Page 1

April 2017

Vol. 44, No. 3

Formerly Senior Focus

Published by The Daily Herald and Senior Services of Snohomish County

Senior Services to launch new brand Page 2

A house filled with pets — and love Page 7

Tips for boosting your recall ability Page 10

Program stimulates seniors with memory issues

www.homage.org

Page 12

Walker, 90, keeps on truckin’ Page 13

Columns

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

VOL. 44 NO. 8 | SEPTEMBER 2017

Learn about programs and services available to seniors by visiting www .sssc .org .

Meals on Wheels volunteer Pam Timm places food (Dan Bates / The Herald) in the refrigerator and freezer

By Caitlin Tompkins

Herald Writer

Pam Timm is standing door with a cart of brown at his front 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 ple throughout the county 1,000 peoof 152,000 meals. Senior — a total Snohomish County has Services of managed the local chapter of Meals on 42 years. Each of the meals Wheels for is approved by a nutritionist. Most are and have helped diabeticslow sodium blood sugar under control, keep their said Martha Peppones, director of the nutrition program.

Since the program started, been a growing demand. there has Staff were able to bring the waiting list about 300 to 60 people last down from year.

“It takes special people to do that job”

Adaptation helps couple battle

Comment: Community Transit expands to meet region’s growing needs.

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

Broadway Plaza.

“That’s 60 too many,” Peppones said. “Those are people who still need The program may be facing meals.” tial financial cuts if PresidentsubstanDonald Trump’s proposed budget approved. Nearly half of for 2018 is the program’s funding comes from the federal government through the Older Americans Act and Community Development Block Grants. The grants are removed under the budget slated to be plan. That would affect 150 meal recipients in Snohomish County, Peppones said. “Fortunately, it’s only a proposal,” she CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

early-onset Alzheimer’s

By Karen Berkowitz

for a laugh. “I think the next time we our clothes off,” she gently should take HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois told him. “I made light of it,” she Levin-Folio can’t anticipate — Cheryl said. “I never milestone of memory loss every new correct him. That’s not fair to Michael. as she and ” In the five years since her husband, Michael Michael Folio, navigate Folio was diagnosed with early his Alzheimer’s disease. onset Alzheimer’s at age 56, Sometimes quick thinking the Highland comes in Park couple handy, as it did when has adapted their daily Michael forgot routine many times over. one day to take off his clothes before They’d been together for stepping into the shower. years, but Rather than married correct her husband, less than four months, Cheryl joined when him in the shower with her clothes on CONTINUED ON PAGE 16 Chicago Tribune

(Mark Ukena, Chicago Tribune) NON PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID SOUND PUBLISHING 98204

for Lorna Jenkinson at

Meals on Wheels’ future uncertain under president’s propos ed budget

Music therapy enables stro to regain some languag ke patients e through song

By Rashod Ollison

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

Page 2

Report urges universal insurance to cover costs of long-term care.

years, who sits within arm’s The Virginian-Pilot reach of him, nodding. They’re all in a small NORFOLK, Virginia — When the Johnny Cash room inside Fort Norfolk melody frustrates James Medical Center — Rodriguez in his wheelchair and Rodriguez, he chuckles, shakes his head and says, Bowdish on a low stool sandwiched between “I don’t know.” an Tracy Bowdish gen- imposing keyboard and a tly pushes him, taking computer desk. Bowdish is a music therapist with Senhis hand into hers as she tara’s Music and Medicine leans closer and sings in bell-clear perfect pitch lyr- Center. In a promotional ics from “I Walk the Line. clip for the program, she ” The goal is to get Rodri- mentions that her blindguez to find the words, still ness helps her to engage patients, to “see who they a difficult task since Music therapist Tracy J. his Bowdish plays the guitar stroke in summer 2011. are beyond the stroke.” As Bowdish holds Rodri- leads James “Jim Bob” Rodriquez in singing songsand But his progress has been during their session “remarkable,” says San- guez’s hand, singing lyrics in Norfolk, Virginia. at Sentara Neurology Specialists Rodriquez suffered a stroke dra, Rodriguez’s wife of 47 CONTINUED ON PAGE 16 2011 and Bowdish is helping him regain some in speech through music. (Bill Tiernan / The Virginian-Pilot)

Page 3

For 42 years, Edmonds construction class has built local homes. Page 4

SHIBA volunteers can help guide your Medicare decisions. Page 7

Variety of exercises can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Page 9

