and put on my own clothes. My recovery took on momentum. Getting healthy was my obsession. Soon people were remarking how well I was looking. But there were things I would never be able to do. Upkeep of our 2-story house and half acre property fell on my wife or hired help. I could no longer mow the lawn or clean the gutters. And then a year and a half after my illness, I experienced what I learned is often experienced by septic shock survivors: postsepsis syndrome. Depression, lack of confidence, self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, and withdrawal from others. I tried to hide these feelings, but they became too painful, and I tearfully confessed them to my wife, and then to my family physician. An antidepressant was prescribed and worked wonders. Counseling was also suggested, but ended after three sessions when the therapist kept falling asleep as I was revealing my feelings of inadequacy. My wife and I decided we needed a smaller place with less upkeep, closer to town. We also wanted more friends and a sense of community. Coincidentally, a group within our Unitarian church was in the process of forming a senior cohousing project. It was described as a group of like-minded seniors who wanted a community that they formed to meet their needs. After move in, they would share governance, resources, and responsibilities. It promised to fit our needs. We joined and soon were involved in various committees planning our village. There were social events aimed at cementing a sense of community. It gave us purpose, involvement, friends, and in the end would provide us a low maintenance home in a committed community of supportive people. What more could we ask for? But it wasn’t always easy. We had to commit our money with the possibility that the project might not succeed. There were conflicts and different ideas as to how we should proceed. We decided on three unit sizes in groups of three to four units in eight



“ There does seem to be compensation, a bright side, something gained from a tragedy.”

condominium-style buildings on six and a half acres of pasture close to town. We chose a large common house for shared meals, other social affairs, and guestrooms. Our excitement grew as the earth was moved, the concrete poured, and timbers stretched into the sky. I had concerns about my ability to participate due to my lack of fingers and an impaired memory, but that has not proved a problem. I’ve written press releases about the progress of our community, have managed to physically set up a platform for speakers at our groundbreaking, and along with my wife constructed a framework to hold the large banner announcing our village. This, in addition to being a member of three committees and on the staff of our newsletter. There does seem to be compensation, a bright side, something gained from a tragedy. I learned greater humility, empathy, and patience, partly due to my illness and partly by joining a vibrant community of friends. My life in the vivid, weird world of the coma also added something to my psyche. What, exactly? I can’t put my finger on it.

More information about Quimper Village Cohousing in Port Townsend can be found at quimpervillage.com. The Cohousing Association of the U.S. provides general information on cohousing. Their website has a listing of all the cohousing opportunities across the U.S. cohousing.org.

Jim Daly is a published novelist (Running in Darkness), short story writer, and a former fine arts painter. He has resided the last 12 years in Port Townsend with his wife Pam and his 14-year-old feisty terrier. They have sold their house and temporarily moved to a town close by, awaiting move-in to their cohousing village in the summer of 2017.

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 27

Meet Paro: The Robotic Seal That Is Making Us More Human BY TERI THOMSON RANDALL

Teri Thomson Randall is a journalist, photographer, and filmmaker residing in Seattle. Her writing experience spans the arts and sciences, including staff writing positions at the Journal of the American Medical Association and Pasatiempo, the weekly arts magazine of the Santa Fe New Mexican. She holds graduate degrees in microbiology, science communication, and film production.


ANYONE WHO HAS LOVED A PET knows the comfort and joy we feel in the company of our animals. And these feelings aren’t just in our heads. Scientists have shown how animals can produce actual physiologic changes in the human body, including lower blood pressure and heart rates, and reduced muscle stiffness. Cortisol (the stress hormone) declines and oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) is released. Somehow, animals buffer the physiological effects of stress and anxiety, and that offers enormous therapeutic potential. But having live animals in a health care facility comes with drawbacks. Animals shed and cause allergies; they require time, money, and energy to care for; they can transmit disease and can carry fleas and ticks; and, if provoked, they can bite. Even the best dogs have their limits. In 1993, Dr. Takanori Shibata, an electronic and mechanical engineer, witnessed the dreary environment of a nursing home and became inspired to build an animal-like robot that would decrease a person’s social isolation, relieve boredom and loneliness, and help stimulate conversation between people. The Japanese government, anticipating the “demographic tsunami” of retiring baby boomers, was quick to get behind the project and put Shibata, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), at the helm. Paro—a word that combines the first syllables of the Japanese words for “personal

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

robot”—was first introduced in 1998; now in its ninth generation, it is used as a clinical tool in 30 countries. Paro is perhaps the most famous member of a new class of devices called “socially assistive robots,” whose purpose is to stimulate meaningful and positive social and emotional communication. Paro responds to the human voice and to touch. It can detect the direction of the human voice and understands simple words and phrases (the level of vocabulary we use with pets and babies, programmed in English, Japanese, or one of five European languages). It can recognize its posture when being held, an indicator of whether the person is calm or agitated. Its vocalizations (made from digitallysampled baby seal sounds) have a discernible emotional range. It can move its head, neck, eyelids, flippers, and tail. Wrap all of this in soft white fur (actually artificial hair treated with an antibacterial solution), add a warm body temperature and a sweet flipper wiggle when it’s “happy,” and you’ve got an irresistible package, programmed to evoke Scientists in Japan, the U.S., Australia, and Europe are conducting studies on Paro’s effectiveness in a variety of clinical settings, including dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cancer therapy.



“Paro is perhaps the most famous member of a new class of devices called ‘socially assistive robots,’ whose purpose is to stimulate meaningful and positive social and emotional communication.”

a nurturing, emotional response. Why a seal? Shibata found that people quickly lost interest in mechanical cats and dogs— animals that they already knew well. But a seal was less familiar, and people readily accepted it. Paro may be a state-of-the-art robot containing a sophisticated artificial intelligence, but at Patriots Landing, a Careage continuing care campus in DuPont, Washington, she’s “Molly,” and she spends most of her time working with residents in memory care. Caregivers here say that Molly often helps comfort residents experiencing mild levels of agitation. They willingly interact with Molly, even laugh. Some people sing to Molly, or try to feed her their snacks. They become more sociable—with each other, and with their caregivers. But not every person responds the same way to Molly, says Gregg Mundell, the Resident Care Coordinator at Patriots Landing, where most of

Aging with Confidence

the residents had careers in the military. Mundell has observed that people who have had pets or children respond to her more readily. And women are usually more receptive than men, although even the male, retired four-star generals—the strong, silent types—can turn to mush over her sweet coos and big black eyes. Shibata is careful to stress that Paro was created not to replace human connection, but to facilitate and enhance it. “Paro is a tool to encourage interaction between the elderly person with dementia and the caregiver and therapist,” he says. “Elderly people with dementia do not show interest in things. They live inside a shell. But when they interact with Paro, they come to the outside.” Scientists in Japan, the U.S., Australia, and Europe are conducting studies on Paro’s effectiveness in a variety of clinical settings, including dementia, developmental challenges,

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 29


autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and cancer therapy. Researchers find that Paro can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, wandering, and aggressive behavior. Dementia patients need fewer antipsychotic drugs, and Paro doesn’t have those medications’ negative side effects. At the UC Irvine Medical Center, patients with ovarian cancer who interacted with Paro during three- to five-hour chemotherapy session reported reduced pain and anxiety and enhanced quality of health. In 2009, Paro became the first cognitive therapy robot to be approved as a Class II neurological therapeutic device by the FDA. Anecdotally, therapists have seen patients who haven’t spoken in more than a decade suddenly start talking while holding Paro. And recently, at Patriots Landing, a woman with dementia who was generally unresponsive exclaimed, “Get that animal off the table!” to the surprise of everyone in the room. A rejection for Paro, but a breakthrough for the patient. Shibata says that future generations of Paro will be custom-made for specific clinical applications—the Paro for dementia patients will respond differently than, say, the Paro for children with autism. And some day, JAXA, Japan’s national aerospace agency, will take Paro to its research station on the surface of Mars, now in development. Like a

At Patriots Landing in DuPont, Washington, Paro is called “Molly,” and she spends most of her time working with residents in memory care. pet on Earth, Paro will help relieve the astronauts’ stress and isolation during the three-year mission, and enhance their communication and connection. It may seem strange that a robot can bring forth our best human qualities—to love and be loved, to accept others just as they are, to connect, to communicate. But Paro is, after all, the creation of caring human beings who are committed to using technology as a tool for kindness.

DOWNSIZE TO THE RIGHT SIZE Get advice on how to keep what you love, get rid of the “stuff,” handle the items that have value but you don’t want to keep, and move forward in your life.

ze Downsi ht Size to the Rig


FREE downsizing guide! Call (206) 829-4855 to learn more or visit eraliving.com/downsizing

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


Chart Your Own Course NAVIGATING YOUR HEALTH CARE BY KAREN VOGEL They say that getting old isn’t for wimps. Well, neither is navigating our healthcare system. The financial piece alone can feel overwhelming at times, between the cost of prescriptions, copayments, items that aren’t covered by insurance, and surprise medical bills. Even talking to one’s doctor can be challenging, especially under time constraints. How can you advocate for yourself and find trusted resources when you need them?

