LIFESTYLES of the 50+
A special section of The Issaquah Press, Sammamish Review and SnoValley Star
lifestyles of the 50+
Volunteering during free time can enrich your life At the center, volunteer tasks include working at the thrift store, the kitchen, the reception The smallest acts of kindness desk and in the yard. can make the biggest difference. Thrift store volunteer Maggie Whether it’s working at a local Buglewicz said working at the soup kitchen, visiting a nursstore is a lot of fun and a lot of ing home, mentoring youths or work. helping paint a house in disre“It’s also the only thing that pair, there are many ways to get keeps the senior center open,” involved. she said. “Without the thrift Not only does volunteering store the center would close. We help others, but it can actually get a lot of grants but they are help you, too. In fact, the health dedicated money. This is what benefits of volkeeps the lights “They can help people in on.” unteering can include reduced their communities.” Besides, stress and an she added, increased feel—Paula Edwards it’s one of the ing of selffew — three at Programming director worth. the most, she Additionally, said — thrift research has stores in the shown that for people with Snoqualmie Valley, and one of chronic conditions, being physi- them is in Carnation. cally active can help to control “And it’s nice that it’s next joint swelling and pain. Paula to the senior center,” she said. Edwards, a former volunteer and “So they come in for lunch or now the programming director to exercise and they make their at the Mount Si Senior Center, way to the store. It’s a regular recommends volunteering as a stop for a lot of folks.” stress reliever for seniors. In the Valley, other volunteer “They can meet people, they opportunities include workcan feel like they are out doing ing at community events like something,” she said. “They can the Festival at Mount Si, the help people in their communiSee VOLUNTEER, Page 3 ties.”
By Sebastian Moraga SnoValley Star reporter
By Sebastian Moraga
Mount Si Senior Center volunteer Sharon Posey (right) tends to a customer.
lifestyles of the 50+
Volunteer From Page 2
North Bend Block Party and Snoqualmie’s Railroad Days. Another option is the busy calendar at the Si View Metropolitan Park District in North Bend. Seniors may volunteer as timers or ribbon-holders at track meets, or scorekeepers and court monitors at basketball games. Sports include soccer, basketball and track. The last track camp just finished, but the organization will certainly need help next year. “We can always use volunteers,” said Aaron Colby, youth recreation sports coordinator for Si View. This story also uses information from ARAcontent.
By Sebastian Moraga
Maggie Buglewicz carries a bag of Christmas stuff to the storage shed of the Mount Si Senior Center’s thrift store. A volunteer at the store for more than six years, she describes the place as part bargain hub, part social club.
Drop in unannounced at nursing homes before choosing one nity in Issaquah. “I think it’s hard for people to come to grips with at that point Transitioning to life in in their life.” a nursing home can be difSocial workers in primary ficult, especially after living physician’s offices or hospiindependently. tals can help direct families When thinking about the to nursing homes, said Lisa next step for yourself or a Stubenrauch, of Issaquah loved one, it is important to Nursing and Rehabilitation consider how the quality of Center. Other health care care you receive will affect professionals and neighbors your health and well-being. or friends can also help. It’s help“Personal “One of the hardest ful to plan experiahead, con- conversations is about ences are sider all of important,” finances.” your longStubenrauch term care said. — Colleen Hardy options Hardy Providence Marianwood said to start and make good finanin neighcial plans borhoods early. where friends and family “One of the hardest conalready live because visiting versations is about financpatients is very important. es,” said Colleen Hardy, Selecting a nursing home director of clinical services is based on the needs of an at Providence Marianwood, See NURSING, Page 5 a skilled nursing commu-
By Katie Larsen Issaquah Press intern
lifestyles of the 50+
By motorcycle, bike, foot or car, the journey is the destination Spend some time on a different kind of road trip ful the scenery is and so they decided to ride their HarleyDavidsons across the country. Because of the heat and bugs, they abandoned their original plan of camping and instead stayed in motels. The duo travelled about 16,000 miles on their loop. “My advice would be don’t have an itinerary,” Morrison said. “If you see something you want to do, do it while you are there.” Morrison said because of last year’s floods, some roads were blocked off, including an interstate on which they had to take a detour. He also got separated from Drumheller once in Utah traveling in the wrong lane. He said he kept trying to turn around but would end up on
By Katie Larsen Issaquah Press intern Need to get away? There are more ways to stay active in the golden years than exercising and hobbies. Along with the classic American road trip, nontraditional ways of traveling like motorcycling and walking change the scenery on the open road. If there are reasons for not being able to travel alone, many local options are available for senior citizens. Larry Morrison, 67, of Issaquah, took a motorcycle road trip with his friend, Tina Drumheller, last August to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Morrison used to live in Georgia and was telling Drumheller about how beauti-
So you want to take a road trip If you’re wondering if a road trip is right for you and your more mature friends, a few practical measures can help ensure it is fun for everyone: Steady goes a finely tuned machine When you were younger, you probably drove through the night to rack up as much mileage as possible. The mature road trip is just as much about the journey as it is about the destination. You and your friends will appreciate a more relaxed pace, which includes resting, eating right and enjoying all the road has to offer. To make sure you stay on course without any problems, get your vehicle tuned up before you head out. It’s a good idea to change the oil and check the tire pressure and coolant system before you get on the road.