Support program honors the dedicated work of ‘kinship caregivers.’ Page 12

SnoMentia offers fun times for those with memory loss. Page 15

Columns

Washington Watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Savvy Senior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Travel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Volunteer Opportunities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Saralee Perel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Tech Talk .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Clients regain mobility with Dial-A-Ride Transit Partnership between Community Transit and Homage serves 500 to 700 weekly By Ian McCabe Special to The Herald When the bus stops in front of Jenny Anderson’s Lynnwood home, she is helped aboard by the driver — who cheerfully welcomes her by name, as always, and makes sure she is sitting comfortably. In 1993, Anderson, 59, discovered she was legally blind. Since she can’t drive and has difficulty navigating the regular bus system, she signed up for Dial-A-Ride-Transport. She’s been using the DART bus ever since. DART was established through a partnership between Homage Senior Services, formerly Senior

Senior Focus is a publication of HOMAGE (formerly Senior Focus) 11627 Airport Road, Suite B Everett, WA 98204-8714

NON PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID SOUND PUBLISHING 98204

Learn about programs and services available to seniors by visiting www.homage.org.

Jenny Anderson and her service dog, Nevi, board a DART bus with driver Kevin Oh after a visit to Swedish Edmonds hospital. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Services of Snohomish County, and Community Transit about 40 years ago. The bus service is designed to help those with health issues and disabilities in Snohomish County get out and about. About 5,000 county residents are signed up for the service, and 500 to 700 clients ride each week. “I use it about three to five times a week,” Anderson said. “I go to the gym in the morning, usually to an appointment in the afternoon, and in the evening I use it to go to church.” For the same fare as a regular bus, DART riders can schedule a minibus that takes them where they want to go and bring them back home. As long as the ride is booked 24 hours in advance, a driver will be there. DART has the same service area as Community Transit buses, which covers most of Snohomish County. It is available only for residents whose disabilities or health conditions prevent them from using the

regular bus services, and they must apply through Homage to use it. The buses are wheelchairequipped and well-maintained, and operated by trained drivers who will assist passengers to and from their homes. They will even carry up to four grocery bags to the front door. “We take people anywhere they want to go,” said John Hagen, who manages the DART call center. “If they want to go to the doctor’s, work, the grocery store, a social event — anywhere — we’ll take them. “It was built because of the need to get people out of their homes, and that’s a big deal. Getting them out is very important. For some, they’re using it to survive.” Residents in rural areas of Snohomish County that are outside of the usual transit routes are covered by the Transportation Assistance Program. “Our drivers are really, really good. We train them to know how CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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Homage

COMMENTARY

Community Transit expands service to keep pace with regional growth By Emmett Heath CEO, Community Transit

Seaway Transit Center will be near Boeing. (Community Transit illustration) When we begin to serve new areas of the county, or expand our hours of local bus service, we also expand our DART paratransit service. DART is door-to-door service for eligible riders that operates within threequarters of a mile of a local bus route during that route’s hours of operation. DART is available to people whose disability or condition prevents them from riding our regular bus service. Community Transit contracts with Homage Senior Services to provide our DART service, a partnership we’ve had for many years. The expansion of transit service within Snohomish County comes at a time when our population’s demographics are changing. Not only are more people coming into our county, but seniors will be making up a larger share of that growing population. The need for transportation Distribution: Over 12,000 papers are mailed to households and senior-friendly businesses;1,900 papers are distributed at drop-off locations including senior centers, retirement communities, libraries, etc.

11627 Airport Rd. Suite B, Everett, WA 98204 425-513-1900 Published monthly with a readership of 100,000+, the Homage Senior Services educates and entertains readers (seniors, 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 Homage Senior Services.

Also distributed monthly in The Daily Herald. Contact Josh O’Connor at 425.339.3007 or at joconnor@soundpublishing.com.

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about getting certain vaccinations. Besides influenza you also may need vaccinations for pneumonia, shingles and more. Vaccine recommendations are based on age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations. The list is updated every year. Tell your health care provider if you: ■■ Are planning to travel abroad ■■ Have had your spleen removed ■■ Work in an occupation where exposure to illnesses could occur ■■ Are moderately or severely ill, or have a chronic illness ■■ Have any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine ■■ Have had a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome ■■ Have a weakened immune system or are being treated with an immunosuppressant ■■ Have recently had another vaccine ■■ Have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products ■■ Have a personal or family history of seizures Find this and other medical information on mayoclinic.org. — Tribune Content Agency

Correction An article on Page 12 of the August issue of Homage, Train to be a Peer Counselor, was written by Christine Vervitsiotis. Incorrect attribution was given.

