Page 1

April 2017 Vol. 44, No. 3

Published by The Daily Herald and Senior Services of Snohomish County

Senior Services to launch new brand

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A house filled with pets — and love

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Tips for boosting your recall ability

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Program stimulates seniors with memory issues

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Walker, 90, keeps on truckin’

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Savvy Senior . . . . . . . . . . . 3 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Washington Watch . . . . . . 6 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Volunteers .. . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Tech Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Learn about programs and services available to seniors by visiting

Meals on Wheels volunteer Pam Timm places food in the refrigerator and freezer for Lorna Jenkinson at Broadway Plaza. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Meals on Wheels’ future uncertain under president’s proposed budget By Caitlin Tompkins

Herald Writer

Pam Timm is standing at his front door with a cart of brown grocery bags. “She’s my favorite lady,” Mike Kerasotes, 67, said. Timm, 66, delivers meals to him each week. She has been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for six months. During that time, Kerasotes has battled cancer. “When you get $80 in food stamps, it doesn’t go very far. Without you, I wouldn’t have made it through radiation,” he said to Timm. Last year, Meals on Wheels volunteers

and staff served more than 1,000 people throughout the county — a total of 152,000 meals. Senior Services of Snohomish County has managed the local chapter of Meals on Wheels for 42 years. Each of the meals is approved by a nutritionist. Most are low sodium and have helped diabetics keep their blood sugar under control, said Martha Peppones, director of the nutrition program. Since the program started, there has been a growing demand. Staff were able to bring the waiting list down from about 300 to 60 people last year. “That’s 60 too many,” Peppones said.

“Those are people who still need meals.” The program may be facing substantial financial cuts if President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 is approved. Nearly half of the program’s funding comes from the federal government through the Older Americans Act and Community Development Block Grants. The grants are slated to be removed under the budget plan. That would affect 150 meal recipients in Snohomish County, Peppones said. “Fortunately, it’s only a proposal,” she said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

Adaptation helps couple battle early-onset Alzheimer’s By Karen Berkowitz

Music wellness facilitator Noah Plotkin leads a drumming and singing session with Michael Folio as Cheryl Levin-Folio looks on.

Chicago Tribune

HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — Cheryl Levin-Folio can’t anticipate every new milestone of memory loss as she and her husband, Michael Folio, navigate his Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes quick thinking comes in handy, as it did when Michael forgot one day to take off his clothes before stepping into the shower. Rather than correct her husband, Cheryl joined him in the shower with her clothes on


(Mark Ukena, Chicago Tribune)


Music therapy enables stroke patients to regain some language through song By Rashod Ollison The Virginian-Pilot

The Focus is a publication of SENIOR SERVICES OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY 11627 Airport Rd., Suite B Everett, WA 98204-8714

for a laugh. “I think the next time we should take our clothes off,” she gently told him. “I made light of it,” she said. “I never correct him. That’s not fair to Michael.” In the five years since Michael Folio was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 56, the Highland Park couple has adapted their daily routine many times over. They’d been together for years, but married less than four months, when

NORFOLK, Virginia — When the Johnny Cash melody frustrates James Rodriguez, he chuckles, shakes his head and says, “I don’t know.” Tracy Bowdish gently pushes him, taking his hand into hers as she leans closer and sings in bell-clear perfect pitch lyrics from “I Walk the Line.” The goal is to get Rodriguez to find the words, still a difficult task since his stroke in summer 2011. But his progress has been “remarkable,” says Sandra, Rodriguez’s wife of 47

years, who sits within arm’s reach of him, nodding. They’re all in a small room inside Fort Norfolk Medical Center — Rodriguez in his wheelchair and Bowdish on a low stool sandwiched between an imposing keyboard and a computer desk. Bowdish is a music therapist with Sentara’s Music and Medicine Center. In a promotional clip for the program, she mentions that her blindness helps her to engage patients, to “see who they are beyond the stroke.” As Bowdish holds Rodriguez’s hand, singing lyrics CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

Music therapist Tracy J. Bowdish plays the guitar and leads James “Jim Bob” Rodriquez in singing songs during their session at Sentara Neurology Specialists in Norfolk, Virginia. Rodriquez suffered a stroke in 2011 and Bowdish is helping him regain some speech through music. (Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot)

2 April 2017

The Focus

New brand reflects Senior Services’ strong commitment to community

Tell loved ones about Social Security’s online portal

By Steve McGraw, CEO Senior Services of Snohomish County

By Nicole Tiggemann Tribune News Service

For several months we have been working to carry out the board of directors’ decision to refresh the Senior Services of Snohomish County brand. For years we have been confused with county government, but we are a separate non-profit organization. We hired a national expert in brand strategy, Duane Knapp (BrandStrategy, Inc.) and conducted a survey with staff, clients, donors and community leaders. A brand team was formed that included board members, management staff and community leaders. All of the comments and perceptions that came from the surveys were used in alignment with the mission statement to develop our brand promise. The promise words and embedded values inspired a new brand name and graphic. Professional market research was conducted to test public perception of the brand name. It was overwhelming positive. The board unanimously approved the new brand. Powerful brands in today’s world do more than communicate what we do; they now communicate what we stand for. A new brand is a bold change intended to get attention. It reflects our values around honoring and respecting those we serve, and invites the community in with shared values of compassion and caring aligned with the last line in our promise statement, “It’s a Way of Life.” Well-being in life’s journey as we age Improving lives and community… one person at a time

We have all received gifts we’ve wanted to return: ugly socks or sweaters that look exactly like the one you got (or gave!) last year. Sometimes, just letting loved ones know that you’re there for them, no matter what is the best gift of all. Social Security is also there for you and your family — all year long. Give your loved ones some peace of mind by introducing them to Social Security’s many programs and help them create a safe and secure my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity. gov/myaccount. It’s the gift that keeps on giving all year long, with features that let you: Get your Social Security Statement, to review: ■ Estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; ■ Your earnings once a year to verify the amounts that we posted are correct; and ■ The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. Get a benefit verification letter stating that: ■ You never received Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare; or ■ You received benefits in the past, but do not currently receive them. The letter will include the date your benefits stopped and how much you received that year; or ■ You applied for benefits but haven’t received an answer yet. Some of us might need extra help because of a disability. We’ve made it easy to apply for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity. gov/applyfordisability. Additionally, we have resources for family members in the military who have been injured while serving, or are now disabled veterans. They can find out about benefits they may be eligible for at veterans. Your loved ones will also appreciate the gift of convenience.


Respect, love, peace of mind and caring help when you need it “It’s a way of life.” Homage defined: Respect, reverence or acknowledgment of the worth of another person. In context of the mission, it is honoring people who have spent decades of their lives raising children and grandchildren, working and helping companies be successful, paying taxes and contributing to our community, and who are now in need of caring help. The brand name as it connects to the brand promise: ■ Our programs and services delivered with respect, love … and caring help. Home (“hom”) relates to the desire of people to stay in their own home; aging (“age”) relates to the life’s journey as we age. Home-age, Homage. ■ “Life’s journey as we age” is intended to be inclusive: Seniors, people of disabilities, care givers, younger people. We are all on this journey as we age. It is also a welcoming statement for the rest of the community to engage with us. Our mission statement: Promote independence (staying in their home), preserve dignity, and enhance quality the of life ■ “[O]ne person at a time.” We demonstrate this to each person individually not as an abstract concept. “It’s a way of life.” We want to

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provide honor and purpose to those who’ve given us their best over the decades. (relates its about our clients and also the larger community we want to attract as volunteers, donors, advocates, members, consumers, partners …) ■ “It’s a way of life.” This is a defining value expression we strive to live up to, and it is at the core of our promise to those we serve, work and partner with. The new brand will be fully launched in May. The new name and logo are illustrated above. Below are quotes from a community leader and a member of our board of directors. “Senior Services of Snohomish County is taking a bold step forward in addressing the needs of our county’s, and our nation’s, fastest growing population. Their review of the challenges and opportunities ahead for both honoring and supporting individuals as they mature serves as a strong foundation for charting a course for the future. I applaud Senior Services in this timely and important effort.” — Mary Jane Brell Vujovic, director, Snohomish County Human Services Department. “I have a passion for giving back to those who have given so greatly to all of us. The beauty of providing services that give peace of mind, independence and respect to seniors and people with disabilities is that we all thrive as a community.” — Julie Bogue-Garza SSSC, HR consultant and board vice president. The future of this organization is before us. We invite the whole community to join us through receiving service, partnership, philanthropy, volunteering, and advocacy to share in our common values of honoring and respecting our older members of our community and families. “It’s a way of life.”