different freeways and got lost. Finally, the two reunited 30 miles down the road in the next town. “Other than that, it went very, very smooth,” he said. There were many times along the trip that the two of them saw something interesting and just pulled over to check it out. Morrison said the scenery was his favorite part of the trip, much of it seen on the back roads they chose to ride. He has owned motorcycles for most of his life and when he retired he wanted to purchase a bike that could be used for traveling. He bought a HarleyDavidson just for that reason. “When we came back, we planned on going the southern route but decided not to, because of the heat,” he said. “I saw a few places I have never seen, and places I have seen but that have changed.” Morrison said his favorite places they visited were the Smoky Mountains, St. Louis and the salt flats. He said the views from the mountain were amazing, including a viewing area where people can see
four states. It was the farthest trip Morrison has been on. “I had never taken a trip like that in a car, let alone on a motorcycle,” he said. Chaplain Johann Neethling, 65, of Providence Marianwood in Issaquah, decided on a different form of road trip: on foot. Neethling will leave Providence St. Joseph Care Center in Spokane on July 18 and walk all the way back to Providence Marianwood. The walk is a fundraiser for money to build a bistro at the center and revamp the family room. To train for the long walk across Washington state, Neethling wakes up very early in the morning and walks all over
the Issaquah area. “It takes a lot of dedication,” he said. “But walking gives you time to reflect, to meditate and see things that you totally miss when you zip by in a vehicle.” This isn’t the first time Neethling set off. Last month, he walked from his home in Klahanie all the way to Mukilteo, and then to his daughter Maria Henderson’s house on Whidbey Island to visit his grandchildren. His walking began in March when an administrator from Providence Marianwood challenged staff members to wear a pedometer See TRIP, Page 5
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Larry Morrison shows off the motorcycle he took on a cross-country road trip.
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lifestyles of the 50+
From Page 4 and walk as much as they could. Neethling said he accepted the challenge. Henderson will walk with her father and they hope to walk about 35 miles a day. They have booked hotels across the state each night, for six nights. Neethling’s wife Anne will drive a support vehicle. “The objective is to try and get to each of those locations before it gets too dark or we run out of steam,” he said. The journey will begin July 17 when Neethling will do a blessing at the Spokane location, and then start the walk the next morning. The plan is to be back at Providence Marianwood on July 25. Besides walking, Neethling also likes to ride his mountain bike on various trails nearby and he has been on cross-country road trips by vehicle more than once. To prepare for this trip, he read a lot of books, bought new shoes and said he remembers to stay hydrated throughout. He also went to his physician and podiatrist and “got the green light” even though they both thought he was crazy.
