Lifelong Journey A SENIOR-ORIENTED PUBLICATION FOR THE NORTH OLYMPIC PENINSULA
Carolyn Morillo continues to trek across the Peninsula
Benefits help lift financial burdens for families
Intimacy can continue with certain adaptations A special supplement produced by Peninsula Daily News and Sequim Gazette
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FEBRUARY 2017 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 1
VETERANS' AID Nancy Krieg discusses the ‘well-kept secret’ of Aid & Attendance
SIMPLIFYING TASKS Seniors can take several steps toward downsizing their lifestyles by making a few easy changes
SEXUAL HEALTH Local OB/GYN says intimacy can continue as people age with just a few discussions and adaptations
CONSTANTLY COLD Learn how seniors can address their frequent feelings of coldness
PEAKS OF INTEREST An 87-year-old reflects on her love of hiking through the years
EXERCISE + ARTHRITIS Fitness plays a vital role in reducing painful symptoms
MAKING FRIENDS We have some tips for those who are looking to develop new relationships
Lifelong Journey A SENIOR-ORIENTED PUBLICATION
FOR THE NORTH OLYMPIC PENINSULA
Carolyn Morillo continues to trek across the Peninsula
ON THE COVER Carolyn Morillo gears up for a hike outside her Freshwater Bay home near Port Angeles.
Benefits help lift financial burdens for families
Intimacy can continue with certain adaptations A special supplement produced by Peninsula Daily News and Sequim Gazette
PHOTO BY Laura Lofgren
Do you have a story idea for the next edition of Lifelong Journey? Email llofgren@ peninsuladailynews. com to pitch it!
RECIPE These easy-to-make Hello Dolly Bars are great to share with friends and family, no matter the occasion.
RELATIONSHIPS Senior Information Director Mark Harvey discuss the challenges and changes of new romances LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 5
Veterans Aid and Attendance:
The Well-Kept Secret
by Nancy Krieg When I sit down with a family to discuss their need for assisted living, I always ask them if they or a spouse has served in the military. Often, the answer is yes. I immediately become excited because I am about to share a wonderful secret with them, one that can make the extra care they need possible and lift a financial burden from their shoulders. This well-kept secret is the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit. According to data from the department of Veterans Affairs (VA), of the country’s nearly 22 million veterans, fewer than 122,000 veterans and 124,000 surviving spouses receive Aid and Attendance. Combined, that’s less than 1.2 percent. Much of the $6 billion dollars budgeted for pension benefits each year goes uncollected by those who served their country. This is money that could make life so much easier for veterans and their surviving spouses by helping to cover the cost of senior and assisted living care. The Aid and Attendance Pension was established in 1952 to provide financial assistance to wartime veterans and their surviving spouses who lack the funds necessary to pay for the care they require with routine activities of daily living, such as medication management, dressing, mobility, meal preparation, bathing and more. Care can be provided at home, in an independent living
facility, an assisted living facility or a nursing home, and the care can be provided by relatives or professional staff. By accessing this pension, you will be able to increase your dollars available to pay for care or move into the type of facility where you can receive the services you need. This pension is received monthly and is paid directly into the veteran’s or surviving spouse’s bank account. It is completely tax free.
HOW MUCH CAN VETERANS RECEIVE EVERY MONTH?
According to American Veterans Care Connection (AVCC), a pair of married veterans can receive Aid and Attendance benefits up to $2,847 (based on the 2016 maximum amounts). Married veterans with a nonveteran spouse could receive up to $2,120 per month; a single veteran could receive up to $1,788 per month; and a surviving spouse, up to $1,149 per month. One of the best parts of the Aid and Attendance benefit is that the care and medical expenses don’t need to be service related.
Military history: Veterans must have served 90 days active duty with one day during a period of war; general or medical military discharge is required. VETERANS CONTINUED on 13 >>
Lifelong Journey February 2017 Published by PENINSULA DAILY NEWS and SEQUIM GAZETTE peninsuladailynews.com | sequimgazette.com
Peninsula Daily News: 305 W. First St., Port Angeles, WA 98362 | 360.452.2345 Sequim Gazette: 147 W. Washington St., Sequim, WA 98382 | 360.683.3311 Terry R. Ward • regional publisher Steve Perry • general manager Patricia Morrison Coate, Brenda Hanrahan, Laura Lofgren • special sections editors 6 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
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Olympic Medical Physicians is a division of Olympic Medical Center. Visit OlympicMedical.org for more information. LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 7
Seniors can simplify everyday tasks by MetroCreative The ability to perform everyday tasks is something many people take for granted. But as men and women approach or exceed retirement age, many may start to struggle with chores and tasks they have performed for decades. Physical limitations are a common side effect of aging. But such limitations do not have to prove too big a hurdle for seniors to clear. In fact, there are many ways for seniors to simplify everyday tasks while maintaining their independence.