Become your own health advocate Create strategies for optimizing doctor appointments, managing a hospital stay, organizing claims, and improving communication with healthcare providers. Better yet, enlist a friend or family member to attend your doctor visits, write summaries, and explain confusing forms. Before your doctor visit • Prepare in advance by selecting up to three key issues. • Bring a list of medications with names, dosages, and the time of day you take them. Include prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and marijuana (medicinal or recreational). • Keep a binder of your medical history and your healthcare service providers. No one knows your history like you do. Electronic medical systems are not always complete or integrated. At your doctor visit • Does your doctor listen to you? Do you feel respected? Does your interaction feel like a partnership? If your doctor is using jargon, is it further explained with plain, simple language? • Is your doctor making ageist, racist or sexist assumptions? Being older does not mean that your memory is impaired or that you cannot make your own decisions. Reach out for help • Be proactive about paperwork. If you’ve received a confusing medical bill, contact the doctor’s office manager or hospital’s billing department and ask for a detailed explanation. Sometimes just understanding the bill reduces confusion and anxiety. • Some senior centers, aging-in-place communities and retirement villages have an advocate program with trained volunteers to escort you to medical appointments. • Contact social service agencies in your town to ask about health advocates. You can also explore local and national resource directories online at www.washaa.org and www.aphadvocates.org. Karen Vogel is a private, independent patient advocate. She has been professionally involved with health education and insurance management for more than three decades. She consults with consumers on health insurance navigation and claims review, and counsels boomers with aging parents. Visit www.kazadvocate.com.

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 31




Kyle Ciminski is a personal trainer at the Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center in Anacortes. He holds more than 30 professional certifications, and you can reach him at kyleciminskitraining@ gmail.com or at 360.969.1386. Learn more at trainwithkyle.com.


HEART DISEASE is the No. 1 killer of Americans; approximately one in every four deaths in the United States is related to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the boomer population ages, medical resources have strained to keep up with the need for cardiovascular intervention. Americans suffer from poor diet, low activity levels and unregulated stress levels, all contributing to the heart health crisis. While this sounds very scary, we can all take simple steps to prevent our becoming a statistic. Physical activity is a simple and productive means to keep your heart healthy. Cardiovascular activity is the best way to help your heart. Walking, swimming, and biking are all cardio exercises that can be low intensity for the joints while getting your heart pumping. Walking is a great exercise due to convenience. You can simply go around your neighborhood or head to a local park. For something more challenging, pick a location that has varied terrain. This will get your heart rate up faster and provide a mental stimulus to keep the walk more interesting. Swimming is a low-impact method of exercise that will allow you to get your heart rate up while not aggravating your knees or hips. You can do this one of several ways: lap swimming, water walking or water aerobics. Check with your local pool for class listings and times to make the activity more social. Biking can be done outside or in a gym, it just depends on how adventurous you want to be. If you are having trouble with your balance or joints, try a recumbent bike that sits the user in a more reclined position than a standard bike, similar to sitting back in a chair. This bike is more comfortable for those suffering from hip or knee issues.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

Before jumping in to a new cardio exercise regimen, determine your maximum heart rate to prevent yourself from pushing your heart too hard. This heart rate should not be exceeded. 220 - your age = your Maximum Heart Rate

Knowing your maximum heart rate, you can calculate your aerobic zone, which is 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. The aerobic zone is the ideal heart rate for weight management and improving cardiovascular fitness. The American Heart Association suggests completing 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity with your heart rate in the aerobic zone four to six times a week. Before beginning a cardio regimen, consult a physician. In addition, a personal trainer or fitness professional can help you get started in a healthy and safe method that is tailored to your specific needs. As you progress, continue to consult a healthcare professional who can provide specialized advice for your current health and condition. Also seek nutritional advice from your doctor or a nutritionist, as nutrition goes hand in hand with regular exercise in keeping our hearts healthy.


blessing the light (thinking of Lucille Clifton) for the teacher that lives within each of us

may the stars that shimmer even now beneath the surface of our knowing light your way beyond the valley of fear may you open your arms then pull them back assured that another’s will shelter you from any storm may you lift your face to the sun sun that favors you always and may you in your brilliance shine a beacon for others from here to there

Š Gloria Burgess

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 33

Everybody Needs a Hand Now and Then I could help any other person work through the stress of finding suitable care or housing for their family member. I was a capable, caring and knowledgeable person… until it came to my own mother. have worked in the senior housing industry for years. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who cares for a parent or family member, trying to keep them at home for as long as possible. I understand. I know you want your family member to be happy as well as well-taken care of.


My mother was the one that every other kid wanted for their own mother. She was fun and imaginative and outgoing. She always volunteered at school and brought secret treats for all the kids in our carpool. I just adored my mother. When it became apparent that she shouldn’t live on her own anymore, my first thought was that she should move into my home with my family. Being an independent person, my mother did not want to give up her freedom nor impose on my family. We worked through that phase and I was able to care for her for about 2 years.

She was experiencing some dementia and some other health related issues that pushed her care needs beyond what I could provide for her and her comfort level with me helping her.

process and not do it. Three times I did this until it was abundantly clear that I couldn’t be objective and I wasn’t doing myself or my mother any good.

What I knew she needed was the care provided in an adult family home. I knew she needed more hands-on and eyes-on supervision than an assisted living community could offer, but her mind was set on a larger community.

I called on one of my colleagues to step in and treat my situation as she would any other client. It worked. She was able to take some of the emotional turmoil out of the equation and help me see the appropriate moves I needed to make.

We moved her into a studio apartment in an assisted living community near my home… it lasted 6 months. She never left her room, had all her meals delivered to her room and kept to herself all the time. She wasn’t benefitting by being there so I moved her back home. And that put us back into looking into adult family homes. I’d find one that looked good, make the appointment to make the move, then second-thought the whole

With anyone else, I would have been able to do just that, see the forest for the trees, but when it was my mother, I needed a hand. CHOICE was the voice of reason, the impartial and objective view that I couldn’t provide for myself and the one that brought the order to the chaos. My mother moved into a wonderful adult family home and spent two more years being happy and well taken care of. And I got to be just a son again.


CHOICE Advisory Services 34

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

800 -361- 0138

choiceadvisory.com www.3rdActMag.com

Do you need to find senior housing? Does the senior have care needs that need to be addressed? What does the senior want? How do you know what you don’t know? Where do you start?

Cal l CH O IC E. CHOICE provides FREE senior housing & care advisory services. FREE. We get paid by the care provider you select from the options we bring to the table.

There are 3 CHOICE offices serving the Northwest: SEATTLE





Kootenai (ID)


PORTLAND Clackamas

Clark (WA) Multnomah





Snohomish Thurston Whatcom

CHOICE Advisory Services helps seniors and families find the housing and care options they need. They’ve been in business since 1993, having helped thousands of families find the right fit and peace of mind.

CHOICE is available 8:30am to 8:30pm 7 days a week 365 days a year

S EA TTL E 80 0 -3 61-0138 Aging with Confidence


SPOKANE 844-499-9296


PORTLAND 800-757-0921 winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 35



Transforming the World... One Person

at a Time


LIKE MOST OVERNIGHT SENSATIONS, my third act has been years in the making. I’m very blessed and grateful that my third act is also my encore career. Having integrated my dual passions—arts and leadership—I now enjoy life as an inspirational speaker, author, poet, and entrepreneur. But it wasn’t always that way. When I graduated with my doctorate in performance studies, I had stars in my eyes. It was show time! Not as in Broadway. I was actually living in Los Angeles— the place for aspiring actors and directors. As much as I loved being part of the vibrant world of theater, I also wanted to push the boundaries of what theater could be. I was intrigued with theater not as entertainment, but as a catalyst for social transformation. Dr. Gloria Burgess is an inspirational speaker, author, poet, and performing artist. Her books include Legacy Living, Flawless Leadership, and Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside. Her life is about celebrating the triumphant power of the human spirit. Learn more about Music for Transformation at www.johneburgess. com and Gloria at www. gloriaburgess.com.


Say It with Music These days, I play to audiences in boardrooms and ballrooms all over the world. What does the playbill include? Leadership and innovation for people in business, medicine, education, human services, government, finance, and beyond. I play the role of Evocateur. I especially enjoy embracing this role for Music for Transformation™—an innovative learning experience I co-created with my husband Maestro John Burgess. After 40 years together, we’re pretty good at making each other’s heart sing. We’re now learning the swing and sway of making beautiful music together as we build this part of our business. In this new venture, John conducts an orchestra with audience members interspersed a mong t he mu sicia ns. A s Evocateur, I provide insightful commentar y to engage our clients and to educe learning about leadership, collaboration, creativity, diversity, innovation, business building, peacemaking, inclusion, community, ecological sustainability, and so much more. One of our favorite collaborations was with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Imagine an expansive ballroom with 500 leaders seated inside the heart of this amazing 75-piece symphonic

“In these uncertain times, no one knows what the future holds. I have faith that it will bring more creative collaborations with friends we have yet to meet here in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world.”