Nursing From Page 3 individual. “Some consumers aren’t aware of the different levels of care,” Stubenrauch said. Options include shortterm care, assisted living and elderly communities. Holly
From Page 4 grown-up road trip with the guys. And since your stuff is probably going to be worth more than what you toted around during your college days, be sure to protect it. A lockable roll-up cover will keep your belongings protected from the elements — weather and criminal — while you’re on the road. A truck bed cover can help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage. With age comes wisdom to pack smart By Anne Neethling
Providence Marianwood Chaplain Johann Neethling hikes just outside Coulee City on Highway 2. If a road trip is too strenuous for vacation, the Issaquah and Mount Si senior centers offer day trips for senior citizens to all over the state. The affordable trips are open to anyone. “It gives them a chance to get out and see things and do things they normally wouldn’t do on their own,” said Paula Edwards, program director at Mount Si Senior Center. The center has offered
trips near and far, including Leavenworth, Thorp and Seattle for Ride the Ducks. Edwards said a shuttle bus is used, which seats 14 and has a wheelchair lift. She said they try and leave by 8 or 9 a.m. and get back by 4 p.m. depending on the length of their trip. Edwards plans excursions two months in advance. Call or visit the center to learn about future trips.
Hanken, social work services at Providence Marianwood, said that 80 percent of its patients are there for short stays, between two and three weeks. The facility offers intensive physical and occupational therapies for patients coming out of the hospital. Stubenrauch said she encourages families to tour facilities before deciding on a nursing home because it gives you a feel
for the environment. “Tour more than once and show up unannounced,” Hanken said. “Come at mealtime,” because just like at home, dining times tend to be more hectic. Hanken recommended also talking to residents to find out the environment and mood of the facility, and use all of your senses while visiting. “How friendly and how
As for what to pack, be sure to include an emergency roadside kit, first aid kit and any medications that you regularly need. Bring along a GPS device and your trusty mobile phone so you can stay on track and in touch. In regard to food and supplies, you might also consider a set of dressier clothes if your dining tastes have matured since your fast-food days, but you’ll also want some comfy clothes for your time spent in the vehicle.
far the staff goes” on the tour shows the quality of the facility, Stubenrauch said. “Always talk to the community,” Hanken said. “They’re the folks who know.” It is also important to look at cleanliness and observe pervasive odors. Other things to consider while choosing a home are food, sleeping arrangements, faith-based care and activities.
Bring a couple of pairs of shoes, one dressier and one comfy for walking. And if you’re not as keen on convenience store snacks as perhaps you were when you were younger, you’ll want to pack a small cooler of food and beverages. Plan ahead for a great trip Meandering can be fun, but having a plan can be rewarding too, especially when you’re older and prefer to know what to expect. Your taste in destinations has probably matured, so consult with your traveling partners and consider spots that appeal to your current interests and finances. Has wine tasting become a hobby? A tour of wine country may be in order. Perhaps you’ve discovered an interest in history? Consider a civil war re-enactment or a great historic city. Having a plan doesn’t mean there won’t be spontaneity, but it will provide you with a good course to follow so everyone can enjoy their time together. Source: ARAcontent
Finding a place that matches a person’s life before the move will help patients find a place that matches their values, Hardy said. Also, check out Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare, which rates facilities on a fivestar scale. This story includes information from ARAcontent.