Even the proudest Luddites cannot deny technology’s potential to make seniors’ lives easier. Seemingly simple tasks like shopping for groceries and vacuuming a home can be difficult for seniors with dwindling or limited mobility. But seniors with Internet access in their homes can order their groceries online and then pick them up instore or have them delivered, saving them the trouble of walking around the store. With regard to vacuuming, autonomous vacuum
Aging men and women may find that technology helps them simplify their everyday lives.
cleaners have removed the need to use traditional vacuum cleaners. Certain autonomous vacuums employ sensors to detect dirty spots on the floor, and these vacuums can even be programmed to clean the home while residents are out of the house.
Tasks associated with personal hygiene also tend to be taken for granted until they become difficult. But a few simple bathroom alterations can help seniors safely navigate the bathrooms in their homes so they can maintain their personal hygiene without fear of injury. Grab bars can be installed on shower walls so seniors can safely get in and out of their showers and bathtubs. Such bars are both effective and inexpensive, and some do not even require any drilling to install.
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TASKS CONTINUED on 9 >> 721772515
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<< TASKS CONTINUED from 8
Specialty grab bars, tub grips and tub transfer benches are just a few additional products that can make bathing easier for seniors who have lost or are starting to lose some of their physical strength.
GET ‘SMART’ ON THE ROAD
Seniors who are experiencing mild difficulty driving can make getting about town that much easier by plugging their smartphones into their vehicles or making use of the various apps that have become standard in modern vehicles. For example, the maps app on a smartphone can be connected to a car and direct seniors to their destinations, saving them the trouble of remembering all the ins and outs of how to get a particular destination. Seniors also can employ apps to help them find their vehicles should they forget exactly where they parked in crowded parking lots. Such apps can increase seniors’ comfort levels on the road while helping them maintain their independence.
Whether downsizing to a smaller home or simply downsizing a lifestyle, seniors may find that living smaller is akin to living simpler.
Empty-nesters may find they no longer need several bedrooms in their homes, and moving into smaller homes can reduce their daily workloads while also clearing out clutter that can make performing everyday chores more difficult. Men and women accustomed to hustle and bustle may also find that cutting back on professional and/or personal commitments gives them more energy for everyday activities while enriching the commitments they continue to maintain. Aging men and women can employ various strategies to simplify their lives and maintain their independence well into their golden years.
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Sexuality & Senior Women
Intimacy can continue throughout life with certain adaptations story and photo by Patricia Morrison Coate According to the National Institute on Aging, the average age of menopause for American women is 51. But even with lowered estrogen and progesterone levels, women can remain sexually active well into their senior years. “I have 90-year-olds who are still intimate — sex isn’t just something for 30-year-olds,” said Dr. Sheena Plamoottil, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Olympic Medical Physicians in Port Angeles and Sequim. “Intimacy is something that can be continued throughout life but it can require adaptors to how the body has changed.” Plamoottil, a 30-year-old herself, said she spends many appointments talking to postmenopausal women about sexuality, both for clinical and emotional issues. “The specialty of treating postmenopausal women — it’s new territory for a lot of women — and I enjoy being their confidante and helping them navigate the new issues that come up as we age,” Plamoottil said.
“I think menopause is the biggest thing — the changes that a woman’s 10 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
body goes through affects her sexuality with estrogen and progesterone levels decreasing, but mainly estrogen,” Plamoottil explained. “The hormone replacement conversation is a very individualized one to have between the patient and the provider because there are risks but benefits as well. “As a team, we decide if the patient is a good candidate for hormones, which are used to treat hot flashes, night sweats and just not feeling like herself. Menopause is significantly life-altering.” Plamoottil said on the clinical or physical side of sexuality, the most common issues her older patients bring up are vaginal dryness, orthopedic issues related to painful positions during intercourse and vaginal prolapse issues, all of which can preclude an enjoyable sex life. “The lack of estrogen in the vagina decreases lubrication so women can be at risk for more vaginal infections, painful intercourse and bleeding,” Plamoottil said. “I first suggest a water-based lubricant because it tends to dry out the vagina less compared to oilbased ones. “There are other conservative
measures for local therapies, like vaginal estrogen for atrophy.” Both a woman’s uterus or bladder can prolapse or slip forward or down, leading to an uncomfortable pelvic floor sensation. “We have the option of physical therapy (exercises) to pessaries, (elastic or rigid devices that are inserted into the vagina to support the uterus) to surgical management,” Plamoottil explained. “Patients feel a bulge down there, a feeling to have to push it in with a feeling to urinate or defecate. “I just operated on a 90-year-old with a prolapse, so anything is possible.” Plamoottil stressed that vaginal bleeding in a postmenopausal woman is a clarion call to make an appointment with her gynecologist. “It’s something that should be talked about because it could be endometrial cancer,” she said, reminding women to continue to have regular checkups and exams as they age.
“I find that a lot of women are afraid to talk about sex issues so, they don’t seek help when they are uncomfortable,” Plamoottil said.