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Funding for the DART Program is provided by Community Transit.


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Published monthly with a readership of 100,000+, the Senior Focus educates and entertaines readers (senior, family caregivers, service providers and other interested persons) with news and information that reflects the diverse interests and needs of the senior community. Signed articles are the opinon of the writer and not the opinion of Senior Services or The Daily Herald


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The Focus

April 2017


How to choose the best medical alert system SAVVY SENIOR By Jim Miller

Q. I would like to get my 82-yearold mother, who lives alone, a home medical alert system with a panic button that she can push in case she falls or needs help. Can you recommend some good options to help me choose? — Overwhelmed Daughter Dear Overwhelmed, A good medical alert system is an affordable and effective tool that can help keep your mother safe, but with all the choices available today choosing one can be quite confusing. Here are some tips that can help. How they work: Medical alert systems, which have been around for about 40 years, are popular products for elderly seniors who live alone. Leased for about $1 a day, these basic systems provide a wearable help button — usually in the form of a neck pendant or wristband — and a base station that connects to the home phone line, or to a cellular network if no landline is present.

At the press of a button, your mom could call and talk to a trained operator through the system’s base station receiver, which works like a powerful speakerphone. The operator will find out what’s wrong, and will notify family members, a friend, neighbor or emergency services as needed. In addition to the basic home systems, many companies today (for an additional fee) are also offering motion sensitive pendants that can detect a fall and automatically call for help if your mom is unable to push the button. And there are mobile medical alerts that work when your mom is away from home. Mobile alerts work like cell phones with GPS tracking capabilities. They allow your mom to talk and listen to the operator directly through the pendant button; and because of the GPS, her general location would be known in order for help to be sent. What to consider: When shopping for a home medical alert system, here are some things to look for to help you choose a quality system: Extra help buttons: Most companies offer waterproof neck pendant and wristband help buttons, but

some also offer wall-mounted buttons that can be placed near the floor in high fall risk areas like the bathroom or kitchen, in case your mom isn’t wearing her pendant. Range: The base station should have a range of at least 400 feet so it can be activated from anywhere on your mom’s property — even in the yard. Backup: Make sure the system has a battery backup in case of a power failure. Monitoring: Make sure the response center is staffed with trained emergency operators located in the United States, is available on a 24-hour basis, and responds to calls promptly. Contacts: Choose a company that provides multiple contact choices – from emergency services, to a friend or family member who lives nearby — that they can contact if your mom needs help. Certification: Find out if the monitoring center has been certified by Underwriters Laboratories, a nonprofit safety and consulting company. Top-rated companies: While there are dozens of companies that offer

medical alert systems, here are some top options that offer both home and mobile alerts: ■■ Bay Alarm Medical (fees start at $30 per month for a home landline system,, 877-522-9633) ■■ Life Station ($30/month,, 800-554-4600) ■■ Medical Alert ($33/month, www., 800-800-2537) ■■ MobileHelp ($30/month, www., 800-992-0616) ■■ Phillips Lifeline ($30/month plus a $50 activation fee, www.lifelinesys. com, 855-681-5351). Most of these companies offer discounts if you pay three to 12 months in advance. For mobile medical alerts only, you should also see GreatCall’s Lively Mobile and Wearable (these cost $50 plus a $20 to $35 monthly service fee,, 866-359-5606) and Consumer Cellular’s Ally ($150 plus $25 per month,, 888-345-5509). Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit

Divorce rate doubles for older adults since 1990 Miami Herald Apparently, baby boomers don’t believe in happily ever after — at least when it comes to marriage. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled for U.S. adults 50 years and older, according to government data. This comes at a time when splitting up has actually become less common for the younger crowd. Though younger couples divorce more, their split rate has either dipped or risen more slowly. The trend of “gray divorce” is very real. For every 1,000 married persons ages 50 and older, 10 divorced in 2015 — up from five in 1990, according

to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau. And for those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate has tripled in the same time period, up to six people per 1,000 married persons in 2015. In comparison, the divorce rate for those younger than 50 is about twice as high as it is for adults 50 and older — 21 divorces per 1,000 married persons for adults ages 40 to 49 — yet it has only inched upward from 18 per 1,000 since 1990. And for the 25 to 39 crowd, the divorce rate has dropped from 30 persons per 1,000 married persons in 1990 to 24 in 2015. Demographers attribute this

encouraging decline to several factors. The younger generation is marrying at a later age and those who do marry are more likely to be college-educated. Couples who are college-educated have lower divorce rates. Boomers, on the other hand, had historically high divorce rates in their younger years, and this may be contributing to today’s high divorce rates because remarriages are less stable than first marriages. For example, divorce rates for adults ages 50 and over in remarriages is double that of those who have only been married once. Of those adults 50 and older who divorced in 2015, 48 percent had


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been married at least twice. Though older adults in long-term marriages tend to divorce less, there is still a marked uptick among couples married for more than 30 years. About a third of older adult divorces in the past year involved people who had been married at least 30 years. Twelve percent had been married 40 years or more. These late-in-life splits may have unintended consequences. “Gray divorcees tend to be less financially secure than married and widowed adults, particularly among women,” writes Renee Stepler, a research analyst at Pew Research Center.

4 April 2017

The Focus


Meet the organizations that strive to preserve historic Everett properties Next month is National Preservation Month. It is sponsored by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which was founded in 1949 to support and advocate preservation of America’s historic properties. The National Preservation Act of 1966, intended to preserve historical and archaeological sites in the country, is the strongest preservation legislation ever enacted in the United States. It established the National Register of Historic Places and provided funding for the National Trust’s work. After this, the National Trust broadened its mission and financially supported preservation projects all over the country. Today, the Trust is privately funded. What does this have to do with Everett? Legislation for the National Preservation Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Everett’s own Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson. I am often asked what the Everett Historical Society is. In fact, there is no such thing, but there are several entities in the city that deal with Everett history and historic preservation. They are the Everett Historical Commission, Historic Everett, Everett Museum of History and Everett Public Library’s Northwest History Room. The Everett Historical Commission is a city commission of volunteer members appointed by the mayor. Originally organized in the mid-1970s for the U.S Bicentennial as the Everett Historical Advisory Commission, it worked

The Butler-Jackson House at 1703 Grand Ave. is now on the National Register of Historic Places. (Jack O’Donnell collection)

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Everett history. For Historic Preservation Month, at the Brown Awards ceremonies on May 6, the commission will honor people who have taken care of historic properties and historians who have kept local history alive. The current chairwoman is Laura Cameron-Behee. Historic Everett was formed in 2002 and gained its official

non-profit status the following year. The mission of this all-volunteer group is to preserve city history and heritage through advocacy, education and preservation. This includes rehabilitation of historic properties in Everett. Historic Everett also offers programs by local and regional authors, historic CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