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lifestyles of the 50+
Downshift your career to achieve a better work-life balance Katie Larsen Issaquah Press intern When 60-plus-hour weeks, expensive professional suits and excessive stress become too much, many high-powered professionals trade in their careers for a more fulfilling life. Called “downshifting,” the move allows former career-path employees to find more balance between work and life. The phenomenon of downshifting is due in part to technological advances, which make it easier to do research and find another career, said Fabienne Mouton, career specialist for Bellevue College at the Issaquah campus. Not only do people research the types of jobs they may be interested in, but they also find out how to obtain them. “Work-life balance takes a back seat when you have to pay your rent. The first thing you have to know is if your needs are met,” said Hannah Hardy, also a career specialist
at Bellevue College at the Issaquah campus. “The number one thing you can do Hannah Hardy is talk to people that are there, that are living (the career). At the same time, your values and interests change so it’s important to reflect.” Finding a career that fits your personality is key, Mouton said. She has met with employees for Microsoft and other big companies who want a career change to do something more meaningful, like work for a nonprofit. Many people are trying to find a career where they can feel more fulfilled, she said. “There are a lot of people who are really trying to do something to help people or give back to their community,” she said. “I hear this a lot, ‘What
can I do that will be helpful?’” Traditional working environments have changed dramatically in the past few decades. Work environments now include part-time, flex-time and work-from-home options, giving employees much more flexibility in balancing their interests in life. For example, workers can decline new projects, take on fewer projects or try to change work arrangements. Hardy said the shift is on the employers’ end because there are many jobs now — like Web development — that don’t require a person to go into an office. “Once upon a time, you got one job and that was your career,” Hardy said. “Now, I think you can have lots of jobs that you are managing at one time. One of the drawbacks is, there is no stability in that.” But for some, small changes in the working environment aren’t enough. Many wake-up calls can
encourage a complete career change. Whether it is the death of a close friend, a Fabienne Mouton divorce, or getting that dreaded pink slip because your company is downsizing, many professionals realize that life is too short to stay in a career that isn’t allowing them to enjoy a personal life on the side. “You will always have people who need to make a living and some of them never have the opportunity to think about something that would be meaningful for their life,” Mouton said. For those considering downshifting, it’s important to weigh how a career change will alter their lives. In addition to financial planning, downshifting may also
require going back to school. Mouton and Hardy encourage people to visit a career center if they want to make a career change. Career assessments help visitors find out their interests, values and skills and then what career fits those. “You are not old anymore at 60 or 65. You are at the beginning of a new journey,” Mouton said. “I see a lot of people just trying to see what’s next. For the first time, now I can think about myself.” Mouton and Hardy said they agree that it’s about finding your passion and what you want to do, while still being able to make ends meet. “Everyone is different. Everyone is unique,” Mouton said. “What is important is to find out what makes you unique.” This story includes information from ARAcontent.
These seven effective habits can help you to prevent hearing loss Hearing loss is common, but the perception that hearing loss is only caused by aging is incorrect. More than 36 million Americans have hearing loss. Changing lifestyle habits, and treating a variety of health conditions can help to prevent hearing loss. Seven healthy habits may help prevent or delay the onset of hearing loss.
ventable cause of hearing loss. Exposure to dangerous levels of noise can occur at work, home and in many recreational activities. Wear earplugs or earmuffs when operating loud equipment (i.e., lawn mowers, power saws, leaf blowers, etc.) or when using firearms. Buy quieter products (compare dB ratings advertised on the products — the smaller the better).
2. iPod/MP3 Players
Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common yet pre-
Listening to MP3 players at dangerous levels can cause
permanent hearing loss. You can download apps to ensure noise exposure through your iPod does not exceed dangerous decibel levels. “Volume limit” is a switch in the “settings” section of your iPhone or iPod to make sure that your hearing is protected. This allows you to set a maximum level for the volume See HEARING, Page 7 Contributed
Paying attention to a variety of factors can help people avoid hearing loss.
lifestyles of the 50+
Choose a hospital before you have an emergency Americans are faced with many purchasing choices every day. From cars to restaurant meals, informed consumers often take the opportunity to research their options before making a decision to buy an item that best fits their needs. So why not apply the same rigor when choosing a hospital? Like any other product or service, all hospital care is not equal, and not every hospital is right for every person. In fact, the quality of care you receive can have a big impact on your health, mindset and wallet. Often, people don’t realize that they can choose among the hospitals in their community in a nonemergency situation. When you can plan ahead, whether it’s a knee replacement or elective surgery, you should look for the hospital that’s right for you. Swedish/Issaquah, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital and Overlake Hospital Medical Center are the local options serving the Eastside community.
The Swedish/Issaquah campus provides a range of inpatient and outpatient services including oncology, cardiac care, primary care, 24/7 emergency room services and more. The relatively new facility, opened in November, encompasses nearly 550,000 square feet and has the capacity to hold 175 inpatient beds. Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, in Snoqualmie, provides 24/7 emergency services, infusion therapy and rehabilitation services, and is recognized statewide for its swing-bed program. Patients being discharged from a hospital, but still needing additional assistance, can benefit from this sub-acute care program. Overlake Hospital Medical Center, in Bellevue, is a 349-bed facility that offers a wide array of advanced medical services. The hospital has an emergency and trauma center, cancer center, cardiac center and more. Overlake also offers a senior health center that promotes prevention and wellness among those 65 and older.