Born for This I was born in rural Mississippi. As a young girl, I thought I lived in an all-black town. Although I was too young to know the meaning of the word segregation, I certainly felt its impact. Throughout my life, I have experienced the crush of racial hatred and prejudice. I have also experienced the redemptive power of the arts. My family didn’t have much money. Even so, we enjoyed great wealth born of rich relationships with family and friends. Like many poor families during the Jim Crow era, my family was very resourceful.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

My sisters and I created our own games and made toys from clothespins, scraps of cloth, buttons, paper sacks, and whatever else we could find around the house. And we loved to sing. After we sang all the songs we knew from church and school, we composed our own. Most of all, we loved creating skits. For birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. If there wasn’t a special occasion, we’d create one. Within the loving embrace of encouraging parents, we flourished. Little did I know that during my playtime, the scaffold for my future was already under construction.


organization I launched when I left high tech. My purpose is singular: to help these young people understand that their past doesn’t have to dictate their future. I help them create a bridge from what was … to what is … to what can be, inspiring and equipping them with the transformational power of the arts and leadership. In these uncertain times, no one knows what the future holds. I have faith that it will bring more creative collaborations with friends we have yet to meet here in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the world. What a privilege and joy it is to bring people together for meaningful engagement— to make music, theater, poetry, and other arts relevant in a world that is desperate for imaginative leadership and transformation.


ensemble. Next to the cellos a CEO. Her VP sits a bow’s length from the violins. As we await the downbeat, I look out across the audience. Leaders from 140 different nations. Curious. Enthralled. Expectant. In this electric atmosphere, images from my corporate life flash into my awareness. Twenty-three years. Much of it consumed with doubt and wondering, years of wondering if I was in the right place. When I reached the echelons of the high-tech world, I was the only one. The only African-American female executive in Information Technology. And still … I wondered. In the charged hush, John lifts his baton. The music and the learning begins. A CFO closes his eyes, reveling in the majestic fanfare from the French horns. And I realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am in the right place. For I now know that during all those years in corporate America, I was being equipped for such a time as this. I am so fortunate. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. I wake up every morning absolutely in love with my life and work because I get to pass on what I’ve learned about the arts and leadership—not only to this generation, but also to the next. How? Working with underrepresented urban youth through The Lift Every Voice Foundation, a nonprofit

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 37

Reflections on the


Let us not, in our perusal of aging, discard absurdity and poignance. TWO CARTOON MOMENTS Two old men, related by virtue of their offsprings’ marriage, fragile with age and disease, are— unbeknownst to each other—sitting side by side, diminutive in large wing chairs, both there for a family gathering. Suddenly one, pitching forward, recognizes the other and cries, “Bud, you’re still here? I thought you were dead. I thought this was your memorial!” Bud was, indeed, still with us.


My wife and I were at a wedding. It was a Saturday in June, on a wonderful island in Puget Sound. The ceremony, performed outdoors beneath a festooned chuppah, against a magnificent sweep, had ended, and brightly colored familial clods began dispersing toward


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

drinks. The lawn spread out like a picnic blanket among ovoid beds planted with flowering trees and blooming perennials—islands of them. My vulnerable eyes fatigued with all the color. Cocktails floated by on trays. We partook, even as the sun herded us in clusters toward shade. Useless Bay glittered in the distance. A crackle in the loud speakers cleared to song and The Rolling Stones belted “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” Suddenly, across the uneven lawn bumped an elderly woman in a wheel chair, the hem of her emerald-green gown flapping. Her companion, bent double with the effort, pushed her in a ragged trajectory. With her cocktail gripped like a torch before her, she pitched forward to behold the view. Out they charged toward Useless Bay, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” the perfect caption. WELL Aging “well” might be considered the harvest of a good and lucky life. The good life, as the slogan relates to aging, typically brings to


mind such conditions as financial security, safe and comfortable housing, and one’s community, supportive and engaged. In Seattle, where I live, it is luck and privilege that allow me to address aging’s many issues: how the aging are perceived, cared for in decline, welcomed as participants, or tossed like chaff to be borne on the scattering breeze. There are conferences and forums, workshops, manifestos— plenty to challenge the prevailing and limiting views. In a parallel universe—the one of advertising and media culture—there are the panaceas, the wars declared on wrinkles and sags, the diets promoting longevity, the brain games guaranteed to preserve our cognitive skills, the ridiculous bromides—60 is the new 40!—and the like. This clatter drives me to reflection, and more and more, I find myself reflecting among the various “activities” of aging well. At 68, old but not yet elderly, I’m gently aware of my incremental diminution. A bias has set up residency inside me—that I cannot view my agerelated changes as growth, the way we view those of adolescence, say. It’s difficult to recognize the former as any kind of a gain. The specifics unique to one’s aging, of course, can be neither projected, nor known, nor even imagined, really. My imagination projects my future me into familiar postures on familiar pieces of furniture in my familiar living room. In this scenario, my senses are only diminished, but as yet intact, like a calico cat gone dilute—the orange dimming to beige, the black fading to powdery gray.

without fear of falling; and the most desperate entreaty of all: I can still drive. Initially, I was thrilled for the reframe. But I now find myself inclined to disagree. I have decided to honor my stills, knowing that my losses will begin to announce themselves more fiercely, and pile up, like emptied mussel shells. That which I do now, that which adds richness and value—reading, reflecting, walking, pruning, robust chewing—will not always be. Let’s talk about reading. I read for all sorts of reasons—for companionship and discourse, to travel to places I will never go, and to delight in language beautifully employed. I recently experienced a “crisis of the eye”— Graves-related ophthalmopathy—and almost lost my vision. So I am sensitive to the celebratory possibilities of still, as in, “I can still see.” So, yes, I say with rue and gratitude, I can still see! I can still read! Can one rehearse when still applies no longer? You don’t catch the peony resisting petal drop, or the great blue heron conniving not to die. A practicing Buddhist for more than 30 years, Hollis Giammatteo has sought experiences that challenge her practice, from teaching writing to working with the elderly. She co-founded, managed, and wrote plays for The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia and for Rhode Island Feminist Theater. Hollis has published in a variety of magazines, and her memoir, The Shelf Life of Ashes, was released in May by She Writes Press.

STILL I have heard voiced an objection to the use of the word still by those who are persuaded that our diminution can indeed be “done well.” The power of language to set an expectation, and thus shape belief, which then will mold behavior, is widely acknowledged. Still, in this sense, is believed to set an expectation—that we will ultimately “lose it.” Through language, our demise is hurried along by a carrion seed: I can still hike for hours; I can still schlep 50-pound bags of compost; I can still walk

Aging with Confidence

winter winter2017 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 39

Living Life BY SALLY FOX

As Art

Step through the traditional Chinese doors into the courtyard of the Seattle home of Nancy Mee and Dennis Evans, and enter a world of artistic alchemy. Here, elements of science, literature, technology, and art are combined into stunning and evocative works of beauty.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


In the living room, native masks from around the globe peer at you from the walls, while the long beaks of animals carved by Kwakwaka’wakw, a Pacific Northwest Coast indigenous people, protrude into space. Exquisitely formed rocks from China, called scholar stones, invite you to contemplate their timeless wisdom. Painting fills the walls and, in the loft above, an amber glow highlights a wall of Mee’s cookbooks and Evans’ encaustic paintings. Mee and Evans are accomplished, internationally recognized artists whose works grace museums, galleries, public venues, and private collections around the world. Their home is part of their art. It reflects their commitment to a creative life together as professional artists, a devotion that they have practiced for more than four decades. At the edge of the living room stands a regal door from India beckoning you into the house’s inner sanctum, where room after room is filled with art, much of it their creations. They say, “We live within our art.” Mee works as a sculptor, using slumped and sandblasted glass with cut and cast metal and stone to create stunning architectural pieces. Using elegantly distilled lines, she evokes essential and universal truths.