Senior Services of Snohomish County Receives $10,000 CVS Health Community Grant Grant to Senior Services of Snohomish County is part of CVS Health’s commitment to increasing access to quality health care Senior Services announced recently that it has received a $10,000 CVS Health Community Grant. The Community Grants Program was created by CVS Health, as part of its commitment to building healthier communities. These grants support nonprofit organizations that are providing much-needed access to health care for at-risk and underserved populations. The support from CVS Health will help Senior Services offer a full year of workshops for local residents with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, chronic pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, and other chronic health conditions. Participants will learn critical skills to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of their lives. Currently, Senior Services offers three workshops: Living “With this grant, Well with Chronic Conditions, Living Well with Chronic Pain, and Living Well with Diabetes. During these six-week CVS Health is workshops, individuals learn about creating healthy food helping local plans, safe physical activity, managing medications, working seniors learn skills with health care providers, improving communication, and that improve goal-setting. “With this grant, CVS Health is helping local seniors their coping and learn skills that improve their coping and management of management of chronic pain and health conditions with promotes their overchronic pain and all health and well-being,” says Shannon Reynolds, Program Coordinator. health conditions “As a pharmacy innovation company, we are commitwith promotes their ted to helping people on their path to better health. We overall health and are proud to support organizations that increase access to well-being.” quality health care because we know their efforts are critical to delivering better community health,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility Shannon Reynolds, and Philanthropy, CVS Health. “We are pleased to support Program Coordinator the work that Senior Services of Snohomish County does in the community and we look forward to working with them to fulfill their program’s mission.” Senior Services of Snohomish County was selected to receive a grant through the CVS Health Community Grants 2016 application process. Grants were awarded to organizations which support CVS Health’s commitment to enhance the health and well-being for at-risk and underserved populations by offering quality health and rehabilitation services and health education. Family members, friends and caregivers are encouraged to attend – please contact Shannon Reynolds at 425-265-2283 to schedule a workshop. About Senior Services of Snohomish County The mission of Senior Services of Snohomish County is to promote independence, preserve dignity, and enhance the quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities. The organization is the largest and most comprehensive 501(c)3 non-profit service provider for older adults, people with disabilities, and their families in Snohomish County. Our guiding principles of independence, dignity and quality of life are realized through five core and interconnected service areas: health and wellness, food and nutrition, social services, transportation, and home repair. About CVS Health CVS Health is a pharmacy innovation company helping people on their path to better health. Through its more than 9,700 retail locations, more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a leading pharmacy benefits manager with nearly 90 million plan members, a dedicated senior pharmacy care business serving more than one million patients per year, expanding specialty pharmacy services, and a leading stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the company enables people, businesses and communities to manage health in more affordable and effective ways. This unique integrated model increases access to quality care, delivers better health outcomes and lowers overall health care costs. Find more information about how CVS Health is shaping the future of health at www.


under the auspices of the Everett Public Library. In the mid-1980s it became a city commission. Among its duties are nominating properties to the Everett Register, approving projects for special valuation tax benefits, reviewing nominations to the National Register, providing design review in historic overlay neighborhoods and providing informational publications on

The Focus

April 2017


Perspectives: Funds donated to save Longfellow School CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 home tours, Evergreen Cemetery tours, a holiday party for members, historic calendars and more. Historic Everett has been involved in historic preservation disputes over the past decade. Paula Van Dalen is the president of Historic Everett. Everett Museum of History was organized as the Snohomish County Museum and Historical Association in 1954. It too is all unpaid volunteers. The museum has been in several locations over the years, but the past several years has not had a home. It commands an extensive collection of 50,000 artifacts gathered over the past 63 years. The collection is currently being inventoried and catalogued by volunteers under the direction of professional curators. The museum also gives programs throughout the year. Gene Fosheim is president of the board of trustees. The Northwest Room in the Everett Public Library offers materials and services that help researchers understand Everett and regional history with programs, as well as a digitalized photo collection, Sanborn Insurance Maps, Polk City Directories, a large collection of volumes on local history and more. This history room was created by David Dilgard and Margaret Riddle in 1977. Today historians Lisa Labovitch and Melinda Van Wingen staff the room. The Historical Commission, Historic Everett and the Museum work closely together, and several volunteers have been involved in all three. All look to the Northwest Room for help with their projects. For example, on March 23 the museum had a fundraiser and program honoring the Northwest Room and all who have worked

The Fratt-Wallgren House at 1725 Grand Ave. is the home of Saundra Cope and Walter Gillette. (Jack O’Donnell collection) there. At the end of the meeting it was announced that a donor who wished anonymity had offered funds to purchase the Longfellow School building for a home for the museum. Longfellow School is on Historic Everett’s most threatened properties list. It has also been an ongoing topic of concern at Historical Commission meetings. Both Historic Everett and the Historical Commission are on record opposing demolition of the 1911 structure and support the museum’s efforts. All are hopeful about this turn of events. By the time this article reaches readers, there will be much more known on this subject. It is

interesting to note that Senator Jackson, supporter of preservation, received his education at Longfellow. Another famous alum was local comedian Stan Boreson. There are currently 20 listings on the National Register of Historic Places in Everett. This includes two districts (Rucker Hill and Hewitt Avenue) and the now-demolished Collins Building. At its February meeting the Historical Commission supported the nomination of the Fratt-Wallgren House at 1725 Grand Ave. to the register. Perhaps at some point, Longfellow School will join the list. I hope this clears up confusion about how Everett deals with its history and historic preservation.

A just for fun, Seems Like Yesterday 50 years ago this month, a seven-story addition to General Hospital was going up at 13th Street and Colby Avenue and Behar’s Furniture at 2105 Broadway was having its grand opening. 251⁄2 years ago, the ribboncutting for the Navy and the dedication of the Everett Public Library addition had taken place.

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6 April 2017

The Focus

Gambling can be big problem for older adults WASHINGTON WATCH BY CHERYL M. KEYSER Barely a month ago, a charter bus taking a group of older adults to a casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, was struck by a train while trying to cross the tracks. Four people were killed and the other 46 sustained various injuries. Most of the riders on the bus came from the Bastrop Senior Center in Texas. It is not uncommon to see older adults in a casino, nor is it uncommon that such trips are often organized as a one or two day getaway. Gambling is not necessarily indicative of a problem, but older adults are no different from the general population in falling prey to serious addiction. Connecticut’s Problem Gambling Services Fact Sheet affirms that close to 50 percent of older adults gamble and, of those, over 25 percent do so regularly. Other studies have confirmed similar numbers, for instance, a fact sheet published by the National Council on Problem Gambling reported a New Jersey study that “indicated 23 percent of citizens over 55 were disordered gamblers with 17 percent at risk, 4 percent problem gamblers, and 2 percent pathological gamblers.” (This study characterized a “disordered” gambler as one “who spends

six times more than safe gamblers on lottery and 3.5 times more in casinos.”) Gambling can take multiple forms, from buying a lottery ticket to playing bingo or heading to a casino. Some studies even include playing fantasy football or baseball online. There are consequences associated with gambling. As it is a sedentary recreation, players are more likely to be overweight, they also smoke and drink at higher rates than the general population. Bettors may also have other related problems, from financial or psychological, to medical or legal. David Surface,writing in Social Work Today, calls casinos “the new senior centers.” He noted that research conducted by Fayetta Martin, an assistant professor at Wayne State University, found that casinos also provided certain incentives for older adults to visit, providing everything from scooters to oxygen, and maintain records on their personal preferences. As with any situation, there is also the flip side. For many older adults, gambling may only be a relaxing form of socialization. When someone retires, unless they have a part-time job, a hobby, or volunteer, they begin to realize that a day suddenly seems a lot longer, so they look for ways to fill those empty hours. One woman, retired military and comfortably off financially, drives 50 minutes from southern

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inkling that their actions may be out of control, they will try to hide it from family and friends and not seek help. For older adults who are no longer working, gambling losses are also harder to deal with, threatening their financial security, as they have no way to recoup the money they have lost. One study even suggested that an older adult could lose future Medicaid assistance. Medicaid “looks back” at assets for five years to determine a person’s eligibility for an extended nursing home stay. If assets are found to have been gambled away, the individual may not be able to obtain Medicaid coverage when needed. How does an individual or family member recognize a gambling problem? Addicted players may lose interest in food, hygiene or hobbies; they may have health problems such as headaches, lethargy and anxiety; and they may not be paying their bills. Unfortunately, problem gambling may also be connected to dementia or some other cognitive impairment. National and state programs offer help for older gamblers. The National Council on Problem Gambling maintains a hotline, 1-800-522-4700, and website, www. In Washington state, the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling maintains a helpline, 1-800-547-6133, and website, www.