Medicare’s Guide to Choosing a Hospital (hospitalcompare.hhs. gov) provides information on what steps to take to research and compare hospitals, including an easy-to-follow checklist that walks you through the process and highlights important questions to ask.
of the 79 million adults with pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood sugar levels. Moderate weight loss, eating healthy and exercise can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes among adults at risk for diabetes.
nonsmokers to suffer hearing loss. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke almost doubles the risk of hearing loss among adolescents. Studies show that smoking, age and noise exposure together increase the risk for hearing loss more than each of these factors alone.
5. Cardiovascular disease
Smoking is a risk factor for hearing loss. Smokers are nearly 70 percent more likely than
Not only does exercise help to prevent type 2 diabetes, but cardiovascular health and hear-
From Page 6 output of the media player and even put a four-digit code on it to keep it fixed. 3. Diabetes The National Institute of Health has found that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. Furthermore,
Compare quality of care
Weigh quality, cost, needs and how close the hospital is to you
Here are tips for choosing a hospital: Talk to your doctor Find out what hospitals your provider works with, which ones he or she think will give the best care for your condition, how well the hospital monitors and improves its quality of care, and whether it participates in Medicare. Make a checklist of your needs
Whether you are on Medicare or not, Hospital Compare is a great resource that allows you to find and compare hospitals that are close to you or across the nation. Using Hospital Compare, you can determine how often a hospital gives the right treatments for certain conditions — like heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia; the number of patients who got a knee replacement or other procedure; infection rates and more. Compare the experiences of patients
this hospital to your friends or family? Consider coverage, pricing and logistics Check with your health insurance plan to find out if you need permission before you’re admitted for nonemergency hospital care, or if you have to use certain hospitals or see certain surgeons or specialists. This could have a big impact on your choices and costs. Consider how close the hospital is to your home, family and friends; flexibility in visiting hours; and whether a family member can stay with the patient. It is important to note that in an emergency, getting the fastest treatment is usually best. Many conditions are more treatable in the minutes after they happen, such as strokes or heart attacks. Hospital Compare is not meant for use in a potential emergency.
Hospital Compare also provides information about patients’ experiences during recent hospital stays. Patients’ answers to more than two dozen questions include: ✔ How often did nurses explain things in a way you could understand? ✔ Did you get information in writing about what symptoms or health problems to watch out for once you leave the hospital? ✔ Would you recommend
Source: ARAcontent. Issaquah Press intern Christina Corrales-Toy contributed to this story.
ing health appear associated. Growing evidence suggests a link between hearing loss and poor cardiovascular health.
Excess or impacted earwax can press against the eardrum and/ or occlude the external auditory canal resulting in hearing loss.
7. See an audiologist
Don’t swab your ear canals. Earwax cleans and lubricates the skin of the ear canal and provides protection from bacteria, fungi, insects and water. Attempting to remove earwax or cleaning the ear canal with a cotton swab tends to push earwax deeper into the ear canal.
Susceptibility to hearing loss is often undiagnosed and unrecognized. Call 888-833-EARS (3277) toll free or find an audiologist in your area at www.audiologyawareness.com. Source: ARAcontent
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lifestyles of the 50+
Exercise can help maintain independence, prevent falls Jaren, director of the Issaquah Valley Senior Center. “When people work their brain and For many area seniors, staying their body to promote good balactive and exercising regularly ance, they can prevent them. doesn’t mean just a fit frame, Falls are one of the major causes it can also mean long-term of illness and surgery in older independence and a safeguard people.” against falls and Ample “We encourage exercise opportunity illness. Inactive peoprimarily to keep circula- abounds at the ple are nearly Issaquah center tion going to the body twice as likely and other local to develop and the brain. This allows facilities for heart disease as seniors to start them to keep a sense of or maintain an those who are more active, active lifestyle wellness that lifts one’s according to the well into their spirits and helps one U.S. Surgeon 70s, 80s, 90s or General’s Report actively be engaged with beyond. on Physical The center living.” Activity and offers Tai Chi, Health. yoga and Stay Lack of Active and — Courtney Jaren, director physical activIndependent for Issaquah Valley Senior Center Life, or SAIL, ity also can lead to more visits fitness classes to the doctor, each week. more hospitalA popular izations and more use of mediline-dancing class will begin cines for a variety of illnesses for again this fall after taking a seniors. short summer break. “It’s really important to keep Cost for the classes is minithem on their toes — literally — mal to the user (under $7), and to prevent falls,” said Courtney the tai chi classes are free.