Aging with Confidence

Evans is a multimedia artist, a Renaissance man who weaves his knowledge of physics and poetry, chemistry and classics, astronomy and antiquities, mathematics and mythology, into intriguing and beautiful creations that stimulate the imagination and the senses. The couple met when Evans was completing his Master of Fine Arts in Design at the University of Washington and Mee had just returned from studying printmaking in Paris. Evans knew that, for professional artists, just being in love would not be enough to sustain a life together. “The act of creation takes a lot of personal energy,” he says. “In a certain way, creating art is the most selfish thing in the world, because you have to be so absorbed in your vision. Sometimes you don’t have room for anybody else. I can’t imagine being married to someone who wasn’t an artist. It could destroy a marriage.” So, before committing to a life with Mee, he warned her, “I don’t want to go any further with this relationship until you know what you’re in for.” As professional artists, life might be hard. It could take years of struggle to establish the

winter 2017

Sally Fox is a coach, consultant, speaker, and podcaster who is helping individuals and organizations to bring their best stories forward. She lives on Vashon Island with her horse, husband, and the inimitable Barry-the-cat. Read about her work and find her blog at engagingpresence. com. You can also listen to her podcasts at 3rdActMagazine.com.

| 3rd Act magazine 41

professional reputations that would secure their livelihoods. There would be no automatic pensions. They would need to develop their art, learn the technical skills required to fabricate pieces, and master the risky business of art, all the while supporting themselves and the production assistants they’d have to employ. Mee responded without hesitation, “I’m in.” Forty years later, both their relationship and their business are flourishing. Now that their reputation has grown—and “the wolf is no longer at the door”—they have had time to consider how their art will evolve during their next stage of life. Through years of diligence, they’ve discovered what it takes to be professional artists. Mee says, “A lot of our work isn’t glamorous.” Producing pieces can be tedious, labor-intensive work, involving grinding steel, sanding, welding, and

Clockwise from the top: Evans creates a yearly Valentine for Mee, The Souls Eclipta Alba, Evans with a current work in progress


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

building crates. The ah-ha moments of discovery, problem solving, and creation are exhilarating, but they’re only a small part of the work. One talented assistant quit their studio after only three months because he didn’t anticipate how much manual labor was involved in producing art. “He thought the work would involve more discussions of philosophy,” Evans laughs. “Well, we’re blue-collar philosophers.” They’ve used art to enhance their northeast Seattle neighborhood. Noticing that the blocks near his home were barren of trees, Evans helped his neighbors plant 37 “Thunderbolt” purple leaf plum trees (Prunus cerisafera) that now burst into pink blooms every spring. They call their community “Utopian Heights,” after the name they gave their home when they first moved in. Evans even created and installed an officiallooking “Welcome to Utopian Heights” sign to welcome visitors to this unofficial neighborhood. Evans’ Merlin-like sense of mirth has flummoxed city inspectors. When one challenged the beautiful garden and sculpture he installed on a parking strip, Evans replied, “I have permission from the Mayor!” Only as the inspector was leaving did he add… “And I am the Mayor,” referring to his permanent position as Mayor of Utopian Heights. On the morning of 9/11, Mee and Evans were planning to excavate space for a new garden on land they owned across from their home, when they watched the tragic news. With heavy hearts, they told their assistants to take the day off; the garden would have to wait. But by noon, Evans


“At the edge of the living room stands a regal door from India beckoning you into the house’s inner sanctum, where room after room is filled with art, much of it their creations.” had watched enough news. Pounding his fists, he called to Mee, “Enough of that violence! Let’s start something beautiful today.” Later that day, each of their assistants returned to the site to be together. Thus, “The Garden of Souls” was born. Today it is an uplifting oasis in the neighborhood, where visitors can find a moment of serenity amidst Japanese maples and Mee’s entrancing art. Another of their gifts to the community is a Shinto-like shrine they installed on a corner by their home, providing paper and pens to anyone who wants to leave a message or prayer. Once every six months, Evans and Mee gather up about 1,000 prayers, and burn them in a ritual ceremony. Evans thinks about his life in thirds, and now that he, at 70, and Mee, at 65, are in their third chapter of life, both artists are considering their legacy. “We met an 80-year-old woman in India who was giving away her precious saris. Rather Aging with Confidence

than waiting to die, she preferred to ‘give with warm hands.’” Mee and Evans have started donating pieces to chosen institutions and to their godchildren who can enjoy the art for years to come. After spending so many years immersed in art, Evans encourages others to begin creating: “There’s always time. Start now. You’re never too late.” His mother started painting at age 60 and his father, who’d been a meat cutter in Yakima, became a woodcarver after he retired. Ever the alchemist, Evans divulged the secret risk that comes with throwing one’s self into art. “The arts are dangerous because they’re a time sink. When you work, you become so absorbed in your work and then suddenly your whole day is gone! Maybe, at this point in life, we don’t want time to go by so fast.” Perhaps. But Mee and Evans have made art the centerpiece of their lives for decades. That isn’t going to stop any time soon.

winter 2017

See more of the art of Nancy Mee and Dennis Evans at UtopianHeights. com.

| 3rd Act magazine 43


“Engage with verve, because autopilot is death,” writes Barbara Bradley Hagerty in Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife. It’s her one-line summary of all the research she did to write this very engaging 464-page book (published in March 2016), and it played over and over in my head as I met with several couples who fall into a unique subcategory of retirees known as “reverse snowbirds:” they’re the ones who head north instead of south, straight for snowy slopes, not sandy beaches or sunny golf courses, when they’re ready to reinvent their lives. Engage with verve. Autopilot is death. You sure can’t ski on autopilot.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


Shirley Caraway, 71, went on a college ski trip to Tod Mountain in southern British Columbia when she was a student at Seattle University in the 1960s. An avid skier ever since, she finally returned to the resort, now known as Sun Peaks, more than three decades later, with her husband, Bill Griffith. It was engagement-with-verve at first sight: they bought on impulse and have been spending their winters there for 19 years. “People who fear retirement have got it all wrong,” maintains

Bill, 76. He ran a lawn and garden business for 38 years. Shirley was a family therapist. Their blended family includes seven adult children and seven grandchildren. They’ve never had an interest in heading south for the winter. “That’s not who we are,” Bill says

simply. “Skiing in winter keeps you active.” But living in a small mountain community is about more than skiing. Shirley explains: “Up there, I walk, smell that mountain air, and feel like I’m home.” And, she adds, “It’s a social community. The friendships are important to us.” Shirley describes suburban Kirkland, their off-season hometown, as a “millennial

Friends and ski buddies clockwise from the top: Dwight Reed, Suzie Beringer, Shirley Caraway, Terri Reed, Chuck Beringer, Bill Griffith. Photo by Jeff Caven. Ski gear and clothing courtesy of Sturtevant’s, Bellevue

Aging with Confidence

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 45

environment” where she feels “invisible.” Not so in Sun Peaks, where everyone, old and young, is active. Dwight and Terri Reed, of Woodinville, agree. “The first time we went to Sun Peaks we felt really comfortable. We felt like we were home,” says Dwight, 74, a retired Boeing flight test engineer. “It’s a very welcoming community. We haven’t found too many egos there.” Both Dwight and Terri, 59, are not only enthusiastic skiers but active community volunteers, raising money to build a new health center, organizing and timing races, and serving on their condo board. “I don’t sit still very well,” Terri says. For 11 years, Donna and Tom Kelleran have divided their time between San Juan Island and Sun Peaks. Donna, 61, is an active volunteer with the Sun Peaks adaptive sports program, which offers skiing opportunities for people with a wide range of disabilities. But age, she says, is never viewed as a limitation: “At Sun Peaks, you can’t pull the age card.” Tom, 76, agrees. “You don’t find old people in Sun Peaks, even if they’re 90.” You can’t pull the “local card” either, Donna says, because there are very few “old-timers” in a town where nearly everyone is from somewhere else. And that helps to build community: everyone feels like they’re part of creating, and improving, this place they’ve chosen to live in because they love what it has to offer. Many of Sun Peaks’ property owners come from the


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

Northwestern United States, according to realtor Liz Forster. Most of the rest are Canadian, although there are quite a few from Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Sun Peaks is the second largest ski resort in British Columbia. Nearly everyone who lives there or visits regularly

“ENGAGE WITH VERVE. AUTOPILOT IS DEATH. YOU SURE CAN’T SKI ON AUTOPILOT.” has spent time at the largest, Whistler, and nearly all say they chose Sun Peaks because it is more affordable, more small-town friendly, less crowded, and the snow is powdery and perfect. And right now, the exchange rate is very favorable for U.S. visitors ($1 U.S. = $1.34 Canadian at this writing), though that has fluctuated over the years. Not everyone who heads north for the winter is obsessed with skiing. Suzie Beringer, 58, is a Bellingham artist and calligrapher whose husband loves to ski. She had never been on skis in her life until 2000. “I enjoy skiing, but it’s not my passion,” Suzie says. But she thrives on the inspiration Sun Peaks brings to her art, and she has embraced the opportunity to teach, especially in a town where

she can walk everywhere, towing her art supplies on a sled. Her husband, Chuck Beringer, 67, grew up skiing in New England. After college, he moved west “to see the Pacific.” He stopped off in Heavenly Valley, near Lake Tahoe, got a job teaching skiing, and has been a serious skier ever since. Chuck bought a timeshare at Whistler 16 years ago, but over time, realized that what he really loved was the less crowded, less expensive, ski-in, ski-out lifestyle at Sun Peaks, where he and Suzie have lived for half of each year since 2007. At first, he thought Sun Peaks might not be challenging enough, but as he’s gotten to know the mountain, he’s found enough demanding terrain, and friends who want to ski it with him. He also enjoys Sun Peaks’ popular intermediate runs. The Sun Peaks “snowbirds” acknowledge that their village has become a de facto retirement community. Yes, there are young families, but the over-50 crowd is over-represented — and that has turned out to be an unexpected blessing. Living within walking distance of your friends, popping over for a glass of wine, pitching in when a neighbor needs help after an operation or during an illness — these are the elements of a convivial, communal lifestyle that makes sense for older adults who have in common a love of the snowy winter world and the activities that go with it: not just downhill skiing but cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and even dogsledding. Not all of us can, or want to,