‘I find that a lot
of women are afraid to talk about sex issues, so they don’t seek help when they are uncomfortable’ “They’re ‘putting up’ and not reaching their potential. “As they age, their bodies as women change so much and if they can’t reconcile the changes, that keeps them from exploring their sexuality as being older women.” Add on top of that the tendency for a woman’s partner to die before she does and perhaps entering a new late-in-life relationship, there are touchy topics she may be reluctant to discuss, but Plamoottil said she encourages her patients to bring them out in the open. “As partners die and women find new partners and start new relationships, it’s important to be open with their partners with concerns, discomfort and medical issues that might preclude intercourse,” Plamoottil said. “As a woman with no partner now, it’s also time to discuss selfstimulation with your physician. It becomes a ‘use it or lose it’ function, and you may need to talk about a dilator with physical therapy and local estrogen.” The key to extending sexuality as women age is maintaining a good normal weight and eating healthy, Plamoottil advised. “That can contribute to body image and going forward with intimacy,” she said, “and being aware of body changes that might not seem right to you. “I spend a lot of time talking with
Dr. Sheena Plamoottil encourages postmenopausal women, as they age, to share their concerns about the physical and emotional issues of their sexuality with a gynecologist.
my patients, and I really believe the patient and provider should be a team relationship about what’s best for that patient.” Sheena Plamoottil, M.D., graduated from the Creighton University
School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb., in 2012 and practices obstetrics/ gynecology with the Olympic Medical Physicians group. Reach her in her Port Angeles or Sequim office at 360-417-7365. LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 11
6 myths associated with menopause At some point in a woman’s life she will enter into a period called menopause. Unlike what the name might suggest, menstruation does not “pause” upon entering menopause. Rather, it ceases to occur from this point on, ending the fertile, reproductive time for females. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) says menopause typically begins around age 51. It also may be induced through medical intervention at an earlier age. Women are encouraged to discuss menopause with their healthcare providers so they can better understand their bodies. That’s especially important since certain myths about menopause still prevail.
Menopause is a disease. Menopause is an inevitable part of aging and a process that occurs naturally and spontaneously. Menopause affects each woman differently. While some women struggle with any number of symptoms, others may feel as if their lives have not changed much at all since entering menopause.
Menopause happens suddenly. Women do not wake up one day and discover they have entered menopause. Doctors at the Menopause Center at Texas Children’s Hospital’s Pavilion for Women say that menopause is characterized by a subtle fluctuation of hormones that will gradually lead to menopause. Unless menopause results from a hysterectomy procedure or another medical intervention, it should happen slowly over the course of a few years. The period leading up to a last menstrual period is called perimenopause.
Menopause means gaining weight. Many women gain weight after menopause, and hormonal changes can affect the body’s metabolism. However, weight gain can be controlled. A 2003 study from researchers at the Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh studied 535 premenopausal women who were followed throughout menopause. The study discovered that, after five years, women were able to remain at or below their baseline weight by following a strict diet and exercising regularly. Women generally need to cut their calorie intake by 200 calories after reaching menopause to keep weight down.
All hormone replacement therapies are the same. NAMS says it is now believed that women who have had a hysterectomy can take estrogen alone, but those who still have a uterus need progestogen added to protect against endometrial cancer. Doctors can work with women to customize hormone replacement therapies to reduce risks.
Hot flashes are unavoidable. Hormonal shifts trigger hot flashes in many menopausal women. However, hot flashes may vary in frequency and intensity depending on the individual. In addition, Dr. Sheryl Ross, OB/GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., said the first two or three years of menopause tend to be the worst for hot flashes. After those initial two or three years, hot flashes may lessen in intensity or become less frequent.
Perimenopause eliminates pregnancy risk. A woman is not totally protected from an unplanned pregnancy until a year has passed since her most recent menstrual cycle. Even if periods are infrequent or unreliable, the NAMS advises that women choose another effective method of birth control if they do not want another pregnancy.
12 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
Menopause can be a confusing time for women, as it involves changes to the body women have not yet experienced. Women can combat that confusion by discussing their symptoms or concerns with their physicians.
<< VETERANS CONTINUED from 6
Medical needs: The veteran or spouse must have physical or mental conditions that require the assistance of another individual on a regular basis. Income considerations: If care expenses exceed income, the maximum benefit will be awarded. Most individuals receiving senior care meet this qualification. Net worth: Allowable net worth is based on individual circumstances. Assets can be no more than $80,000. Since this amount is calculated by deducting all recurring medical expenses and costs of care from total income, applicants with widely varying income levels may qualify. Surviving spouse: A spouse must have been married to the veteran until death in order to qualify.