By Christina Lords Issaquah Press reporter
By Greg Farrar
Ted Thomas, of Renton, does Chi Gong breathing exercises as he leads Tai Chi at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center in a weekly class. Jaren said Sit and Be Fit classes are also available for seniors facing limited mobility or those recovering from surgery. “We encourage exercise primarily to keep circulation going
to the body and the brain,” she said. “They’re very connected. This allows them to keep a sense of wellness that lifts one’s spirits and helps one actively be engaged with living. As they’re
15 minutes or less for a healthier life American baby boomers aren’t content sitting still — they live full lives working, traveling and pursuing their favorite hobbies. Age is only a number for this determined group whose population is pushing an estimated 78 million. If you are one of the many active baby boomers, you understand your health is a priority, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend long hours each day making sure you stay well. Luckily some of the best things you can do for yourself only take a matter of minutes each day. 1. Be flexible with gentle stretches Stretching might seem like a basic physical activity, but its positive effects can be substantial. Especially for boomers, stretching for five to 15 minutes each day can help keep muscles and joints flexible, and help increase overall body health. Plus, as you age stretching can help maintain your mobility levels and decrease the risks of falls. Try gentle stretches to get your blood flowing in the morning or before you take a walk. Want to try something different? Yoga blends stretching and strength for a wonderful workout for people of all ages. Time requirement: 15 minutes or less 2. Get an oil change — in your kitchen
By Greg Farrar
The Julius Boehm Pool is full of swimmers doing stretching and range-of-motion exercises during an aquatics class based on Arthritis Foundation guidelines for a low to moderate rate of intensity.
The right kinds of oils can benefit your health and wellness, and the wrong ones can put you at risk for high cholesterol, heart disease and even cancer. Cooking healthy means stocking your pantry with the right kinds of oils so you can enjoy the foods you love the right way. Two to keep on hand are extra virgin olive oil and organic grapeseed oil. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which can help boost healthy HDL cholesterol while at the same time
aging, they’re remaining independent. They’re able to stay in their own homes if they need to.” See EXERCISE, Page 9
help to reduce unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels. Lower cooking temperatures or cool/room temperature usage is best. Organic grapeseed oil has a more neutral flavor and a high smoke point, allowing for higher temperature cooking. Time requirement: five minutes or less 3. Consider taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about omega-3 essential fatty acids and their ability to prevent common disease, as well as benefit brain and overall health. Because you can only get these essential fats through what you eat, Americans often don’t get as much as they need. Include food sources like wild salmon and sardines, as well as plant sources like walnuts and flaxseeds. Luckily, you can fill a nutritional gap by incorporating a high-quality fish oil supplement into your daily routine. Time requirement: two minutes or less 4. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies each day Few foods can provide the high levels of nutrients your body needs than fresh produce, yet more than 80 percent of us are not getting enough. It’s important to aim to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables at meals every day. Try to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies daily, but don’t forget about frozen and dried options without added sugars or preservatives. The tasty options are endless — berries, apples, bananas, cherries, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, kale. Be adventurous and try a new recipe that features a veggie you’ve never had before. Or taste local flavors by visiting your neighborhood farmers market. Whether for a snack or with a meal, fresh produce is great for any baby boomer’s diet. Time requirement: five minutes or less Source: ARAcontent
lifestyles of the 50+
By Greg Farrar
Luann Sparks, Issaquah Parks & Recreation specialist at the Julius Boehm Pool, leads a three-times-weekly arthritis exercise class.
By Greg Farrar By Greg Farrar
Charlotte Crow (right) and her husband of 60 years, Leroy, do a Chi Gong breathing exercise called ‘passing clouds’ during Tai Chi class at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center.