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options is becoming more critical. Community Transit is building a high-capacity transit network called Swift. The Swift Blue Line already operates on Highway 99 between Everett and Shoreline. Construction is under way on the Swift Green Line between Bothell and the new Seaway Transit Center near Boeing. Swift is like a train on rubber tires. It stops at fewer stations along a route and fares are paid at the station, so riders can board the bus more quickly. With a Swift bus arriving every 10 minutes, you’re never late for a bus, you’re just early for the next one! The third Swift route will be the Orange Line, which will connect with Link light rail when it gets to Lynnwood in 2024. That will establish a swift and easy transit connection between Snohomish County and the Puget Sound region. We are proud of our community partnerships and especially the work we do with Homage Senior Services to serve our mutual customers. Emmett Heath is CEO of Community Transit, Snohomish County’s transit provider.

Cedar Ave

They say the only thing constant is change. That could not be more true for residents of Snohomish County these days. Every city in the county has orange cones in the streets and construction crews building roads, houses and office buildings. Snohomish County is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation for jobs and population. Fortunately, Community Transit is also growing. Thanks to voter support, our transit agency is expanding its bus, vanpool and paratransit service by 40 percent in Emmett Heath the next few years. We are also hiring dozens more people to meet that growth. Our goal is to provide more service to more places more often. We want to give people appealing choices for getting around, and easy access to that service. That means new routes, more frequent buses, expanded hours of service and pedestrian improvements like ADA crosswalks, better sidewalks and more bus shelters. All this benefits seniors who choose not to drive, and those who are dependent on public transportation to get around. More transportation options means more independence, which is a huge quality of life issue.

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Homage

WASHINGTON WATCH

Report urges universal insurance to pay for costly long-term care By Cheryl M. Keyser Fifty percent of adults over 65 will need some form of long-term care, according to Leading Age, an advocacy organization which represents 6,000 non-profit nursing homes. Yet, long-term care is expensive. There are only three ways to pay for it now: enter a nursing home and apply for Medicaid; pay for a costly long-term care insurance policy; or pay out-of-pocket. The reason it is so difficult to obtain either private or government coverage is that long-term care is open-ended. It includes everything from home care to a private service that may provide companionship or cleaning and preparing meals or round-the-clock home nursing. No one can predict how long care or what type of care will be needed. Now Leading Age has issued a report, “A New Vision for Long-Term Services and Supports,” that would set up a “universal insurance program,” with three elements: a mandatory program to spread risk over a larger population; providing care only after an individual has already paid for their own care for two years; and paying cash for services. For information: http://www.leadingage.org

Reduced drug costs? The premium for Medicare Part D, which covers drug costs, will decline in 2018 from $34.70 to $33.50 a month, according to the Department of Health and Human Services Not much of a difference, but there are indications that more meaningful action may be taken. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, according

to an HHS press release, is proposing “to bring down out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare patients,” by allowing them to “share in the discounted drug prices hospitals are already getting under Medicare.” No indication of when or how much was suggested. This is part of a broad effort “to make drugs more affordable,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price. For information: www.hhs.gov

State loses age lawsuit Pennsylvania has lost a lawsuit involving age discrimination and will have to pay a $60,000 fine, according to a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case involved a man older than 40 with extensive legal experience and 17 years of working for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. He applied for a position with a different state agency but was denied as the director of the office thought he might retire soon and would not have “a long tenure” on the job. This attitude violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which does not allow an individual to be treated unfairly based on their age. The ADEA covers those 40 and older. “This resolution should send a strong message to all employers, public and private, that the EEOC will not tolerate age discrimination in the workforce,” said Spencer H. Lewis Jr., director of the EEOC.s Philadelphia District Office. For information: http://www.eeoc.gov

More research money Alzheimer’s is the cruelest disease,

robbing individuals of their memories, recognition of others and even their ability to communicate. Yet, it is a disease for which there is no prevention, treatment or cure. Millions of dollars have been poured into research to find some way to alleviate this scourge and many alternatives as to cause have been posed. One of the major research institutions studying Alzheimer’s is the National Institute of Health, which has consistently tried to increase funding for this purpose. However, in the proposed 2018 federal government budget, funding was reduced by $577 million, a cut of 41 percent. According to Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH director, a counter budget has not only proposed funding to cover this reduction, but also added $597 million for new research. “This is a critical time in Alzheimer’s research,” Collins said. “But we are beginning to see a way forward where we can now dare to think in terms of true precision medicine.” For information: http://www.nih.gov

Working into retirement One third of the U.S. labor force is now 50 or older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with more and more individuals wishing to work, at least part time, during retirement. And with aging baby boomers, that percentage will increase. The Society for Human Resource Management has found “few organizations reported having a formal strategy for retaining and/or recruiting older workers.” The most-cited barriers were lack of flexibility in both work location and work schedule. For information: www.shrm.org