PREPARING YOUR AID AND ATTENDANCE APPLICATION Even when someone meets all the
qualification requirements, the Aid and Attendance application must still be completed properly. Any mistakes made at this stage could prevent him or her from receiving benefits in a timely manner. While you might expect a phone call to the VA office would provide
callers with accurate assistance, sadly, it is often the opposite. According to the department's own data, people who call them are more likely than not to receive incorrect information. VETERANS CONTINUED on 14 >>
Online: homeinstead.com/olypen LIFELONG JOURNEY â€˘ FEBRUARY 2017 13
<< VETERANS CONTINUED from 13
To ensure their applications are prepared correctly, I encourage my families to seek assistance from private companies that charge no fee for guiding people through the process, such as the AVCC (www.avcc homecare.com). Another resource that my families have used with great success is Aaron Steele (www.americanabp.com). They will help with collection and completion of required documents, filling out forms and direction to help prevent a denial. All of this is helpful in shortening the process time from application to approval. I work with families every day who are going through the emotional transition to senior care, and part of my job is to help them find the best solution for their family. As they enter the phase of their lives when they need extra help or nursing care, affordability can become a concern. My first question is not do you have any savings or did you invest in long term care insurance, but are you or your spouse a veteran. Aid and Attendance benefits can be the key factor that enables a veteran or spouse to afford extra care or senior living, according to the AVCC. Whether you are a family member, caregiver, medical
Aid and Attendance benefits can be the key factor that enables a veteran or spouse to afford extra care. professional or concerned community member, find out whether the seniors you know are veterans or surviving spouses, and then help them get the benefits they deserve. I have seen this benefit change lives, and it has become a passion for me to make sure that seniors who are eligible for this benefit because of their service to our country get the assistance they deserve. Nancy Krieg is community relations manager for Victoria Place, an assisted living community located in Port Townsend. She works with families helping them to find solutions for their loved ones when home is no longer an option. She can be reached at 360-531-2261.
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How seniors can address their frequent feelings of coldness by MetroCreative As people age, many report feeling chilly even when the temperature outside is warm. Studies have shown that older people are more likely to have slightly colder body temperatures than their younger counterparts. Feeling cold can be the result of the natural aging process, or it may be symptomatic of a medical condition. Understanding the reasons behind chilliness can help people take proper action. Aging adults can feel cold for various reasons. As people age, their metabolisms slow down, leading to decreased energy. During times of low energy output, one can feel cold. The American Geriatric Society Foundation for Health suggests that individuals with slower metabolisms may not produce enough heat from their own bodies to stay warm. Circulation issues also may be a concern. As people age, the walls of their blood vessels may lose their elasticity, negatively affecting circulation as a result. Vasoreceptors also may no longer be as quick to direct blood vessels in order to constrict to keep body temperature up. Inadequate fat storage also may be a contributor. Older people generally have less subcutaneous fat stores and muscle mass, both of which can insulate their bodies from cold weather. As a result, they may have trouble regulating body temperature. Exercise and healthy eating may help remedy this situation.
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Certain medical conditions or medications may be to blame, too. SUNY Upstate Medical University offers that some drugs — like beta blockers — can decrease heart rate, which can reduce circulation to the extremities. High cholesterol levels can impair blood flow. Hypothyroidism, or an underperforming thyroid, also can affect a person's ability to regulate body temperature. It’s imperative that people speak with their doctors to rule out any medical conditions or medication issues that may be contributing to their feelings of being cold. The following are some additional steps aging men and women can take to stay warm. • Make sure you are at a healthy weight for your gender and age. • Get the cardiovascular system pumping by exercising more.
LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 15
peaks of interest At 87, Carolyn Morillo continues to trek across the North Olympic Peninsula story by Laura Lofgren Tucked back on a cul-de-sac near Freshwater Bay, Carolyn Morillo lives in a Pacific Northwesterner’s dream home — on the smaller side but with a large yard surrounded by evergreens and clear skies, far enough away from neighbors but close enough for one to borrow a cup of sugar. She has the birds she admires daily, and she has her love of books, a constant connection with family and the Klahhane Club of Port Angeles to keep her in touch with one of her favorite activities — hiking. 16 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
Carolyn, who grew up on Steilacoom Lake south of Tacoma, has family strewn about the states. At the prompting of her daughterin-law, Carolyn bought an Apple computer so she can Facetime with her family. “There’s lots of ways of keeping contact now. It used to be the letter. [But] my mother had a rule: The handwritten note is required,” Carolyn said. Carolyn’s eldest son, Stephen, lives in Indiana, teaching history at Wabash College. Her youngest,
John, is in Raleigh, N.C., working as a professor of English. Needless to say, the Morillo family is one of academia. Growing up on a lake post-Great Depression, Carolyn had a quiet, small-town life where she was able to appreciate her natural surroundings. “It was a relaxed, very pleasant way to grow up. What’s not to like?,” she said. “I loved getting up early in the morning before anybody else was up, and you go down to the lake and it would be glass smooth.