Nobu Shearon, of Sammamish, does a Chi Gong breathing exercise during Tai Chi class.
Exercise From Page 8
By Greg Farrar
Lena Elliott, 93, a longtime class member of the exercise class, does stretches in chest-deep water.
The Mount Si Senior Center in North Bend offers a similar array of choices to keep seniors active, including SAIL classes, line dancing, various yoga classes and even a free Wii bowling class. Cost of attending a class there is $8 or less. The Sammamish Family YMCA and Snoqualmie Valley YMCA offer a litany of seniorbased classes, including gentle yoga, cardio strengthening classes, Zumba classes and swimming-centered activities.
Older adults should engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes five days a week and muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week, according to the National Institute on Aging. But NIA statistics show that less than one-third of Americans 65 and older actually meet that level. For people at any age, being active at least three days a week is best, but doing anything is better than doing nothing at all. If a senior cannot do 150 minutes a week because of a health condition, he or she is still encouraged to do as much as the condition allows.
Seniors are encouraged to try all four types of exercises — endurance, balance, flexibility and strength. The NIA recommends seniors try to do strength exercises for all major muscle groups on two or more days a week, but don’t do strength exercises of the same muscle group two days in a row. Even those with arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are able — and encouraged — to find a workout regimen that will fit within their lifestyle. In many cases, with the help and guidance of a medical professional, regular exercise can improve some of those conditions.
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lifestyles of the 50+
Learn to protect yourself from identity thieves Tommy and Susie aren’t the only ones who love Grandma and Grandpa. Identity thieves love seniors, too. Identity theft among Americans 50 and older is rising, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. In 2010, more than 3.5 million households headed by people 50 and older experienced identity theft. Identity thieves find seniors attractive targets for a number of reasons, according to the FBI, including their financial stability. Seniors are more likely to have savings, own a home and have good credit. Taking precautions can help seniors reduce their risk of identity theft. Two types of identity theft that have targeted seniors are phone scams and medical fraud. Scott Behrbaum, Issaquah Police Department patrol commander, said seniors’ family members can help by keeping a lookout for strange financial decisions or abnormal expenses. “If you feel like that you have a vulnerable adult or a senior that could be taken advantage of, you need to pay attention to the finances and keep an eye out for those abnormal expenses,” he said. “It might just be $500 here and $500 there, but that adds up real quick.” The FBI advises seniors to be wary of telemarketers and phone solicitations, since money lost through a phone call is very difficult to get back. The bureau recommends taking precautions when doing business over the phone, including: ✔ Asking for written material before committing to any charitable request or special offer. If you receive written material, review it with someone you trust.
Be wary when using a computer for purchases. ✔ Avoid dealing with companies you don’t know, and research unfamiliar companies through consumer agencies like the Better Business Bureau, state attorney general or National Fraud Information Center. ✔ Know who you’re talking to. Ask for the person’s full name, business title, phone number, physical address, mailing address and business license number. Verify the information before any transactions take place. ✔ Don’t pay in advance for services, and be wary of highpressure tactics that require you to act immediately in order to receive a special price or offer. Behrbaum encourages seniors to use tools available to them to help research possible email and phone scams. In April, seniors in neighboring Sammamish got caught in a scam after a person called and claimed to be a relative stuck overseas and in need of emergency financial assistance. “Verify the information before you respond to an email
or phone call,” he added. “That’s one of the first things. Call us if you have any doubts or questions about the validity of these people, and always ask for a contact number to call back. Do your research, either through the Internet or call a family member to verify.” Medical fraud is another area of particular risk for seniors, who tend to have more doctor visits, hospital trips and prescriptions, and Medicare can be confusing and complicated. It’s important to protect your identity by guarding Medicare and health insurance information, just as you would your bank account number or Social Security number. The FBI offers these tips for avoiding health insurance fraud: ✔ Never sign blank claim forms or give a medical provider blanket authorization to bill for services. ✔ Make sure you understand what your medical providers will charge and how much of it you will be expected to pay out of pocket. Review your coverage
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with your health insurance company so you understand what your financial responsibilities are. ✔ Don’t do business with anyone selling medical equipment door-to-door or over the phone, or who tell you that you can get services or equipment for free. ✔ Provide your insurance or Medicare information only to those who have given you a medical service. ✔ Keep accurate records of all your medical appointments and prescriptions. “When in doubt, call the police,” Behrbaum said. “We’d rather look into something that turns out to be nothing than have to investigate that major, life-impacting crime, like bilking somebody out of thousands of dollars,” he added later. If you’re having trouble keeping track of your medical information, ask for help from a trusted friend or family member. Navigating Medicare, health insurance and health care can be challenging. Getting assistance and staying on top of your medical information are key steps toward protecting your identity, and help minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Moreover, these problems are not limited entirely to seniors. “It’s not just seniors. We’re seeing a lot of identity theft, fraud among anyone who is willing to respond to the emails and the phone calls,” Behrbaum said. “These people are going to try to take advantage of people who live in our town.” Source: ARAcontent/Issaquah Press reporter Warren Kagarise contributed to this story.