Clockwise from top left: In their element — Oshi, Donna Kelleran, Tom Kelleraan, Sun Peaks Village, Terri and Dwight Reed


winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 47


spend half the year in a ski town. But weekend or day-tripping to the Alpine slopes or Nordic/snowshoe trails is easy to do from any of the Northwest’s population centers. You don’t even have to drive: there are the Seattle Ski Shuttle buses, outings and classes sponsored by


Call us at 206-615-0619 or mail in the card in this magazine to receive your free catalog! 48

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

REI, The Mountaineers, Fiorini Ski School and other outfitters and ski schools. Or check out Ancient Skiers, which sponsors annual group trips for people over 55 to Sun Valley, Idaho. And the health benefits of winter exercise are real: not only in

terms of fitness but also as a way (recommended by the American Psychological Association) to combat seasonal affective disorder. Trading dark, rainy days for the bright white of mountain snow will give you a blast of light stronger than any sunlamp. And chances are it will leave a visible afterglow. Shirley Caraway’s adult daughter, a frequent skydiver, told her recently that she was her role model for aging. “I was blown away,” Shirley says. “But I think we are role models,” she adds, explaining that she and Bill are showing their adult children that aging is OK. Nothing to be afraid of. “They don’t think of us as old.” To Chuck Beringer, it’s “fun” when it’s cold and blowing like crazy. “You’re out in the elements: the beauty, the silence.” He can’t even imagine retiring somewhere sunny and warm. And that’s the bottom line: you have to “engage with verve” in the beauty of the snowy mountain world so completely that you don’t mind the occasional plunging temperature. As Donna Kelleran puts it: “When it’s really cold, at Sun Peaks, it is stunningly beautiful. It’s like living in a snow globe. When it’s 20 below, everything crystallizes.” Ann Hedreen is a w r i te r, f i l m m a ke r, and the author of Her Beautiful Brain, winner of a 2016 Next Generation Indie book award. Together, Ann and her husband Rustin Thompson own White Noise Productions and have made more than 150 short films and five feature documentaries, including Quick Brown Fox: an Alzheimer’s Story. Their newest film, set in Peru and inspired by Ann’s great-uncle, is Zona Intangible.


Now Selling – Just Steps From the Village

Just Steps From the Village

VILLAGEWALK Sun Peaks, British Columbia, Canada


Three level, three bedroom plus flex space mountain homes.

Approximately 2,400 square feet of well planned living space, high quality finishes with lofty 10 to 12 foot ceilings.

Renderings are artistic representations only.

Open concept main floor with spacious kitchen open to both dining and living room.

Hardwood flooring throughout main floor.

VILLAGEWALK AT SUN PEAKS IS A COLLECTION•OFPremium SKI-INcustom SKI-OUT LUXURY TOWNHOMES made wood cabinetry with quartz THAT OFFER A RARE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE JUST STEPS FROM THE VILLAGE. countertops. •OFSelect from SKI-OUT 3 quality designer palettes.TOWNHOMES VILLAGEWALK AT SUN PEAKS IS A COLLECTION SKI-IN LUXURY Prices start at $629,900, with the first phase release of homes Three level, three bedroom plus flex space mountain THATperfect OFFER A RARE OPPORTUNITY STEPS FROMbyTHE VILLAGE. planned for completion the beginning of winter 2017/18. homes, for homeowners traveling from afar, TO LIVE JUST

Renderings are artistic representations only.

for those considering a new primary residence or Three level, three bedroom plus opportunity. flex space mountain those looking for an investment homes, perfect for homeowners traveling from afar, These luxury homes have approximately 2,400 or for those considering a new primary residence square feet offor wellan planned livingopportunity. space, high quality Renderings are artistic respresentations those looking investment finishes, and lofty 10 to 12 foot ceilings. These luxury homes have approximately 2,400 square feet of well planned living space, high quality finishes, and lofty 10 to 12 foot ceilings.

Prices from approximately $479,000 USD based on current exchange rate. phase release for completion by ski season 2017/18 ToFirst learn more, dropplanned by with Sotheby’s International Prices start at $629,900, the first phase release of homes Realty Sun Peaks office open 7of days a 2017/18. plannedCanada, for completion by the beginning winter To learn call 1.877.578.5774 week from more 9am to 5pm to see our VillageWalk or visitmore, sunpeakscollection.com To learn drop by Sotheby’s International display or visit villagewalksp.com. Realty Canada, Sun Peaks office open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm to see our VillageWalk display or visit villagewalksp.com.


Offered Exclusively By

Offered Exclusively By

villagewalksp.com #9 –- 3250 Village Village Way, Way Sales Office: 250-578-7773

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks, BC, Canada in the Sun Peaks Village Toll Free: 1-877-578-5774 Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, Sun Peaks sunpeakscollection.com sunpeakscollection.com

VillageWalk at Sun Peaks is a development of A&T Project Developments Inc.

VillageWalk at Sun Peaks is a development #9 – 3250 Village Way, Sales Office: 250-578-7773 A&TatProject The developer reserves the right to modify or change plans, specifications, features and prices without notice. Materials may be substituted with equivalent or of better the developer’s sole discretion. Developments Inc. All dimensions and sizes are approximate and are based architectural measurements. is not an offering for sale and such offer can only be made by Disclosure Statement E.&O.E. Sun Peaks , BC,onCanada Toll Free:This1-877-578-5774






How to get the most out of a cruise without paying twice BY SHANNON BORG


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


YOU MAY BE DIVORCED or never married; you may be widowed. You may have a partner who doesn’t travel. You may just need some time away from a busy family life. Or you may be tired of trying to schedule a vacation with friends and family who are also busy. You are the Single Traveler. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the fastest-growing household type since the 1980s has been the single person. And single people have increasing purchasing power. But in many ways, Singletons (to use a term from the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary—a more respectful and amusing term than spinster, widower, bachelor or widow) are still penalized financially for being, well, single. Travel, and especially cruising, is one of them. Cruise lines lose out when they don’t fill all the beds, and most ships are built to house couples, so solo travelers are charged a “single supplement” of 100 to 200 percent of the coupled travelers’ cost per person. But more and more, in response to travelers’ demands, cruise lines are building smaller “studio suites,” or offering single rooms at no extra cost, i.e., no “single supplement” that requires Singletons to pay extra to cruise alone. Single travelers can find options for travel all over the world, including the Pacific Northwest, with cruises to Alaska, Victoria, the San Juan Islands, and California. Here are five options for the solo cruiser, some of which have “no supplement” options: Ships with single cabins Norwegian Cruise Lines has been adding hundreds of single cabins to their ships. Holland America Line and Royal Caribbean also offer single staterooms with no single supplement. Boutique hotel ships P&O Cruises feels like a boutique hotel, and their single cabins have no single supplement. Their ships are smaller, however, so the single rooms go fast. Another line, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, caters to 55-plus travelers, and has many dedicated solo cabins.

Aging with Confidence

AdventureSmith Explorations is just one of many smaller ship operators with options for single cruisers.