“I’d watch the dragonflies.” Carolyn’s favorite subjects in school were history, biology and reading. “My mother was always a great reader,” she said. “A reward was always ‘Here have a book.’” After high school, Carolyn went one year to Stanford, but because of the cost, she transferred to the University of Washington (UW), where she would go on to major in philosophy and psychology. During her time at UW, Carolyn met a fellow philosophy major, who also loved hiking and the outdoors. They married and lived for a bit up at Mount Rainier. “That’s my mountain,” she reminisced. She’s climbed it three times. They then moved to Aspen for a spell, but that marriage soon dissolved, and Carolyn returned to UW to get her master’s degree. She then moved on to the University of Michigan in 1955, where she would pursue a doctorate and where she met her husband, Marvin, who was in the Ph.D. program in English. During this time, Carolyn and Marvin had their first son, Stephen, in Ann Arbor. Marvin was offered a job at Tulane University in New Orleans, and the couple moved to Louisiana, where Carolyn would finish her dissertation and teach at University of New Orleans. She taught a lot of students who were the first in their families to go to college, and she saw many succeed and many who she would never see again. Awhile after their second son, John, was born, the academia couple with their two children would pack up their car every summer and take off on their family vacation. “We’d put all of the camping gear into the car and leave,” Carolyn said. “I think we’ve camped in every state in the country.”
Photo by Martha Moyer
Carolyn Morillo hikes Mount Baker — which has an elevation of 10,781 feet — in August 2016.
By the 1990s, and with the kids grown up and starting their own lives, the Morillos decided it was time to move. Marvin retired first, with Carolyn shortly thereafter. They used to visit family in western Washington, so Carolyn thought moving to the state would be good. “I’m a Westerner! Where are my mountains?” she said. But there were grumbles about the copious amounts of rainfall. Marvin suddenly suggested Port Angeles, and Carolyn was sold immediately on the idea. They moved to Freshwater Bay in 1994. “It’s just a wonderful area to be in,” Carolyn said. “I can hear the birds breathing.” Now fully on a retirement schedule, the Morillos were able to do a lot of traveling that had been difficult due to their academic schedule. They went on long excursions that included Egypt and China.
But before the long trips, Carolyn wanted to know more about the hiking around here. “I think I asked a real estate agent if anybody around here went hiking and she mentioned the Klahhane Club,” Carolyn said. After some initial hikes with the club, Carolyn was a full-fledged member and ended up serving in the club in a variety of roles, including president, over the years. “The club’s been through different phases,” she smiled. Carolyn has hiked all over the Peninsula, from quick jaunts around Lake Crescent to five-day backpacking adventures. The club hiked all over Olympic National Park, she said, to places like the Dosewallips River area and Hurricane Ridge, but less so on the West End. They have hikes plenty of western beaches, though Carolyn says those are some of the tougher ones these days, what with the rocky beaches and colder winds.
“I’m a Westerner! Where are my mountains?”
LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 17
It’s your brain that hears. Not your ears.
Morillo throws her hands up in a "faux celebration of what is clearly not a true summit of anything" during an August 2016 Mount Baker trek. Photo by Martha Moyer
It’s your brain that hears. Not your ears. By this time, Marvin wasn’t that interested in going for hikes. But, being a pretty decent chef, he did make plenty of meals for the club’s monthly potlucks. According to Carolyn, other club members were always excited to try something Marvin made.
“I’m just a consumer!,” Carolyn laughed. Marvin passed away in December 2015 from an injury sustained in a fall, but Carolyn makes an effort to produce meals similar to his, eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and seafood.
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Today, Carolyn is taking it a bit easier than she did when she first joined the Klahhane Club. “I’m really in a tapering off phase,” she said. “I’m at the stage where I’m both more cautious and don’t have as good balance and I’m saying ‘Don’t break something; don’t be stupid. “Time was [when I said] ‘Sure! I could keep up with them and chatter away.’ [But I’ve] definitely slowed down in a sense that I try to be fair to the club.” And, she chuckled, “I’m not as enthusiastic to hike on a rainy day anymore.” In her earlier days of hiking, Carolyn said is was the socializing part she really enjoyed. Now that she’s slowed down, the group “spreads out and suddenly [you] realize this is very nice.” “I’m noticing things I wouldn’t have noticed before, so it’s very much being out in nature,” she said. The Klahhane Club was organized in 1915 and has its own clubhouse at Lake Dawn, where potluck meetings are held in the warmer months. The club has more than 150 members, with a typical hike attracting anywhere from six to 20 hikers, according to their website, www. klahhaneclub.org. Although active hikers average 60 years old, anyone 18 or older is welcome to join. Day hikes range from 2-mile easy strolls to 16 miles in steep terrain. The club hikes year round in the Olympic Mountains
Photo by Sandra Vahsholtz
Carolyn Morillo poses next to the Elwha River in what was formerly Lake Aldwell. Not too long after the lake was drained, the mud on top of the stump is what was left after the water level dropped in April 2012.
and other destinations on the North Olympic Peninsula. For more information on joining the Klahhane Club, Morillo encourages fun-seekers to attend a few “get acquainted” hikes. Once you’ve made the decision to join, there is an application process. After completing six qualifying hikes, the membership chair will introduce you at the next monthly club meeting and you are now a member. For a complete breakdown of the application process, visit www.klahhane club.org/getstarted.html. Brown’s Outdoors in Port Angeles also has Klahhane Club information.