September 2017

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Social Security booklets offered in audio format By Kirk Larson Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist Perhaps you’ve been planning to read that booklet on Social Security benefits, but you never seem to find the time to sit down with it. If only you could listen to an audio version, just as you might listen to the latest novel by your favorite author on audio book. Well, now you can. Social Security offers more than a hundred publications in audio format, in both English and Spanish. You can find them at https://www. ssa.gov/pubs/audio/audio.html and https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/ or you can call 800-772-1213 for assistance. Social Security wants to make sure you can get the information you need. That is why we offer our publications in print, online in both internet and PDF versions, and some in audio format. You also can get publications in Braille, in enlarged print and even cassette or CD. If you are blind or visually impaired and are having trouble reading a notice sent to you in the mail, ask a Social Security representative to read it and explain it to you. You can contact us as many times as you want. You can even learn about Social Security in 15 different languages at our Language Gateway. There are many publications you can read and download in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, or Vietnamese. If you want to learn about Social Security in Greek (or another language), you can at https://www. ssa.gov/site/languages/en/ If you were planning to plug in the ear buds and listen to a little music tonight, why not play the Social Security publication you’ve been putting off?

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September 2017

Senior Focus

PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST

Edmonds students have built 40 houses since 1975 — and learned valuable skills By Randall Riddle Perspectivepast@gmail.com The school year has begun and, although retired, I still long to return to Edmonds School District’s Carpentry and House Construction Class. I miss teenagers with power tools. Their enthusiasm and energy have produced 40 houses that are valued homes, the result of a 42-year partnership between Edmonds School District 15 and the Lynnwood Rotary Club. In 1975, the district offered high school students a chance to construct an onsite house to industry standards. The Rotary supplied a site, financing, consultation and marketing. The school district’s Occupational Education Department, later called Vocational Education, Professional-Technical Education and now Career and Technical Education (CTE), provided students, teachers, educational assistants and equipment. Carpentry, Industrial Woodworking, Interior Design, Ornamental Horticulture, Visual Communication and Vocational Drafting contributed to the project. Each class had an advisory committee of representatives from the business community and organized labor. The student-built houses have been designed to fit in with their neighborhoods. So you may be next door to — or actually living in one — without knowing. They include ramblers, split-levels, tri-levels and two-stories. Two two-story houses include finished basements. Two are Super Good Sense PUD Certified Energy Efficient. Most have three or four bedrooms; three have three-car

District carpentry students decking the first floor on house No. 34 in 2008. garages; two were moved and extensively remodeled. Square footage ranges from 1,600 to 3,408 and prices from $46,800 in 1976 to $669,000 in 2016. Most were decorated by the Interior Design class and landscaped by the Ornamental Horticulture class or by Edmonds Community College Horticulture. All of these houses are still useful homes.

Five instructors and eight educational assistants have taught the students since 1975. Merle Blevins was the first with Ray Plumb assisting. A woodworking instructor and local builder, Blevins helped Lynnwood Rotary design the carpentry program. He also coached the Mountlake Terrace High School Hawks to the 1977 state AAA basketball championship.

Myron Sollid, woodshop teacher, realtor and house builder, was the second instructor, 1982-2006. His first assistant, Ray Plumb, was followed by Randy Riddle, 1984-2006. The third teacher was Greg Kramer, 1990-91, when Sollid took a year off. Kramer was a builder of fine houses. Scott Hammond, an accomplished CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 carpenter, followed as fourth teacher, 2006-13, working with five different assistants: Jenny Wachter, Rob Bright, Carson Schlamp, Micah Berlingame and Randy Ritter. Wachter was a student in the program in 1988-89. Randy Sibley is the current teacher. He is accredited in the core curriculum of the Construction Industry Training Council, which represents 75 trades. His first assistant was Randy Ritter. Scott Johnson and his dog, Mad Max, are the present assistants. This is the second carpentry class dog; the first was Kramer’s dog, Max. Rotarian Bob Bezzo served as consulting architect for many years and Rotarian Ken Pierce now manages the project. Support staff has included Marsha Bennett and Kathy Jackson, interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing, current CTE Director Mark Madison, retired secretary Nan Bull, program specialist Michelle Ehl and program assistant Peggy Durke. Instructors Peter Green and Steve Duarte helped out in 2003-2005. Students have come from Edmonds District high schools and, until 2007, were also from neighboring school districts via North East Vocational Area Consortium. Others came from Cyber School, Home School Resource Center and Shoreline Christian School. In 2003 students from 12 high schools completed the class. Two came from Stanwood. One took a taxi from Index and another rode transit from Bellevue and walked a mile to and from the site whatever the weather. Jim Stark, a 1983-85 student, recently said: “You pick up skills that stick with you for a lifetime and give you confidence to do projects that inevitably you need when you rent or own a home. I was fortunate to have taken this class.” Stark, now construction sales manager for Plywood Supply in Kenmore, went directly from graduation to truss construction, a result of the carpentry class. He now chairs the CTE Carpentry Advisory Committee.