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Pennsylvania to a casino in Charles Town, West Virginia to play the slot machines. The “points’ she accumulates go toward a very good dinner in the dining room, a tidy package of leftovers for another meal at home, and her winnings helped her buy a new car. She goes often, in addition to playing the state lottery where she buys the more expensive scratch-offs. She does not consider herself a gambling addict. Another woman plays at least $30 a day and spends part of the day at a local convenience store scratching off her lottery cards; another hides her problem and when her husband asks the staff about her expenditures, she has instructed them to give him a lower amount. The problem has become so significant that four national gaming associations, including the American Gaming Association and the Association of Gaming Equipment, banded together to urge Congress to include gambling addiction in any replacement legislation to Obamacare. The Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pennsylvania points out that problem gambling in older adults is different from that of younger people for a number of reasons. Older adults often face large life challenges, such as illness, the end of a career, or isolation. They may just see the lottery or the slots as a diversion and may not understand that they have an addiction. And if they have an

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your Medicare Part B. And in most cases, that premium goes up each 12-month period you were eligible for it and elected not to enroll. If you are covered by a group healthcare plan based on your employment or the employment of a spouse, you may qualify for a special enrollment. Special enrollments may be processed at any point during the year, but require proof of coverage. To find out more about Medicare, visit or www.socialsecurity. gov/medicare. Senior Services of Snohomish County offers Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA), a free, confidential and impartial counseling resource sponsored by the state insurance commissioner. Volunteer advisers help people understand their rights and options and offer up-to-date information so they can make informed decisions on health insurance needs. Call 425-290-1276 DEBBIES’ HAIR DESIGN OVER 40 YEARS EXPERIENCE



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The Focus

April 2017


House filled with pets is house filled with love By Saralee Perel At 6:30 a.m. our cats jump trampolinestyle on the belly of my sleeping husband, Bob. Then chaos begins in the kitchen. Bob feeds Murphy diet food. He’s a big orange cat with double paws. Murphy’s brain is the size of a microbe. He doesn’t jump off furniture because he doesn’t know to look down. So, he just walks straight off a table, suddenly finding himself on the floor. Percy, a tuxedo cat, has to eat on the opposite counter from Murphy. Percy has hyperthyroidism so he’s on prescription food. Our black threelegged brothers, Jordy and Ike, eat regular cat food.

Jordy makes a visit to the vet. (Saralee Perel photo) Bob and I spend the majority of our time stopping each cat from eating the others’ food. This includes Dennis. (Yes, we have five cats.) Dennis is a black cat so identical to the

brothers, we can’t tell them apart without looking at the color of their collars. After hearing me saying it all day, they must think their names are, “Who are you?”

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home from visiting Jordy, who was in rehab after surgery, he sat on the couch with me and gingerly said, “Jordy has a brother.” “You want two more cats!?” “He also has three legs.” That did it. How could we leave him behind? Who would adopt two broken kittens? And that’s why we’re parents of five cats, four of which we can’t tell apart. Bob and I are acutely aware that these days won’t last forever. When our dog, Gracie, and our cat, Eddie, died, I decided no more pets. The loss was too unbearable. But in deciding that, it took away all the love and beauty of sharing Gracie’s and Eddie’s lives. I spoke to a friend,

Dennis eats in the bedroom because his food has prescription drops for his cough. During this time, the dog, Becky, eats separately. Why do we have so many pets? Well, we hadn’t intended to adopt Jordy. We were visiting Percy, who was staying at an animal hospital, when Bob pointed to a kennel with this sign: “No food or water. Surgery needed for amputation.” Jordy, a 4-week-old tiny black kitten put his paws through the slats to touch us. Our hearts were instantly stolen. One leg was bleeding and missing a foot. “Does he have a home?” Bob asked our vet. When he replied he didn’t, Bob said, “He does now.” After Bob came

a rabbi, who said, “Go through life alone and you won’t suffer losses.” “Are you actually recommending that?” “Of course not!” Then he spoke words I keep in my heart. “Of what value is a life without love?” And so, I’ve found new loves. I can’t imagine life without them. I am so grateful to celebrate and share life with our crazy tribe: Becky, Murphy, Percy, Ike, Jordy, and Dennis. As my ancestors used to say, “L’chaim!” And that means: to life. Award-winning nationally syndicated columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached at sperel@saraleeperel. com or via

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8 April 2017

The Focus

Cruising in Washington’s wine country TRAVEL WITH KATHY BY KATHY WITT, TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE Within Pacific Northwest Wine Country, the American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) of Washington and Oregon stretch over thousands and thousands of highly regarded wine-producing acres, but there is no need to trek across both states to experience each nuanced territory. The elegant American Empress brings this world, the winemakers and cellar masters and their luscious wines to those aboard its “Vineyards, Vintages and Varietals” excursions. Set for late fall in one of the country’s most scenically beautiful regions, the cruises pair the extraordinary wines of Washington and Oregon with an itinerary that dips into historic waterfront towns, glides along spectacular and dramatic canyons, volcanic formations and cloud-skimming mountains, and ushers appreciative oenophiles into the flavor profiles of an array of traditionally made Pacific Northwest wines. One day passengers learn about the red wines of the Columbia Valley through sampling wines from Pendulum Winery, Primarius Winery and Browne Family Vineyards — merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah varietals, pinot gris and pinot noir, perhaps a Bordeaux red blend. Another day they enjoy not only a wine tasting but a wine and dinner event with special menus created by American Empress’ chef. Menus showcase

regional foods of the Pacific Northwest and are thoughtfully paired with wines from Canoe Ridge Vineyard and Waterbrook Winery. The former, located in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA in a region named in 1805 by explorers Lewis and Clark because it looked like an overturned canoe, is known for its award-winning merlot, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. The latter is in the Walla Walla Valley AVA and esteemed for its proliferation of wines scoring 90-plus and included in Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Buy wines. The wines of Waterbrook will also be exclusively showcased during another wine and dinner event. “The American Empress is a one-of-akind journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and we’re honored to showcase wines from our awardwinning portfolio of wineries — including Browne Family Vineyards, Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Pendulum, Primarius and Waterbrook Winery — that complement the stunning scenery and elegant cuisine,” said Erin Harper, the Washington State onpremise manager for Precept Wine. “Our hope is to give guests the elevated experience of our stunning Northwest wines even if they aren’t able to make it to our tasting rooms.” Other onboard wine

The American Empress cruises on the Columbia River.

Travel planner American Empress “Vineyards, Vintages and Varietals” excursions are scheduled for Nov. 12-20 and Nov. 19-27, roundtrip from Vancouver, WA (Portland). The latter departure is over the Thanksgiving holiday and a traditional turkey dinner with all of the trimmings will be served. Fares for these 9-day excursions are from $2,699 and include the cruise; a pre-cruise hotel stay with transfers to the ship; included shore tours; complimentary wine and beer with dinner; complimentary cappuccino, espresso, bottled water and soft drinks; daily lectures by the Riverlorian, evening entertainment, and mOregon American Empress is operated by the American Queen Steamboat Company which also operates the American Queen and the new American Duchess, the first all-suite paddlewheel boat on the U.S. inland waterways. Information:, 888-749-5280. tastings will feature Desert Wind Winery, known for handcrafted wines from estate-grown vineyards in the Wahluke Slope of WA including big reds, and Mercer Estates, the first winery to plant wine grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills.

That was in 1972 and today, Mercer has three tiers of estate wines plus a single label dedicated to charity. Guests will also have a chance to sample a local craft beer onboard as well as a local coffee. Portland Roasting

will brew up some of the coffees that have garnered world-wide attention for this company, whose goal is to not only create roast profiles that retain a sense of place, but to tease out each coffee’s “sweet spot.” Besides bringing wines onboard, American Empress features visits to several wineries on included shore tours. Sunshine Mills Winery is a state-of-the-art boutique winery. Several wineries are on the limited edition Willamette Valley Wine Tour: Duck Pond Cellars, which focuses on pinot gris and pinot noir; Sokol Blosser, a pioneer in the Oregon wine industry; and Four Graces, whose wines have gained a reputation for their elegance, complexity, and balance. Craft spirits and beer show up on the agenda, too, with tours available to Skunk Brothers Spirits, located on the Columbia River waterfront, and Golden Valley Brewing, a


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family-owned farm-totable experience. Additional opportunities to sample the suds are offered on the premium Astoria Ale Trail shore tour. This walking tour visits three of the city’s finest breweries while showing off the shops (hello, 1970s-era Penney’s) and museums of this arts-centric town. With a full day spent in Astoria, passengers have time to see a pair of excellent heritage sites, the Flavel House Museum and the Heritage Museum. The American Empress departs Vancouver, Washington, and visits several Oregon towns: Astoria, the oldest American Settlement west of the Rocky Mountains and one Lewis and Clark traversed in 1805 en route to their wintering camp at Fort Clatsop, and The Dalles. This is not only the end of the Oregon Trail but where Oregon’s oldest bookstore, Klindt’s, is located. Within strolling distance of where American Empress docks; in an area filled with shops, restaurants, and museums, Klindt’s opened in 1870 — not long after the last wagon would have arrived. Other stops on the itinerary are the pretty river town of Stevenson, Washington, a fun place for poking into antique shops and art galleries, and Portland, Oregon. Known as the “City of Roses,” Portland is located near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and is a gateway to great eating with the city’s food truck and food cart culture. These pods are located all over, from tiny two-cart pods to pods that ring an entire city block, and serve up some of the best street food in the world. Onboard the Riverlorian, the line’s history and culture expert, draws a crowd with programs on Lewis and Clark, the Oregon Trail, westward expansion, and other topics. Cruise directors Greg and Lindy Pendzick keep the mood upbeat with lively trivia games during the day and Broadwaycaliber entertainment in the evening, which also includes performances by local guest artists.