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Exercise and arthritis by MetroCreative Across the country, more than 50 million people are living with doctordiagnosed arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, which projects that figure will rise to 67 million by the year 2030. Simply put, arthritis is a significant problem, one that can not only affect a person's quality of life, but also his or her pocketbook, as the Arthritis Foundation notes that working-age men and women (those between the ages of 18 and 64) who contend with arthritis are less likely to be employed than people of the same age who do not have arthritis. Arthritis is not only bad for employees but also for employers, as it accounts for $156 billion annually in lost wages and medical expenses. Exercise may be the last thing on
many arthritis sufferers’ minds, but exercise can play a vital role in reducing the often painful symptoms associated with arthritis. Among its other benefits, exercise can strengthen the muscles around arthritic joints and help men and women maintain bone strength. In addition, the Mayo Clinic noted that lack of exercise can make joints feel more painful and stiff, as a sedentary lifestyle will ultimately contribute to putting more stress on joints. Upon being diagnosed with arthritis, patients should speak with their physicians about the best way to use exercise to combat and relieve their symptoms. Some patients may require physical therapy, while others might be able to work with their physicians
to develop an exercise regimen that can help reduce the severity of their symptoms and any pain that accompanies those symptoms. The following are some types of exercises that figure to play a strong role in managing arthritis and improving quality of life. Aerobic exercises: Low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking and swimming, can help arthritis sufferers alleviate their symptoms and improve their overall health. Arthritis sufferers who have not exercised in awhile because of their pain may have gained weight as a result, and aerobic exercise is a great way to shed extra pounds. Losing excess weight is a great way to make physical activity less taxing on your joints as well. ARTHRITIS CONTINUED on 24 >>
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• Layer clothing until you feel comfortable so that you are not adjusting the thermostat as frequently. • Wear a vest to keep your chest warm to prevent heat being drawn from the extremities. Often the body will sacrifice heat in the hands and
feet to keep its core warm. • Invest in wool socks and blankets, as wool will help wick away moisture from the body. Feeling cold is usually nothing out of the ordinary when a person gets older. Fortunately, there are ways that older men and women can stay warm.
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Making friends after a move Getting out of one’s comfort zone isn’t always easy, but we have some tips to make a smooth transition by MetroCreative Downsizing and other life changes often find seniors leaving their comfort zones to move to new neighborhoods or regions of the country. It can be difficult to leave those comfort zones behind, especially when it means saying goodbye to close friends or family members. Establishing new social circles as a senior can be challenging. But with a little effort and the right attitude, seniors can meet new people and enjoy the excitement that comes with new friendships.
JOIN A CLUB
If you have a particular hobby or interest, rekindle it in your new location. 22 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
Find a local gardening club, church-sponsored organization or fitness center where you can meet like-minded men and women. Ask the real estate agent who helped you relocate to make suggestions on where to find community information and read community notices in the local newspaper.
GET A DOG
Dogs make great companions inside of the house and also serve as an ice breaker when you are outdoors. Take plenty of walks and take advantage of opportunities for conversation when people come up to you to inquire about your dog. Explain your situation, and you may make some new friends along the way. FRIENDS CONTINUED on 24 >>
RECIPE: HELLO DOLLY BARS by Laura Lofgren These Hello Dolly Bars were ﬁrst introduced to me back when I was a sophomore in college by a former boyfriend's mother. She loved baking and insisted on passing down this recipe to me once I exclaimed how much I enjoyed them. My never-to-be mother-in-law said her mother had passed down the recipe to her when she was about my age at the time. While not the healthiest dessert you can add to your recipe arsenal, these bars are easy to make and great for family get-togethers and holidays. I used low-fat condensed milk for the bars pictured here. I also made some modiﬁcations to the hand-written recipe to balance out the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350°F, and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Melt the butter in a 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the Ingredients melted butter and mix well, forming a base. ¼ pounds of butter Drizzle half the can of condensed milk over 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs graham cracker base. 1 cup shredded coconut Add in layers of the coconut, chocolate chips, 1 cup butterscotch chips butterscotch chips and nuts. 1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts Drizzle the rest of the can of milk over the top. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. also are good) Remove from oven and let cool completely. 1 cup chocolate chips 1 can condensed milk Cut into 12 bars.
LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 23
<< ARTHRITIS CONTINUED from 20
Range-of-motion: Range-of-motion exercises are typically simple and don’t take much time, but when done correctly, such exercises can be very effective at relieving the stiffness associated with arthritis. A physician or physical therapist might advise you to do range-of-motion exercises each day, and you may even need to do them a few times each day. Adhere to this advice, continuing to perform the exercises as long as your doctor or physical therapist deems them necessary. Strength training: As previously noted, arthritis sufferers may feel as though lifting weights will only exacerbate their existing symptoms. But strength training will strengthen the muscles around the joints, providing more support for those joints and ultimately reducing symptoms of pain. Speak with your physician or physical therapist about appropriate strength-training activities and the importance of rest.