Check out local senior centers Issaquah Valley Senior Center 75 N.E. Creek Way, Issaquah 392-2381 www.issaquahseniorcenter.org Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays Membership: Annual dues are $12 per person. Adults ages 55 and up do not have to be members to participate in center activities and programs Services include: ✔ health insurance counseling ✔ legal assistance ✔ health clinics ✔ classes ✔ weekly day trips
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411 Main Ave. S., North Bend 888-3434 www.mtsi-seniorcenter.org Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thrift store hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday Services include: ✔ bingo ✔ trips ✔ seniorcize ✔ yarn therapy ✔ movies
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lifestyles of the 50+
Garden with the grandkids With the grandchildren out of school for the summer, invite them over for some gardening fun. All they need is a pair of gloves and sunblock. Grandparents make great teachers! Here are some ideas: ✔ Plant part identification — Use a flower or tree to start with the basics. Work from the ground up, and have children wiggle their toes deep into the soil to demonstrate how roots stabilize plants. Have them wave their arms to show the supporting stems and branches. Sprinkle a bit of water to demonstrate the water coming into the plant through its roots. ✔ Building blocks — Identifying
✔ Soil — Most plants need soil to find enough nutrients. But there are some plants that survive well with minimal soil. Take children for a walk and see if they can find plants growing in strange places — a dandelion between sidewalk cracks or a tree that appears to be growing directly out of a rock. This can start a good conversation about where these plants are finding nutrients to survive.
Gardening with children can teach them about nature and still leave time to play. plants ties in well with showing what plants need to grow strong. Some places to start:
✔ Food — Plants get food and water through the roots. Food comes in the form of nutrients found in the soil. Many gardeners enhance the soil with plant food. Do a simple comparison by feeding one potted plant, but not another. See which one grows bigger, has more flowers, gets greener leaves or produces more fruits or veggies.
✔ Water — Mother Nature usually does a good job of providing plants the water they need. Install a water gauge in the garden to help measure the rain that Mother Nature sends. Let kids help water or set up a sprinkling system for the days that lack rain. If a plant has drooping leaves or limbs, water thoroughly and see how long it takes the plant to perk back up and recover. Talk about how this is similar to playing a game of kickball or soccer without drinking water. ✔ Sunlight — Photosynthesis is a big word for small children, and the chemical result of chlorophyll in the leaves taking the sun’s energy and converting it into sugar might be a little much for youngsters. But you can educate them about how plants need sun. If there is a
potted plant inside your home leaning toward a window, ask children to rotate the plant so it leans away from the window, and then watch the plant for a couple of days. Soon you’ll notice the plant is standing more upright, or even leaning again toward the window. What are the leaves doing with all that sunlight? Like a chef uses ingredients to make a meal, a plant uses chlorophyll (the stuff that makes leaves green) to convert sunlight to energy (sugar). This “energy” can be used by the plant or used by us when we eat the fruits, veggies or leaves of the plant. Eat some plant parts and see which taste more sugary: carrots (roots), lettuce (leaves), asparagus (stems), corn (seeds) or apples (fruit). Source: ARAcontent
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lifestyles of the 50+
lifestyles of the 50+