The Focus


April 2017

There’s a volunteer opportunity for every senior VOLUNTEER CONNECTIONS BY JOHN McALPINE, RSVP PROGRAM RECRUITER RSVP exists to help volunteers 55 and older find fulfillment in their volunteer work. Sponsored by Catholic Community Services, RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for persons over 55 and the only program where the collective contribution of the senior volunteer is recorded. Volunteer opportunities exist all over Snohomish County. No matter where you live, we can probably match you with a job. Volunteer chore: Imagine no longer being able to run the vacuum, change bedding or cut your

lawn. What would your life be like if you couldn’t manage these everyday household tasks? What would you do if a parent or close friend was in this situation? We seek volunteers to assist others in precisely this manner. Helping someone with these routine chores allows them to “age in place” and stay in their home. You can do this volunteering for a few hours a couple times a month someplace in your neighborhood. Habitat for Humanity: The construction phase starts up again this summer. The Snohomish County branch of this well-known organization has volunteer opportunities available that don’t require you picking up a hammer or saw. Until then, please consider these as a worthwhile place to help out. There are two retail stores (Lynnwood and Everett) using volunteers. Help is needed in the

office and there are opportunities to be on committees that support the Habitat mission. Academic mentors: There is still time to help out in school. Mentors and coaches are needed. We work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, the Interfaith Family Homeless Shelter and local schools. All of them need your help for just a few hours a week. A teaching background is not needed for this. SHIBA: If the world of insurance and regulations seems confusing and arbitrary, consider volunteering with SHIBA. A program of Senior Services of Snohomish County, SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors) provides 30 hours of training so you can assist callers with questions about their rights and options regarding insurance. You help them make an informed decision. Call

425-290-1276. Food banks: Hunger never takes a day off. No matter where you live, a food bank near you needs help. We have opportunities to volunteer all over the county. All need help inside the food bank with repacking food and assisting clients. Some use drivers to go out into the community and pick up food. You can get involved in Arlington, Everett (two locations), Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville (two locations), Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish and Stanwood/ Camano. If you have questions about RSVP, volunteering or any of the agencies listed here, contact RSVP at 425374-6374 or email johnm@ccsww. org. You also can learn about volunteer opportunities at Senior Services by calling 425-740-3787 or emailing

How your age affects your Social Security benefits Every worker’s dream is having a secure retirement. Social Security is here to help you secure today and tomorrow. Part of that commitment is ensuring you have the most up-to-date information when you make your retirement decisions. “Full retirement age” refers to the age when a person can claim their Social Security benefits without any reduction, even if they are still working part or full time. In other words, you don’t actually need to retire from your work to claim your full benefits. Also note that waiting until you’re 70, if you can, will bring you a higher monthly benefit. The choices you make will affect any benefit your spouse or children can receive on your record, too. If you claim benefits early, it will reduce their potential benefit as well as yours. As the bells rang in a new year, they also rang in changes in 2017 for people considering claiming Social Security retirement benefits. For people who attain age 62 in 2017 (i.e., those born between

January 2, 1955 and January 1, 1956), full retirement age is 66 and two months. Full retirement age was age 65 for many years. However, due to a law passed by Congress in 1983, it has been gradually increasing, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. You can learn more about the full retirement age and find out how to look up your own at https:// There are some things you should remember when you’re thinking about retirement. You may start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be. Your monthly benefits will be reduced permanently if you start them any time before full retirement age. For example, if you start receiving benefits in 2017 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced permanently by about 26 percent. On the other hand, if you wait to start receiving your benefits until after your full retirement age, then your monthly benefits will be permanently

increased. The amount of this increase is two-thirds of 1 percent for each month — or 8 percent for each year — that you delay receiving them until you reach age 70.

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10 April 2017

The Focus

Tips and tricks for boosting your recall ability By Wina Sturgeon Tribune News Service Have you ever spent half an hour or more frantically looking for your keys? Is there a book that you know is on one of your book shelves, but for some reason you can’t find it? Do you often have to look for a few minutes before you find your parked car? These are fairly common problem, especially as you get older. You can’t just automatically “fix� a memory in your brain without actual momentary concentration. You don’t pay the same kind of acute attention you did when you were younger. The sad part is that you were once easily able to remember

where you put your keys, but the ability to build those neural circuits may have slowed a bit once you hit your mid 50s. It’s a kind of “tip of the tongue� thing. You almost know where your keys are. You almost remember where you left that book. You certainly remember the general area where you parked your car. But recall may take longer if you’re not concentrating or not using memory tricks. There are several disciplines you can use to boost your recall ability. One of them is to create a place for an object, and concentrate on always putting the object in its proper place. You may choose to put your keys in the inside lock of your entry door, or in a special dish on a cabinet. But don’t

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let your mind wander once you’ve unlocked the door. Make it an automatic habit to put your keys in the place you’ve chosen for them. I enjoy mountain slopes or mountain bikes in summer when it’s hot. A friend once gave me a really good piece of advice. She said, “Place your keys in the left pocket of your ski pants and fasten the pocket closed. In summer, you’ll probably always bring a jacket. Put your keys in the left pocket of the jacket, safely close the pocket and either wear the jacket or put the jacket in your backpack, concentrating on remembering that your keys are in the jacket pocket.� One of the most embarrassing things in the world is parking your car but not being able to remember exactly where. You even try pressing the alarm button on the key fob, but the car is out of range. You left your phone in the car.

After many minutes of looking, you are really tired of pushing your shopping cart through the potholes of the parking lot, and you still can’t find your parked car. Here’s how to prevent that from ever happening again: When you park your car, look at the entryway of the store or office building. Fix your car’s location by looking for numbered slot signs (B2, for example) or the brand name on the building. For example, you parked in the row of slots directly down from the letter “M.� If parking in an underground lot, memorize how many levels down from the street level you parked. It really helps if you can take an image with your phone of where you parked, with nearby signage showing the location. You may be in the middle of that row or all the way at the end, but at least you can locate the proper row where you parked your car.


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Those can-you-hear-me calls are most likely from scammers BY BOB DeLAURENTIS Q. A couple of times when I answered my phone, the first voice I heard asked if I could hear them. It seemed harmless, but I wonder: Is it harmless? A. No, it is likely a scam. There is a similar technique that has been making the rounds recently. It involves a friendly voice apologizing for having problems with her headset, then attempting to engage in conversation. The effect is disarming, and it took a few seconds to realize that I was listening to a recording. As consumers become more savvy about ignoring unwanted solicitations, callers try new techniques to keep you on the line. Even worse, sometimes saying “yes” to any question is recorded and used as proof that you agreed to a purchase. Sadly, scammers use politeness as a weapon, and your best defense is to be less polite. Be very guarded when answering the phone. Say as little as possible if you do not recognize the caller. And if the call is unwanted, hang up immediately. Q. What is two-factor authentication and what benefit does it provide? A. Every day, hackers probe the internet looking for vulnerabilities. They are looking for credit card numbers, weak passwords and other personal information. Using special programs capable of

Q. My grandson loves to play video games. When he visits I try to arrange a few activities we can do together, but he quickly loses interest. All he wants to do is stare at the screen. Any ideas? A. Have you considered playing along? It might seem crazy at first, but allow me to explain. I think it is too easy to watch someone, boy or girl, engaged in a video game and dismiss it as a waste of time. On the contrary, these games can transport the player into a new world in much the same way as movies or books. And even better, they are not a passive experience. Video games are essentially puzzles. When your grandson plays a video game, he is being challenged