<< FRIENDS CONTINUED from 22
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
Many people make new friends through volunteering. Volunteer and you’re likely to meet people who share the same interests as you. Sign up with a favorite charity or volunteer at nonprofit events and look for familiar faces. Start talking to those people you meet again and again.
PARTICIPATE IN CHURCH EVENTS
Places of religious worship are
often cornerstones of a community, and they frequently host different events to get parishioners or members together. Read the bulletin and get involved in potlucks, retreats, movie nights and other church-sponsored events.
WORK AT A SCHOOL
Schools also serve as hubs of community activity. Volunteer or work for a local school and you will soon find yourself immersed in your community’s weekday hustle and bustle. This is a great way to meet people and learn more about your new
HOST YOUR OWN PARTY
Go out on a limb and plan a “new to the neighborhood” party. Put invitations in neighbors’ mailboxes and invite everyone over for snacks and cocktails. Remember, neighbors may be just as nervous about new faces as you are, and a party is a great way to break the ice. Change can be hard for seniors starting out in new communities. With some gumption and a few strategies to get started, anyone can expand their circle of friends.
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If you experience any pain during strength-training sessions, stop immediately and report the pain to your physician. More information about managing arthritis can be found at www.arthritis.org.
Did You Know? Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that occurs when a person loses too much bone, produces too little bone or both. Though the disease is most often associated with women older than 50, anyone can suffer from osteoporosis, which weakens bones and can make them more susceptible to breaks. Exercise is a great way for men and women to build and maintain strong bones in an attempt to prevent the onset of osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), weight-bearing exercises can help build and maintain bone density. But the NOF notes that men and women who have suffered broken bones due to osteoporosis or those at risk of such breaks may need to avoid high-impact weight-bearing exercises, which include dancing, hiking, jogging and jumping rope, among others. For those whose physicians suggest they avoid high-impact weight-bearing exercises, lowimpact weight-bearing exercises can help them strengthen their bones. Such exercises may involve low-impact aerobics and using cardiovascular machines, like elliptical trainers, stair-step machines and treadmills. Additional exercises that can benefit men and women looking to prevent or combat osteoporosis can be found at www.nof.org. Thinking of â€” MetroCreative
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NEW RELATIONSHIPS can mean GOOD CHANGES for all involved I
by Mark Harvey
realize that it’s become fashionable for almost all of us to disagree on almost everything, but here’s something that I think almost all of us can agree upon: change is the only constant. True, the sun does seem to come up with impressive regularity, and we can grant the usual nods to death and taxes, but most of us — if asked directly — would agree: change is indeed the only constant. We have multitudes of little sayings and clichés handed down from generation to generation that declare our universal experience of “change:” It’s constant, it’s perpetual, and we should Mark Harvey accept and embrace it as the defining factor of the human experience. So, we all agree! Except, that almost none of us do. Yeah, we “know” that about change, but most of us spend most of our lives resisting it or trying to minimize it, except when we’re not. Most of us are usually working to change something (or someone) “for the better,” which we accept as “right,” but we’d like to keep the parts of life we like the same — “I don’t want this to change, because I really like it.” Maybe I “love” it, but we’ll get back to that. So, we accept the inevitability of change and pursue it, except when we don’t, sometimes; so there we are! And what sense did all that gobbledygook make? Probably very little, but it sets the stage pretty well for the topic I was asked to expound upon, “senior relationships.” OK. That’s a little general, not unlike being asked to
knock-off a quick piece on “vertebrates” or “mathematics” or health insurance or the Kardashians. Could you narrow that down for me a bit? The answer I got was “romantic” relationships, so romantic senior relationships. Oh! Sure! Got it. Right. “Romance” makes us think of “love,” and if I could effectively expound upon the dynamic intricacies of “love,” I’d be having the Kardashians deliver my pizza. But I don’t, and they’re not, so I guess it’s hopeless. But that’s never stopped us before, so I am inclined to think that there is a relatively simple fact that is changing this whole “senior relationships thing,” and we’ve all heard it before: We’re just not dying on schedule. Most of us who remember a time when most of us didn’t purposely pursue the piercing of body parts pretty much knew how the story went (or was supposed to go): Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue became sweethearts in high school, lurched into their college days (or whatever posthigh school reality presented itself), got married, made babies, worked, raised a family and were, generally, socially responsible. Eventually, their babies moved out and made babies, so Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue became Grandpa and Grandma, retired and all was as it should be. At that point, the script became a bit fuzzier, as Grandpa and Grandma rode off into the sunset, but the general expectation was that things would never change and all would live happily ever after. Actually, what often happened was Grandpa would kick the bucket and Grandma would carry on, being Grandma, forever and for always, until something changed. What really changed was medical care.