Seek out smaller ships AdventureSmith Explorations has small ships and large yachts that offer some single rooms or a single share program, in which you are matched with a roommate. Windstar Cruises out of Seattle has smaller ships and has lowered their single supplements to 15 to 75 percent. Low single supplements Cruise lines such as Crystal, Silversea and Seabourn have single supplements from 75 percent and up depending on the price of the suite. Costa Cruises has single rooms, yet these rooms carry a supplement of about six percent. Singles-themed cruises Look for special cruise themes, e.g., “Halloween Cruise 2017,” “Singles Cruise Over 40” or “Senior Singles Cruises,” which are often offered around holidays such as Thanksgiving or New Years. These are fun, socially active cruises, most of which pair you up with a roommate (singlescruise.com).

winter 2017

Shannon Borg is a wine and travel writer living in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Her most recent book is The Green Vine: A Guide to West Coast Sustainable, Organic, and Biodynamic Wines (Mountaineers, 2011).

| 3rd Act magazine 51





3rd Act magazine | winter 2017



any Americans board a plane for an overseas destination without fully realizing that they are flying into a completely different culture. Some experience culture shock: a psychological disorientation caused by immersion in a place where people do things—and see things— differently. Most cultural groups develop separately, with their own logical (as far as they’re concerned) answers to life’s basic needs. While every culture is ethnocentric, thinking “we do it right,” it’s important for travelers to understand that most solutions to life’s problems are neither right nor wrong. They are different. That’s what distinguishes cultures. And, for a traveler, that makes life interesting. Americans, like all groups, have their own peculiar traits and ways of doing things. It’s fun to look at our culture from a wider perspective and see how others question our sanity. For instance, we consider ourselves very clean, but when we take baths, we use the same water for soaking, cleaning, and rinsing. (We wouldn’t wash our dishes that way.) The Japanese, who use clean water for every step of the bathing process, might find our ways strange or even disgusting. People in some cultures blow their nose right onto the street. They couldn’t imagine doing that into a small cloth, called a hanky, and storing it in their pocket to be used again and again. Once when I was having lunch at a cafeteria in Afghanistan, an older man joined me to make a point. He said, “I am a professor here in Afghanistan. In this world, one-third of the people use a spoon and fork like you, onethird use chopsticks, and one-third

Aging with Confidence

use fingers—like me. And we are all civilized the same.” Toilet paper (like a spoon or a fork) is another Western “essential” that most people on our planet do not use. What they use varies. I won’t get too graphic here, but remember that millions of civilized people on this planet never eat with their left hand. (Some countries such as Turkey have very frail plumbing, and toilet paper jams up the WCs. If wastebaskets are full of dirty paper, leave yours there, too.) Too often we judge the world in terms of “civilized” and “primitive.” I was raised thinking the world was a pyramid with the US on top and everyone else was trying to get there. I was comparing people on their ability (or interest) in keeping up with us in material consumption, science, and technology. My egocentrism took a big hit when my parents took me to Europe. I was a pimply teenager in an Oslo park filled with parents doting over their adorable children. I realized those moms and dads loved their kids as much as my parents loved me. And it hit me that this world is home to billions of equally precious children. From that day on, I was blessed…and cursed…with a broader perspective. Over the years, I’ve found that if we measure cultures differently (maybe according to stress, loneliness, heart attack rates, hours spent in traffic jams, or family togetherness), the results stack up differently. It’s best not to fall into the “rating game.” All societies are complex and highly developed in their own way. Just as we have a stereotypical view of most of the world, most of the world sees us as a version of Uncle Sam. To the average Abdullah on the street—who’s seen plenty of American

movies, TV shows, and tourists, and has read countless news stories about those crazy Yankees—we are outgoing, hardworking, informal, rushed, overconfident, and unconcerned with class distinctions and authority. Some of these traits are positive and others aren’t. Remember, there is no absolute good and bad when it comes to comparing lifestyles. For instance, while we may proudly ignore class ranks and think of our friendliness as a virtue, someone from India might be shocked at our “class ignorance” and a Frenchman might see our “goodold-boy” slap-on-the-back warmth as downright rude. If a prescription could be written to cure culture shock, it would include instructions to: • Learn as much as you can about your host culture. • Assume “strange” habits in this “strange” land are logical. Think of these habits as clever solutions to life’s problems. • Be militantly positive. Avoid the temptation to commiserate with negative Americans. Don’t joke disapprovingly about a culture you’re trying to understand. • Make a local friend, someone you can confide in and learn from. Most importantly, remember that different people find different truths to be “God-given” and “self-evident.” Things work best if we give everybody a little wiggle room. And that goes for more than just travelers. Rick Steves (www. ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at rick@ricksteves.com and follow his blog on Facebook.

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 53


Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early ‘90s, she worked for websites where she wrote sassy essays for women readers. More recently, she morphed into a writer for several universities in the Northwest. She retired this year, yet still enjoys freelancing.



I’ve been giving a lot of thought to obituaries lately. They frequently hold amazing insights— wistful, tragic, even witty. “Hey listen to this,” my fiancé said as we pored over the paper at breakfast one Sunday. “This woman’s obit says she died peacefully at home after successfully beating mad cow disease, only to be eaten by a polar bear.” “C’mon,” I said, “are you making this up?” “It later says she extends gratitude to the Cancer Care Alliance and wants donations sent there in lieu of flowers,” he added. “How cool is that? She must’ve written her own obit, don’t you think?” I said. It dawned on me I’ve known people who penned their own obituaries. A renegade Oregon newspaperman made survivors smile when he included in his obituary that he turned down what most journalists wouldn’t reject, a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. It was easy to recognize the colorful curmudgeon in the details. I read an obit recently that recommended casual attire for the memorial service. One suggested an acceptable celebration would include eating your own pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or lighting fireworks in the deceased’s honor. There are litanies of what survivors will miss or remember about the dead, including everything from their bad jokes and overalls to their chocolate chip banana bread and ability to recite old Seinfeld episodes from memory. I especially liked the obituary that recounted how the guy danced on the table with his grandchildren at his 88th birthday party. That grabbed my attention a lot more than the fact that he climbed mountains on every continent. Honoring someone’s memory often calls for a charitable contribution. One moving obit I read recently requested one honor the deceased by aiding someone without seeking recognition.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

While it might sound like a morbid way to make a living, there are journalists who make a career out of writing obituaries and love doing it. Oftentimes, especially for famous people past their prime, obits are crafted well in advance and put on ice until needed. So what I’m going to suggest isn’t really all that extraordinary. How about writing your own obituary? It’ll be your death, so you can say most anything short of blatantly defaming someone. Otherwise, you have free rein. You can make up the way you died like that woman who claimed she thwarted mad cow disease and later became a polar bear’s dinner. You can display religious fervor even if you haven’t had any since grade school. Hey, this is your life flashing before you, so make it a juicy read. Get it all down and don’t forget your survivors. Have another set of eyes—preferably somebody who knows you better than the kid at the fast-food drive-through window—read your first draft and suggest what you may have forgotten to include. That way somebody else knows you actually completed this exercise. You might decide this is a stellar reason to throw a party where everybody sits around and reads their obits while they sip spiked punch and eat chips and dip. And if you have one of those Eureka, what-did-I-miss moments when you read your obit aloud? Maybe this is a good opportunity to make a few life changes in the time you have left on the planet.

“This woman’s obit says she died peacefully at home after successfully beating mad cow disease, only to be eaten by a polar bear.”



Companions, Allies and


FRIENDS MAKE GOOD TIMES BETTER and bad times easier. Countless research studies have found that friendships increase our overall quality of life, including our health and longevity. No one will argue that having caring people around us is a good thing. But what about when times get tough? These are the moments when we really see the distinction between superficial friends and tried and true friends, the ones with a deeper connection to us. We need different kinds of friends for different situations. Sometimes we need someone to listen; other times we need a “fixer;” and still at other times we need the perspective of someone who has been there before. I often hear, “I have friendships—lots of them. They come in different varieties and some are deeper than others, but I’m pretty sure if anything bad happened, my friends would show up and help.” This sounds reasonable, but it leaves a few questions. Here’s a simple way to identify the kinds of friends we have and how they might show up in a time of need. Make a list with three columns. Head each column with: Companion, Ally, and Advocate. A Companion is a person who is happy to be with us. Companions will walk with us despite possible personal differences. They will let us lead the way and make decisions, and are happy to accompany us on the journey. They will hold our hand and are satisfied to share time with us. An Ally is a person who stands beside us and shares similar values, thoughts or experiences. Allies are colleagues or other people who share a common language or perspective with us. They are the “Oh, Honey! Been there, done that!” kind of friends.