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with a rapid-fire set of problems that require reasoning, planning, and experimentation. Really fast moving games also demand an incredible degree of eye-hand coordination. Considering how little control children have over most aspects of their lives, a keen interest in video games seems natural to me. All that aside, some video games do make it harder to use them as social activities in the same way as traditional board games. But harder is not impossible, you just have to find the right game. There is no “one size fits all” answer here, but I can make a few suggestions. There are three major video game consoles: Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Unlike PlayStation and Xbox, which support very large game catalogs aimed toward teens and adults, Nintendo tends to focus more on titles that fit with families and younger children. Nintendo is also a leader in games that work with groups of players. When in doubt, I always recommend Nintendo first. And the best game to start with is Zelda. Although designed for one player, a second player can help, turning the game into a team effort. Next, consider 1-2-Switch. Our grandchildren spend so much time in our world, I cherish the time I get to spend in theirs. A lifelong tech enthusiast, Bob recently released a photography book about La Purisima Mission State Park in California, and is currently developing an educational software project. He can be contacted at

Two-factor authentication This small but fast-growing website is an index of services that provide two-factor authentication. Sites are grouped into about thirty different categories such as Education or Investing. Search for the sites you already use, or find a competitor that delivers a similar service with better security. The world’s library Worldcat is a catalog of catalogs that allows you to search through two billion items with one click. The catalog covers the stacks of books contained in more than 10,000 libraries spread across the world. When combined with your local library’s interlibrary loan system, Worldcat delivers the sum total of human knowledge to your fingertips. Know Your Meme They crop up daily. Those photos with a pithy text phrase at the top and bottom designed to make you laugh. Now that you know about this site, you no longer have to wait for someone to send you one on Facebook. You can amaze your friends and be the first to know by discovering the latest meme or try making one of your own.

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scanning thousands of targets with the click of a button, one bad guy can do a great deal of damage. To make things worse, people often choose weak passwords and today’s more powerful computers can test millions of passwords quickly. As a result a single password is no longer sufficient protection. The solution is two-factor authentication. Two-factor adds a second level of security to a password, making it much more difficult to steal your information. I strongly recommend using twofactor authentication everywhere it is available. If you have a Google or Apple account, turn it on today. If your bank does not use two-factor, request they adopt it soon. Two-factor authentication is so important that I suggest favoring any business that uses it over one that does not. Check out the link below for more.

April 2017

12 April 2017

The Focus

Seniors find new life in brain wellness program By Nate Guidry Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Local services

Barry Leonard, 81, with longtime concerns about memory lapses, spent part of a recent Monday morning joining other seniors playing the marimba, the mallets in his hands tapping out the notes and measures drummed into his brain by months of repetition. The music was a breeze for Sally Newman, 87, a former professional pianist who got a bigger mental challenge afterward from computer games testing her ability to recall objects flashing on the screen. The three octogenarians are among the first 15 participants enrolled in Pitt’s Brain Exercise and Training Wellness Program, or BRiTE, designed to assist people who have mild cognitive impairment. It’s a condition associated with memory problems in older adults, which can be a preliminary sign of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, although not necessarily. The program is based on research and theories suggesting people can be helped at such a stage by wellrounded mental, physical and social stimulation. Using a grant of more than $1 million from a Spanish pharmaceutical firm, Grifols International, Pitt formally launched the program Oct. 1, 2016 in the Sterling Plaza on North Craig Street in Oakland. Initial participants were among those who had been evaluated at Pitt’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center and diagnosed with problems less severe than dementia, but the program is open now to others with memory concerns who would like to apply. “We are focusing on people … who are still active, trying to help them remain as active in society as they can,” said Oscar Lopez, a neurologist and Pitt professor who is director of both its Alzheimer’s

Senior Services offers a Senior Companion Program in which seniors age 55 and older volunteer to help other seniors with social, physical and mental health needs. If you would like to volunteer or have a senior companion, call 425-879-7050 or email

Sally Newman, 87, plays the marimba during a class at the University of Pittsburgh for people with mild cognitive impairment. (Nate Guidry / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) center and the BRiTE program. Lopez said that while housing and services for people with dementia have become more common over the years — although there remains no cure or prevention for Alzheimer’s — he’s aware of no other center in the U.S. focused on helping people with mild cognitive impairment. It is modeled after a program in Barcelona, Spain, that provides wide-ranging activities to stimulate people socially, mentally and physically. According to studies, Lopez said, about 23 percent of the population 65 and older could be classified with mild cognitive impairment, and one out of 10 of them in a given year progresses into dementia. Why it happens in some people and not others, and at varying rates of progression, is unknown. As opposed to people with dementia who typically lack decision-making abilities and competence to handle their own affairs,

those with mild cognitive impairment “have isolated memory problems, and all of the other parts of the brain are working perfectly well,” Lopez said. Lopez said research suggests people with modest memory problems can postpone more serious issues — even improve in functioning, at least temporarily — by engaging in a stimulating lifestyle. Hence, the new center’s half-day curriculum: brain challenges by computer, music and art lessons, and strength and balance training accompanied by yoga techniques. For three to four hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — although days and hours are to be expanded as more people enroll — the participants move between stints in two rooms that contain musical instruments, computers, weights, yoga mats, drawing supplies and more. On the marimba, a stand-up instrument played by striking keys

with mallets, some modest physical exertion is accompanied by training on sequential notes. Instructor Jennie Dorris puts the notes helpfully on a board at the start of class, then erases them after some practice so that the players are on their own other than hearing her call out “C-D-E-G” or other sequences. “It really tests your memory, going measure by measure,” Dorris says. It took some getting used to for Leonard, a retired business owner from Fox Chapel with no musical experience, although the mallets he held followed along well in striking the right keys last week. He said his memory’s “not good, not great, but it’s livable. Sometimes I’ll be saying a sentence, and there’s a word I normally know but I can’t come up with it. They say that isn’t a real problem, that most people my age have that problem — it’s when you don’t know where you are that you’re really screwed up.” “We all have memory loss to some degree,” said Newman, a former Pitt professor of intergenerational studies who lives close enough to walk to the program, although others are capable enough to drive themselves. She said she’s been told not to worry about lack of recall of something she only recently learned, “but if something I’ve known all my life is suddenly disappearing, that’s frightening.”

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The Focus


April 2017

At 90, walker’s in it for the long haul By Brian Whitehead Orange County Register

Ninety-year-old Dorothy Joy gets a finish line hug from Judy Ikenberry after the great-grandmother completed her 20th Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, California. walk with me” on the back of her shirt. She has stories from races past of younger men and women taking her up on the offer. “I hope I’m doing this when I’m your age,” she’s often been told. One year, Joy coached a woman walking her first half marathon up an incline. She later did the same for Cliff Veasey, a longtime friend and member of Joy’s walking club, the Inland Empire Racewalkers. “Pick ‘em up and put ‘em down, Cliff!” Veasey remembered Joy telling him. “We all hope to be half as active at 90 as Dorothy,” said Veasey, 56. Distance races have taken Joy all

over the country. She’s walked in Philadelphia; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; and Arizona. She’s done the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon every year since its 2006 inception. More than 100 medals — many she received for finishing first in her age group — hang on walls inside her home. But it’s the half marathon she couldn’t finish that she and her family remember most. Twelve years ago, Joy tripped and fell during a Surf City race, dislocating her shoulder. Three miles from the finish line, she picked herself up, dusted herself off and continued walking.

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HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Dorothy Joy walked her first Surf City Half Marathon at age 75. On Sunday, at 90, she walked her last. Or so she says. Surrounded by four generations of family and several longtime friends, Joy celebrated her recent birthday the way she has for a decade plus: by walking 13.1 miles on Super Bowl Sunday. “I’ve done 63 5Ks,” said Joy, a Yucaipa, California, resident. “One 10K, 53 halves and 10 relays. I’ve moved around a little bit.” Joy’s active lifestyle inspires family members and strangers alike, said daughter Jenny Dean. Dean, one of three daughters, and Mandey Marangakis, one of four grandchildren, walk with Joy for the quality time together race days afford. Marangakis — the antithesis of a morning person, she joked — has braved dawn the past few years and learned about her grandparents’ relationship as a result. Recently, Marangakis’ teenage daughter, Ashley — one of 10 greatgrandchildren — joined the mobile family gathering. “We talk about all kinds of family history out there,” said Joy, who’ll continue to walk competitively but only shorter races. For the past several years, Joy has written her age followed by “Come