“Romance” makes us think of “love,” and if I could effectively expound upon the dynamic intricacies of “love,” I’d be having the Kardashians deliver my pizza. 26 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
Well, yes, and nutrition and several dozen other things. But the result was (is) that Grandpa is sticking around a whole lot longer — like anywhere from 1530 years. So is Grandma. Yay, right? Sure! Except change is the constant, so what do we know about “love?” Everything! And probably next-tonothing. It’s an interesting word. I don’t have the time or the inclination to look up 23 academic definitions of the term “love,” but I’m going to guess that most of us could agree that it means something along the lines of, “like a lot or a whole lot.” For instance: “I love this lasagna!” Me, too, but that doesn’t mean I want to sleep with it. Or, “I love this movie!” Well, OK, but it might get a little boring after a while. Or, “I love my health insurance policy!” OK, never mind that one. But you get the idea. All of those are very different from looking at someone and saying, “I love you.” We generally mean something greater than a killer lasagna, something deeper, more lasting, more spiritual, more permanent. Permanent, as in “doesn’t change.” ... Hmm ... But love does change! Or, at least, relationships do. They always have. Relationships come and relationships go and “love” turns to something else or somebody-does-something-to-somebody or everybody gets terminally bored or people ... change. Or die. Sorry, that wasn’t supposed to be a bummer, but it’s actually the easiest scenario for us to consider: Grandma loses Grandpa, or vice versa, so now what? And that’s where the script becomes a bit fuzzier. Is she (or he) supposed to just carry on? Alone? Ad infinitum? Because
Change is the constant. just being Grandma is enough? Some do. So be it. I can also tell you that loneliness can kill, and does, on a regular basis. Is that what we expect? Little company, little comfort, little soothing, no cuddling? (OK, stop! If you’re under 50, turn your head away and check your phone, for a moment, because I’m going to say something that you do not want to read. Why is it that the younger people are the more “grossed-out” they seem to want to be at the idea of “seniors” engaging in sex? Consider this: What would make us think that people who have the least experience with sex and know the least about it should have exclusive rights to it? Really? You have no idea. OK, you can rejoin the adults, now.) Do we expect Grandma to remain
alone? “Well, no,” most of us would say. “I don’t want Grandma to be lonely.” No, you probably don’t, except oftentimes you do, because if she does find someone who brings her happiness and company, who shares life and who fills in the blanks in all those days, we have a problem. And the problem is that “he” isn’t “Grandpa.” He doesn’t look the same or talk the same or hug the same. He doesn’t know all the stories or have all the memories. He wasn’t “there.” He didn’t hold you and encourage you and support you and scold you and be on your side no-matter-what and love you. No, he didn’t. He wasn’t there. He’s not your Grandpa. But we expect him to be in a way. CHANGE CONTINUED on 28 >> LIFELONG JOURNEY • FEBRUARY 2017 27
<< CHANGE CONTINUED from 27
28 FEBRUARY 2017 • LIFELONG JOURNEY
Change is hard. Loss is harder not have time for it. It isn’t disloyalty; it’s love. That funny little word that means a million different things in different ways at different times of our lives. Most of us just don’t do as well alone. Light is better than darkness. Love is not a resource that we run out of, and love is not a contest. Love can change. Everything changes. Except love. Mark Harvey has been the Director of Information & Assistance for the Olympic Area Agency on Aging for 29 ½ years. He says he’s going to keep doing it until he gets it right.
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If he’s “with” Grandma, he must be, but he isn’t. He’s just some guy who’s with Grandma. It’s safe to say change is hard. Oh, sure, I could riddle this whole piece with caveats about abusive relationships and/or predatory financial exploitation, and all those things really do happen. But not always; relatively rarely, actually. The principle sin that most “new” partners commit is the simple act of not being someone else, not being the one who came before. And what if the newbie is you? What if you’re the one who’s new on the scene? What are you supposed to do? Well, if you want to really screw it up, try to be the one who was there before. Insist that kids and grandkids call you the same things and act the same ways. Insist that everyone “love” you instantaneously. Then, you can start changing everything to suit you: The house and the décor and the family rituals and habits and patterns. Go ahead. Change it all! See how that goes. And what if the newbie has kids/grandkids/rituals/ memories of his/her own? Doesn’t he have a right to his rights? His family? Of course! And are they suddenly supposed to go, “Oh, goody! I get to get to know a whole new ‘Grandma.’ And maybe a whole new family! And now, I’m supposed to instantaneously ‘love’ everybody! And ...” No, you aren’t, and neither are they. Change is hard. Loss is harder. So, what are you “supposed” to do? I don’t know, because I’m not big on that phrase, “supposed to.” But I can offer a humble suggestion from someone who doesn’t get his pizza delivered by the Kardashians: Start over. Yes, start over. Start over, and try to build a whole new relationship with a whole new person. Don’t expect him to be your Dad or your Grandpa — he isn’t. Expect him to be him. It’s a lot of work, and it’s the same work you’ve been doing all your life: Starting over, beginning again, creating the new relationship, saying “goodbye” to an old one, changing. The simple fact that the people involved might be on Social Security doesn’t actually change anything. Or you can judge and criticize and resent and withhold and distance and accuse. Maybe if you’re going to live forever, you have time for that, but many of us who know more about Medicare than we do about this week’s social media platform do
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