Aging with Confidence

An Advocate is a person who is willing to go to bat for us. Advocates are willing and able to stand up for us in a protective and loving way. This is the friend who will ask the oncologist 10 more questions on our behalf and defend our rights and wishes with the gardener and the realtor. When we think about sorting our friends into these three categories, we may find that we are abundant in one group and a bit lean in another. When it comes to preparing for end-of-life needs, we definitely need at least a few Allies and Companions. But identifying who our Advocates are or will be is the most critical. It may be difficult to tell a friend, “I will need you as an Advocate.” But it is far easier now, while we are strong and healthy, than it will be later, with a diagnosis prompting the conversation. If you find you are deficient in one group, then make plans to enlist additional support through your social circles such as clubs, book groups, church or professional associations. If you are still coming up short, then consider hiring professionals to fill the gaps in your support system, especially when it comes to Advocacy. In end-of-life care, having an Advocate is essential.

winter 2017

Ashley T. Benem is the founder of the nonprofit A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service, and the creator of the Art of Death Conference. She is an advocate for palliative and end-of-life care issues, and empowers and supports families to reclaim their right to die in congruence with their lives. Contact Ashley at asacredpassing@gmail. com.

| 3rd Act magazine 55



for your brain ANSWERS (Puzzles on page 64) WordParts 1 Potato 2 Pancake 3 Bacon 4 Pudding 5 Beans 6 Sardines 7 Fruitcake

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

t wy this! 1. Twain 2. Twilight 3. Tweezers 4. Twinkle 5. Tweed 6. Twirl

7. Twerp (or Twit) 8. Twiggy 9. Tweak 10. Twine 11. Twinge 12. Twitter

Cheese (or Big Apple) Bread Mustard Molasses Eggshells Hotcakes Cookie

Borrowed from India 1. Pajamas 8. Orange 2. Bangle 9. Shampoo 3. Candy 10. Dinghy 4. Cash 11. Jungle 5. Cot 12. Cummerbund 6. Pal 13. Sugar 7. Dungaree 14. Veranda

7 WIN TER 201

Make ht the Rig Move Location, Situation, Community


Living rt Life as A and Mees Meet Evans SOLO CRUISING ising Alone Tips on Cru


th Some Fly Nor

WILL GO ON g THE SHOW on Agin ding Ladies Seattle’s Lea


4 issues


Return the subscription card in this magazine or subscribe online at 3rdActMag.com.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


For Marianne Owen (left) and Suzanne Bouchard, maturity and experience takes center stage. Photo by Jeff Caven

SUZANNE BOUCHARD AND MARIANNE OWEN have played their share of ingénues—the winsome young love interests. The plucky daughters. The Juliets and Ophelias. But both of these award-winning, Seattle-based actresses are currently enjoying another fulfilling chapter in their long-running careers. Thanks to talent, hard work in a tough field, and their vaunted reputations among audiences and fellow artists, the longtime colleagues are still in their prime after decades in the spotlight. In the last year, at A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), Bouchard memorably portrayed a narcissistic actress in “Stupid Fucking Bird,” an Aaron Posner play based on Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” And she won raves at ArtsWest Playhouse as a determined woman confronting dark family secrets in Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts.”

Aging with Confidence

Owen’s recent roles, meanwhile, have ranged from a legendary London sleuth’s efficient housekeeper (in R. Hamilton Wright’s “Sherlock Holmes and The American Problem” at Seattle Repertory Theatre), to the jolly Victorian hostess Mrs. Fezziwig in ACT’s “A Christmas Carol.” Though Hollywood too often emphasizes youth over maturity (“The close-ups will kill you!” laughs Owen), these actresses also fill the occasional film or TV role. But live theater is their first love and mainstay in the lively Seattle drama scene they’ve helped to encourage and nurture. Owen arrived in town in 1988 after notable stints with Yale Repertory Theatre in Connecticut and Boston’s American Repertory Theater. She signed on as a company member at Seattle Repertory Theatre under then-artistic chief Daniel Sullivan, and soon drew admiration as the feminist lead character in “The Heidi Chronicles,” a Wendy

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 57

Counter-clockwise from top left: Marianne Owen onstage in ACT’s productions of “Cat” (2015) and “Bloomsday” (2015) Photos by Chris Bennion, Suzanne Bouchard plays Helene Alving in ArtsWest’s 2016 production of “Ghosts.” Photos by Michael Brunk

d “We can be gla that for these Seattle leading ladies, the show will go on.”


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


JazzAlley_1/3rdpg_v4.qxp_Layout 1 12/5/16 12:40 PM

Wasserstein play that went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. “I was delighted to come here and join such a great group of artists,� said the sunny actress as she sipped tea opposite Bouchard in a Capitol Hill restaurant. “I’d played a lot of older roles, but here I was getting all these younger parts. I was a 40-year-old virgin in ‘Much Ado About Nothing!’� Bouchard arrived in the early 1990s after studying acting and working in summer stock in the Midwest. “I walked into this roving Seattle company of actors that worked all over town,� noted Bouchard, a slender figure with closecropped dark hair. “My friends kept hiring me, and every show I did felt like a master class in acting.� Aging in their profession can be scary, they agree. And yet, their talent and experience have led local directors (including Owen’s husband, Kurt Beattie) to seek out plum assignments for these seasoned players who can gracefully switch between broad comedy and high drama. Bouchard has relished recently playing American poet Elizabeth Bishop in “Dear Elizabeth� at Seattle Rep—a work based on Bishop’s decades-long correspondence with fellow poet Robert Lowell—and the imperious Queen Elizabeth I in Friedrich Schiller’s verse play “Mary Stuart� at ACT. “It’s the complex roles, that’s the stuff that draws me,� Bouchard reflected. “Often female parts for older women can get relegated to the wife whose husband is leaving her, or the stereotypical mom. But if it’s a woman who has some power, and who has to make big decisions, that’s important to me.� Owen found a similarly appealing challenge in Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful� at ACT a while back. With great sensitivity, she portrayed a Southern elder, dependent on her children, who defies them by journeying back to her hometown. “It was wonderful,� Owen recalled. “So many Aging with Confidence

people told me how moved they were by that character.� Since acting is piecework for performers of every age, Owen and Bouchard have also cultivated other, less “glamorous� pursuits. Both are avid gardeners. “The best ‘off’ day for me is when I’m in my garden mucking around in filthy clothes, and don’t even look at myself in the mirror until I’m getting ready for bed,� Bouchard reported. Owen is an accomplished weaver and knitter as well. “I’ve always offset theater with doing other things. I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket.� Mentoring the younger actors they work with is an obligation they take seriously. “I stress to them the importance of versatility, because you stretch and learn that way,� Owen noted. “I always ask directors to give (critical) notes to the whole cast at one time,� said Bouchard. “There’s how I learned, watching everyone function as a team. And if I have something to say about someone’s work, I’ll take an actor aside and ask if they care to hear it.� But more challenges await in their own careers. Bouchard juggles multiple roles in “Bring Down the House,� Seattle Shakespeare Company’s all-female adaptation of two Shakespeare history plays, which runs Jan. 25—March 12 at the Center Theatre. And Owen is set to appear this spring in the Broadway musical “The Secret Garden,� based on the beloved children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (It plays April 14—May 6 at 5th Avenue Theatre.) We can be glad that for these Seattle leading ladies, the show will go on. 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 Books/Hal Leonard).


our never gets old Grammy-winning artists in jazz, blues, world, R&B and more. Dinner club featuring mediterranean cuisine with fresh seafood. Show information tickets and reservations at JazzAlley.com or call 206.441.9729

join us for dinner and a show! 0 )

* ĂŠ <<ĂŠ -/ /1/


winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 59




How do you define a classic? A work of art that stands the test of time? That speaks across the ages? That stays fresh despite the passage of decades and shifting cultural trends?

Coming up in early 2017, local arts organizations are offering a chance to revisit several classic works, and see newer offerings based on popular classics. Pacific Northwest Ballet In February the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) will regale us with Cendrillion, a full-length ballet based on Cinderella. This transformational story of a downtrodden girl who is abused by her stepfamily, then catches the fancy of a prince at a palace ball, is rooted in our collective unconscious and can be traced back to ancient Egyptian folklore. The Middle East and Asia have versions of this romantic plot as well. Charles Perrault first wrote this classic fairytale in French in the 17th century, and the German Brothers Grimm later included it in their folktale collection. The tale has inspired a Broadway musical, many movies, and an enduring Italian opera, La Cenerentola.

A scene from Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Cendrillon. Photo Š Marie-Laure Briane, courtesy of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


painters to receive major national and international recognition. He was also an important influence on Seattle’s cultural life during the many years he lived here with his artist wife Gwendolyn Lawrence and taught at the University of Washington. This is a rare chance to view what many critics consider his greatest achievement. The Migration Series will be on exhibit Jan. 21–April 23 at Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, Seattle (206.625.8900; seattleartmuseum.org).

© 2014 MOMA. N.Y.