“I had her arm, and we were going to make it,” Dean recalled. “But this one couple we’d been talking with before came back to find out what happened. They talked to a police officer on the street and they made her stop for the day.” Joy was joined by family at the hospital. Once home, her husband told her no more half marathons. “You see how much influence he has,” Joy joked. “For her, walking is self-gratification,” Marangakis said. “She’s proving to herself that she can still do it. But I know that she does like to inspire other people.” On Sunday morning, Joy and Dean were up before 5. Marangakis and her daughter like to imagine them blasting “Eye of the Tiger” while getting ready. Family members in the race wore orange shirts that read “Team Joy, walk of ages.” Joy wore a yellow visor with flowers and ladybugs. “I’m 90,” a patch on the back of her shirt read. At 7:45 a.m., contestant No. 17847 stood among a gaggle of runners inching closer to the start line. “Oh, my gosh, it’s Dorothy Joy!” an emcee bellowed. “Ninety years young! Make some noise for Dorothy Joy!” The crowd roared. And with that, Joy was off. “I’m 90, but I don’t really feel like it,” she said. “It hasn’t sunk in. After my birthday went by, I said, ‘Am I really 90?’ Because I don’t feel any different.” | (425) 345-4928

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14 April 2017

The Focus

Easing loneliness among the elderly can save lives By Anna Gorman Kaiser Health News Emil Girardi moved to San Francisco on New Year’s Eve in 1960. He loved everything about the city: the energy, the people, the hills. And of course, the bars, where he mixed drinks for most of his adult life. About 10 years ago, the 83-year-old New York native had a stroke and collapsed on the sidewalk near his Nob Hill home. Everything changed. “I didn’t want to go out of the house,” Girardi said, adding he only felt comfortable “going from the bedroom to the dining room.” He started to fear the city’s streets — and growing older. An out-of-state friend worried about his isolation and called a San Francisco-based nonprofit called Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly. The organization works to relieve isolation and loneliness among the city’s seniors by pairing them with volunteers. Little Brothers matched him with Shipra Narruhn, a

Emil Girardi, 83, and Shipra Narruhn, 67, chat in Girardi’s San Francisco apartment. They were paired through a nonprofit called Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly, which aims to relieve isolation and loneliness in seniors like Girardi. (Anna Gorman / KHN) computer software trainer who became involved with Little Brothers after her mother’s death. The organization started in France after World War II and now operates in several U.S. cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Cathy Michalec, the executive director of the local nonprofit, said older adults often become less mobile as they age. Cities like San Francisco, because of their hills, crowded streets and old housing stock,

are difficult for many seniors. That can lead to isolation and loneliness, she said. “Those 50 stairs you used to be able to go up and down all the time, you can’t go up and down all the time,” said Michalec. “The streets are crowded and sometimes unsafe. … Sometimes, our elders say, it’s easier to stay in the house.” Across the nation, geriatricians and other health and social service providers are growing increasingly worried about loneliness among seniors like Girardi. Their concerns are fueled by studies showing it is linked to serious health problems. Research shows

older adults who feel lonely are at greater risk of memory loss, strokes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The health threat is similar to that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to AARP. Researchers say that loneliness and isolation are linked to physical inactivity and poor sleep, as well as high blood pressure and poor immune functioning. A 2012 study showed that people who felt lonely — whether or not they lived with others or suffered from depression — were at heightened risk of death. It also showed that 43 percent of people over 60 felt lonely. “If someone reports

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feeling lonely, they are more likely to lose their independence and they are at greater risk of dying solely from being lonely,” said Carla Perissinotto, a geriatrician and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who did the study. Perissinotto said there are many causes of loneliness, including illness, hearing loss or life changes such as retirement or the loss of a spouse. “The usual social connections we have in younger life end up changing as we get older,” she said. At first, Narruhn, 67, said she and Girardi would just visit at his apartment. She’d tell him about her travels and her adult daughter. He’d tell her about his adventures in San Francisco. He described what the city was like for a young gay man, and told her about the friends he had lost to AIDS. They talked about music, books and cooking. “I could tell from talking to him that he had a lot of interests,” she said. “At one time, he was very sociable.” Narruhn started bringing him music from Italy, India and Mexico. Girardi liked the ones he could snap his fingers to. Finally, Shipra convinced him to go out to lunch and to visit a hidden, tilecovered staircase in San Francisco with her. “Shipra came to see me and came to see me and came to see me,” he said. “Finally, she said, ‘You have to get out of the house.’” Soon, they were going to jazz shows,

Local services Senior Services offers a Senior Companion Program in which seniors age 55 and older volunteer to help other seniors with social, physical and mental health needs. If you would like to volunteer or have a senior companion, call 425-879-7050 or email mhiggins@ on walks and to the park. Narruhn said she invited him to do eclectic things with her — chakra cleansings, Reiki healing sessions — and he was always game. Over time, his fear subsided. So did his loneliness. “After she took me out of the house, then I didn’t want to stop,” Girardi said. There isn’t much research on programs like Little Brothers. But Perissinotto said they can help seniors build new social connections. Other efforts to address loneliness include roommatematching services in various states and, in the United Kingdom, a hotline. “Maintaining connections, that touchy-feely thing, is actually really important,” Perissinotto said. “It’s hard to measure, it’s hard to quantify, but there is something real. Even though we don’t have the exact research, we have tons of stories where we know it’s [had] an effect in people’s lives.”

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The Focus

April 2017


Meals on Wheels: More then delivering dinners CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Peppones, who has worked with Senior Services for 26 years, is staying hopeful. The program has seven paid staff and a dozen volunteers who deliver meals. “When they got into it and met the clients, they see it’s way more than delivering meals,” Peppones said. Timm heard about the program through her parents, who signed up for Meals on Wheels in Minnesota. Her mother broke her hip and her father was living with dementia, and couldn’t get to the grocery store. Every Wednesday, Timm winds her way through the Broadway Plaza apartment buildings in downtown Everett. During the rest of the week, she runs an accounting business. “I’m still working full time, but you have to make time for these things,” Timm said. Timm sees about 10 to 15 people each week on her delivery route, and ensures they have what they need. Lorna Jenkinson, 68, has difficulty moving around. Timm puts away her food in the freezer, so that Jenkinson can stay in her chair. Volunteers and staff drivers are the eyes and ears for Meals on Wheels, Peppones said. If people need to change their diet or install grab bars in their home, drivers can communicate those needs to staff. Sometimes the drivers are the only ones who stop by each week, Peppones said. These visits are a time to see a friend. Timm and Richard McHenry, 72, chat every week in the doorway of his apartment. They talk about anything from Timm’s Finnish heritage to a neighbor’s cat. McHenry is losing his eyesight. It has been hard on him, Timm said. He likes to read. McHenry can no longer call in his weekly order to Meals on Wheels because he struggles to see the buttons on the phone. Instead, Timm fills out his order sheet. On another floor of Broadway Plaza, Timm brought a bag of food into Arvella Gibson’s apartment. “I’ve missed you!” Gibson, 64, said. Gibson wasn’t home last week when Timm swung by. Timm asked

Meals on Wheels volunteer Pam Timm delivers a bag of groceries to Mike Kerasotes at his living quarters at Broadway Plaza in downtown Everett. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

“When they got into it and met the clients, they see it’s way more than delivering meals.” — Martha Peppones director of nutritional services

how things were going and if there was anything she needed. Gibson wanted one thing. Apple juice. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll throw in an extra apple juice next week,” Timm said. As she closed the apartment door, the sound of Gibson singing followed her to the elevator. Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

Pam Timm loads bags with the needs of each person on her delivery route. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Meals on Wheels dietitian explains program’s importance By Leah Hammon Senior Services Nutrition Manager The personal impact that Meals on Wheels programs have on the clients they serve are difficult to quantify statistically. As a Meals on Wheels dietitian (for Senior Services of Snohomish County), I am fortunate to experience these testimonies almost every day. “It’s a lifesaver” is a sentiment I hear echoed repeatedly by my clients. The sincerity and significance of their words affirm the need for nutrition and social service programs for one of the nation’s most vulnerable populations, older Americans. Today’s older adults face incredible challenges associated with aging including hunger, food insecurity, functional decline and changes in socioeconomic and mental health status. Programs like Meals on Wheels address these needs by delivering nutrition and wellness services to help older adults maintain health and independence in their homes

and communities. These services are important because proper nutrition is essential for healthy aging and quality of life in older adults. Unfortunately, challenges associated with aging put the older population at high risk for malnutrition. Physical factors contributing to malnutrition in the elderly include loss of taste and appetite, chewing and swallowing difficulty, inability to obtain and prepare nutritious foods, presence of chronic disease and cognitive decline. Additional socioeconomic factors such as poverty, depression, isolation and limited support compound the nutrition and health risks for this population. Nationwide, an estimated one in six seniors struggle with hunger. Meals on Wheels helps improve nutrition status, reduce hunger and food insecurity by providing balanced, nutritious meals to program participants. According to the 2017 National Fact Sheet for Meals on Wheels of America:

■■ 137,702,853 home-delivered meals were provided last year. ■■ 92 percent of participants say Meals on Wheels enables them to remain living at home. ■■ 81 percent say it improves their health. ■■ More than 60 percent say each single, home-delivered meal provides at least half of their daily food intake. Beyond nutritious meals, Meals on Wheels programs provide clients with many intangible benefits. Weekly meal deliveries allow drivers to visit with clients, which is extremely important for socialization and connectedness. It is typical for a special rapport to develop between clients and their drivers, and for some individuals this is the only personal interaction they can depend on regularly. My clients frequently express how much they look forward to their driver visiting each week. The drivers are the eyes and ears of the Meals on Wheels programs. Often their weekly interactions and observations allow us to connect

clients with additional resources and services — including transportation, personal care, caregiver assistance, health and wellness programs, mental health services, financial assistance and home repair. Meals on Wheels programs provide tremendous value to individuals and communities. Among some benefits, they can help to alleviate food insecurity, improve nutritional status, reduce the risk of falls, promote medication adherence and reduce feelings of loneliness for those it serves. Imagine what would happen to program participants if these services were no longer available. This is a growing concern as the need for these services continues to outpace our ability to provide and fund them. Please support your local Meals on Wheels programs and agencies and the individuals depending on them. For more information on your local Meals on Wheels program or to volunteer, please call 425-347-1229 or email

Social Security continues to innovate with new features By Nicole Tiggemann Tribune News Service Social Security is always innovating and improving our technology to better serve you. In an effort to meet our goal to deliver innovative, quality services, we are improving how you can check the status of your Social Security benefit application online. Placing the “Application Status”

feature behind our My Social Security portal provides a secure service delivery channel that will allow the agency to provide detailed status information without requiring a confirmation number. Our first service improvement will include status information for Social Security and SSI benefits initial claims and appeals, but future modifications will allow you to check the status of medical and non-medical

redeterminations. With the new Application Status, you will see: ■■ the Re-entry number for in-progress online applications; ■■ detailed information about the current status of the application or appeal; ■■ the location where your claim is being processed; and ■■ scheduled hearing information for appeals.

Log into my Social Security to see what other personalized features are available to you at www. This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit

16 April 2017

The Focus

Adaptation CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 By Karen Berkowitz

Chicago Tribune

HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — Cheryl Levin-Folio can’t anticipate every new milestone of memory loss as she and her husband, Michael Folio, navigate his Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes quick thinking comes in handy, as it did when Michael forgot one day to take off his clothes before stepping into the shower. Rather than correct her husband, Cheryl joined him in the shower with her clothes on for a laugh. “I think the next time we should take our clothes off,” she gently told him. “I made light of it,” she said. “I never correct him. That’s not fair to Michael.” In the five years since Michael Folio was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 56, the Highland Park couple has adapted their daily routine many times over. They’d been together for years, but married less than four months,

Music CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 By Rashod Ollison The Virginian-Pilot

NORFOLK, Virginia — When the Johnny Cash melody frustrates James Rodriguez, he chuckles, shakes his head and says, “I don’t know.” Tracy Bowdish gently pushes him, taking his hand into hers as she leans closer and sings in bell-clear perfect pitch lyrics from “I Walk the Line.” The goal is to get Rodriguez to find the words, still a difficult task since his stroke in summer 2011. But his progress has been “remarkable,” says

when they received the diagnosis. Michael had experienced confusion at home that prompted a referral to a neurologist. Less than 5 percent of the 5.1 million Americans with Alzheimers’s disease are early onset patients diagnosed before the age of 61, according to the National Institute on Aging. After digesting the devastating news, the couple resolved to be proactive in preserving their quality of life, as they had been throughout their careers. Levin-Folio immersed herself in the literature. She made sure they followed a Mediterranean diet, worked together on stimulating puzzles and kept up their exercise regimen. “What works one day, may not work the next day,” Levin-Folio acknowledged. “It is really a matter of being flexible and able to adapt to a situation.” When her husband was no longer able to use a cell phone, they switched to FaceTime, which provides a visual context for the conversation. Rather than give up restaurant dining to avoid unfamiliar settings or awkward scenes, they now dine earlier, choose quieter locations and frequently dine at a tennis-club

restaurant where they are known. “There is a familiarity that is important to Michael,” Levin-Folio said of their decision to join the club. She said she knows that if Michael gets up from his seat to use a restroom and makes a wrong turn, there’s a knowing staff member to guide him. Levin-Folio carries with her a supply of laminated cards that read, “Thank you for understanding. My husband has Alzheimers.” She’s found people appreciate the gesture, which can head off an inappropriate remark. She’s had success keeping him socially engaged with activities that play into long-term memory. When Levin-Folio noticed positive results from his music therapy sessions, she increased the schedule to three times a week. “I was watching him become more free-flowing with his words after doing music,” she said, of the sessions with therapist Noah Plotkin. “I leave them one on one and it’s a jam session.” She said the sessions shift from “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to a John Lennon song. He does not look at lyrics and the words are free-flowing. “It’s very rewarding for Michael,

but it’s equally rewarding for me to hear him relive those days of when he played in a band in high school,” Levin-Folio said. Once a week, Michael works out with a trainer at the local Equinox athletic club, focusing on football drills familiar from his years as a high school and college athlete. “Those things that work, he does more of,” she said, noting he is bowling and playing bocce more, while still playing golf and tennis. The milestones of memory loss are coming more frequently these days. He no longer walks the couple’s two golden retrievers by himself, and he has been known to wander. He wears a watch linked with his wife’s iPhone so she always knows his whereabouts — a better safeguard than were his cell phone GPS used for tracking, she said. “He might leave his phone behind, but he always puts on his watch. It’s instinct,” she said. Levin-Folio has written a book called “The 24-Hour Rule: Living with Alzheimer’s” to share the strategies she and Michael have developed to stay active and engaged. “When I started looking to put together a routine for Michael, there was nothing available that said what to do to preserve his time,”

Sandra, Rodriguez’s wife of 47 years, who sits within arm’s reach of him, nodding. They’re all in a small room inside Fort Norfolk Medical Center — Rodriguez in his wheelchair and Bowdish on a low stool sandwiched between an imposing keyboard and a computer desk. Bowdish is a music therapist with Sentara’s Music and Medicine Center. In a promotional clip for the program, she mentions that her blindness helps her to engage patients, to “see who they are beyond the stroke.” As Bowdish holds Rodriguez’s hand, singing lyrics she wants him to repeat, his frustration disappears. Bowdish then pats around for the guitar behind her and strums the chords one more time. Rodriguez

joins her on the chorus. His words, though slurred, are clearer, his tone more confident as he sings, “because you’re mine I walk the line.” The Music and Medicine Center, a part of Sentara Neurosciences Institute, has extended its reach well beyond rehabilitation rooms in which Bowdish and other therapists use rhythmic stimulation and synchronization to create movement and drive speech in patients with neurological damage. The program also sponsors a lunchtime jazz showcase in the lobby of Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk. Gad Brosch, who retired from obstetrics and gynecology 23 years ago, is among the musicians who play in the showcase. He devotes much of his time these days to the jazz he’s loved

since his childhood in Israel. “When I retired, I was thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” says Brosch, a pianist who has played the Steinway in the hospital’s airy lobby once a month for the past four years. “There’s life after you retire, and for me there’s the music.” Stylish in a tie zigzagged with red stripes and piano keys, Brosch says patients were wheeled down in the lobby to listen when he first started playing there. But for logistical reasons, that isn’t done anymore. Still, his straight-ahead takes on the American Songbook soothe outpatients and visitors. The unobtrusive music not only brightens the atmosphere, it also serves a clinical purpose, chiefly to help relieve anxiety. This is a much

Easy Access • Exit 210 No Traffic From I-5 877-EXIT-210 | 1831089

Special Sections - Senior Focus 4.19.17  


Special Sections - Senior Focus 4.19.17