The Pajama Game

PNB’s production of Cendrillion marks the Seattle premiere of this 1999 work by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Under the direction of the MonteCarlo artists who created the original work, the ballet features PNB dancers, ravishing costumes and striking scenery. In addition to the regular performances, one also can attend the dress rehearsal February 2, as well as pre- and post-performance discussions. Cendrillion runs Feb. 3–12 at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, Seattle (206.441.2424; mccawhall.com). Aging with Confidence

Seattle Art Museum A historic and artistic triumph, Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series will be on display at Seattle Art Museum this winter in honor of the Lawrence centenary. This enthralling sequence of 60 vivid, color-enriched paintings in the style of “dynamic cubism” chronicles the epic migration of black Americans from the rural South to the urban North in the years between World War I and World War II. Lawrence, who died in 2000, was one of the first African-American

For fans of Broadway musical comedy, a classic that deserves another look is coming to 5th Avenue Theatre soon. The Pajama Game was a big, breezy hit when it debuted on Broadway in 1954, and it has been revived on the Great White Way twice since then. But, surprisingly, this is the first time the 5th Avenue has tackled it. The show’s delightful score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross (the pair who also brought us Damn Yankees) spun off some song standards, including the poignant ballad “Hey There.” It also introduced a beguiling romance in what is probably the only Broadway musical about a labor strike. Sparks fly in a pajama factory when the female union representative (played by local favorite Billie Wildrick) and the plant manager who is determined to thwart the strike she’s spearheading can’t resist each other’s charms. Resident 5th Avenue director Bill Berry, a whiz at refreshing such golden Broadway oldies as Wonderful Town and West Side Story, will stage the revival. The Pajama Game plays Feb. 9–March 5 at 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 5th Ave, Seattle (206.625.1900; 5thavenue.org).

winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 61

BOOKS The Violet Hour Great Writers at the End BY KATIE ROIPHE / Reviewed by Jo Shilling “I FORGET HOW TO BREATHE. I am being pulled underwater. The taxi driver carries me into the emergency room because I’ve passed out in the cab and my mother can’t lift a twelve-year-old.” So begins the prologue of Katie Roiphe’s The Violet Hour: Great Writers at the End. She says that trip to the hospital is when she started writing the book. I believe her. I had my first epileptic seizure in the second grade. From that moment, I was sure death was waiting— if I passed out while waterskiing, crumpled while riding my bike, or later, as a television news photographer, blacked out while at the top of a 100-foot fire ladder. Death became an obsession. I read everything I could on death and dying. For Roiphe, it was a call to document the final days of five great writers— and a sixth she didn’t plan on. The Violet Hour is an impressive investigation. Roiphe is even a little surprised at the access she is given to family, friends, and caretakers of Susan Sontag, Sigmund Freud, John Updike, Dylan Thomas, and Maurice Sendak. She brings us along to the torturous and futile bone marrow transplant Susan Sontag insisted on because she had beaten cancer before and clung to life at any cost. We learn of Freud’s obsessive, 20-cigar-aday addiction slowly eating away the inside of his mouth, while refusing pain medication because he wanted a clear mind. Or John Updike, who when given the worst possible news, writes a poem. Most confounding of these stories is the one about Dylan Thomas. At the time of his death he had written six poems in six years. He could no longer bear to read his own poems because he was not working on any new ones. His headlong dive into what appears to be suicidal alcohol consumption—18 shots of whiskey the last night of his life— differs strongly with what we think we know of him from his “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” But Roiphe has an intriguing interpretation of Thomas’ most famous poem. The final chapter, on Maurice Sendak, is breathtaking. “When he was very small, his parents told him that when his

mother was pregnant they went to the pharmacy and bought all kinds of toxic substances to induce a miscarriage.” Why would they tell their child such a thing? Sendak brushes it off, but death becomes a theme in his work and Roiphe shows us where to look. Even the epilogue gives us a look at another writer in his violet hour. Roiphe admires James Salter for the “little sliver of ice in his veins” and requests an interview about his thoughts on death. She didn’t anticipate that he would die before the book was published. Through these exceptional stories about literary geniuses runs the talent of Roiphe herself. Her insights are staggering—an intellectual and emotional embrace of the final act. As she said of Thomas’ poem, “This is on some very peculiar level a love song to death.”

“Through these exceptional stories about literary geniuses runs the talent of Roiphe herself. Her insights are staggering— an intellectual and emotional embrace of the final act.”


3rd Act magazine | winter 2017

Sigmund Freud’s obsessive cigar habit would prove to be the death of him.


COMING ATTRACTIONS From the multitude of events coming our way this winter, we selected these gems for your enjoyment.

mortality with Seattle-based designer Katrina Spade, the mastermind behind the Urban Death Project. Nalanda West.




Ira Glass

Total Eclipse Preview

As host of NPR’s This American Life, Ira Glass reaches millions of people each week through radio and podcasts. See and hear video and audio clips of especially illuminating things that have happened on the radio show, and especially funny things, too. Benaroya Hall.

The Penn Cove Mussel Festival offers chowder tasting, boat tours, musseleating competitions, and children’s activities in Coupeville on Whidbey Island.

JAN 14

This August 21, more than 10 million Americans will witness the first total eclipse of the sun in the contiguous United States in almost 40 years. In Sun Moon Earth, astronomer, artist, and “night sky ambassador” Tyler Nordgren takes us through history to examine how different cultures interpreted eclipses. Town Hall Seattle. 206.652.4255


David Sedaris



MAR 4–5



Wine gala MAR 23

Treat yourself to a VIP evening at one of the region’s most sought-after wine events, the Red & White Party. This elegant affair features top Washington winemakers pouring only their most coveted bottles. Aqua on Pier 70. 425.412.7070


The Cherry Orchard

JAN 14–20

Hear Sedaris read selections from his new book, Theft by Finding, and contribute your responses in this final manuscript workshop series prior to the book release in June. Broadway Performance Hall. 206.246.6040

JAN 29

Mussel festival


JAN 31–FEB 19

The final play written by Russia’s most enduring playwright, Anton Chekhov. Written when Russia was on the verge of an earth-shattering revolution and Chekhov himself was in the grips of tuberculosis, The Cherry Orchard is an unflinching laugh in the face of mortality. Falls Theatre. 206.292.7676



Chinese New Year

Valentine’s Day in Tacoma


FEB 12

Skagit Tulip Festival

A romantically lit conservatory, champagne and wine, chocolate, live music, and floral displays at the Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Tacoma. A Valentine’s Day delight for you and your sweetheart.

APR 1–30




Spectacular fields of blooming tulips and daffodils. Wander through seas of blossoms in the valley and a sea of art, craft, and food booths at the street fair in Mount Vernon. tulipfestival.org

JAN 21

Seattle’s International District celebrates the Lunar New Year with dragon dances, cultural performances, martial arts, drumming, arts and crafts, a food walk and the chance to try your hand at calligraphy and origami. 206.382.117


Urban Death Project JAN 26

Spend a couple hours pondering your Aging with Confidence

Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles

Daffodil Festival

FEB 21


This live, multi-media spectacular takes you on a musical journey through the life and times of the world’s most celebrated band. Featuring new songs and highdefinition imagery, this expanded Rain adds even more hits that you know and love from the vast anthology of Beatles classics. Benaroya Hall.

The Daffodil Parade makes its way through Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting in a single day, and features marching bands, clowns, pirates, and floats covered with thousands of freshcut daffodils. The parade is the highlight of the Daffodil Festival, now in its 84th year.





winter 2017

| 3rd Act magazine 63

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

WordParts (easy)

Can you identify the foods that complete the following common idioms? 1. Couch________________________________________

8. The big_______________________________________

2. Flat as a_______________________________________

9. The best thing since sliced_______________________

3. Bring home the________________________________

10. Cut the_______________________________________

4. The proof is in the______________________________

11. Slower than___________________________________

5. Spill the_______________________________________

12. Walk on_______________________________________

6. Packed in like__________________________________

13. Selling like____________________________________

7. Nutty as a_____________________________________

14. Tough________________________________________

twy this! (harder)

All of the answers in this word definition game begin with the letters TW. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

This is an archaic word for two. It’s also the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemmons. The period between daylight and darkness. Eyebrow-thinning implement. To flicker, as light. This coarse wool with flecks of color originated in Scotland. To spin around quickly. An insignificant or despicable person; a bonehead, jerk, or nitwit. This sixteen-year-old British beauty made it fashionable to be skinny in the 1960s. To pinch, or to make a slight adjustment. A strong thread or string. A sudden but minor pain, spasm, or cramp. The social networking site that restricts user messages to 140 characters—about two sentences.

Borrowed from India (hardest)

All the answers in this word definition game are common English words that originated in India. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.


Bed wear that’s often flannel. A thin bracelet with no clasp often worn in multiples. Generic word for a sweet treat. Actual money, not checks or credit cards. A folding bed, often used for unexpected guests. In ancient India, it meant “brother.” In English it’s a slang word for friend. Another word for denim. A common sweet citrus fruit. ANSWERS ON PAGE 56 Hair soap. A humble little boat. Reprinted with permission from Nancy Linde, author of the best selling book 399 Puzzles, Games, and Trivia In Hindi, this means “wasteland” or “desert,” but in Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain English it’s a dense, lush environment. Young and her newest book, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep A tuxedo is incomplete without this. Your Brain Young. She is also the creator of the website Made from cane or beet, it’s a dieter’s nemesis. Never2Old4Games.com, which is used by many senior-serving organizations in the U.S. and Canada. This is a porch often found in the American south.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2017


Our Family Caring for Yours Since 1975

Village Concepts represents three generations of proud family tradition spanning 17 locations across Washington. Contact us today to ďŹ nd out how our family can support yours.

1-888-548-6609 VillageConcepts.com