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The Edmonds School District Carpentry and House Construction Class in front of Rotary house No. 34 in 2009. Bob Flotte, president of Prism Cabinets in Everett, took the class in 1976-77 and realized, “This is going to make me happy. It is satisfying at the end of the day to see a finished product.” The class gave him “a jump start to a career I have pursued for 40 years.” Tim Blevins, Seattle Structural building inspector, is another early class member, 1981-83. He also helped his uncle Merle Blevins build houses. He says, “I liked building stuff, the hands-on experience, the hands-on tools and seeing something you built.” Tim served on the Carpentry Advisory Committee. In 2005, Lynnwood Rotary’s book Blueprint for Life: The Student Housebuilding Program by June L. Cornett told the story. Many graduates have entered the trades, Carpenters Union apprenticeship training or a college-levle construction management program. The

students are a cross-section of society, from student body presidents to struggling youths living in their cars. As Randy Sibley says, “This is one of the few remaining programs for a high school student to learn and prepare for work to make a living wage in the trades.” Most have been juniors and seniors and, although only a few girls have joined the program, most were better finish workers, attending more to details. In early years, about two dozen students were in each three-hour morning and two-hour afternoon session. Currently there is only an hour and a half class per day, so it now takes two years to complete a house. Although the class is largely on site, classroom work includes safety, tool use, math, nomenclature, blueprints and procedure. Occasionally the class returns to the classroom for testing or shelter in really bad

weather. For many years, the students built almost every part of the houses. They set stakes for the excavator, installed cedar-shake roofing, hung and finished drywall with a contractor, strung wire and nailed boxes for the electrician, painted the interior and exterior and even lacquered trim. They also installed hardwood and laminate floors. In fact, they did everything except the excavation, masonry, electrical, plumbing, countertops and carpeting. To these skills, add problem solving and teamwork. As Bob Flotte comments, “Someone has to put these things together.” He says he has trouble finding trained workers younger than 50 for his cabinet shop. Our society needs young people trained in programs like this. After all, you can’t live in the box that your cell phone came in.


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September 2017

Homage

Study finds genetic link in macular degeneration By Lauran Neergaard Associated Press Medical Writer An experimental drug is showing promise against an untreatable eye disease that blinds older adults — and intriguingly, it seems to work in patients who carry a particular gene flaw. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors, gradually eroding crucial central vision. There are different forms but more than 5 million people worldwide, and a million in the U.S., have an advanced type of so-called “dry” macular degeneration that has no treatment. First patients may notice blurriness when they look straight ahead. Eventually many develop blank spots, becoming legally blind. “These are seniors who are entering their golden years and now they’ve lost the ability to read, watch television, see their loved ones,” said Dr. Rahul Khurana, a retina specialist and spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The experimental drug, lampalizumab, aims to slow the destruction of light-sensing cells in the retina, creeping lesions that characterize the stage of dry AMD. When those cells die, they can’t grow back — the

vision loss is irreversible. ■■ What the research found: In an 18-month study of 129 patients, monthly eye injections of the drug modestly slowed worsening of the disease when compared with patients given dummy shots. What’s exciting for scientists came next, when researchers from drugmaker Genentech Inc. took a closer look at exactly who was being helped. It turns out that nearly six in 10 of the study’s participants carry a gene variation that makes part of the immune system go awry — a genetic flaw already known to increase the risk of getting macular degeneration in the first place. Those are the only patients who appeared to benefit from the drug; they had 44 percent less eye damage than the untreated patients, the Genentech team reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine. While the study is too small to prove if lampalizumab really helps maintain vision, that’s a bigger difference than the overall results suggested. ■■ Why would an immune-related gene affect aging eyes? One arm of the immune system, the complement pathway, helps fight infections by attracting immune cells to attack bacteria.

Normally, there’s a barrier that keeps such cells away from the retina. But that barrier can break down with age, opening sensitive eye cells to harm from the spillover, explained Genentech immunologist Menno van Lookeren Campagne. Now for the gene connection: Previous studies have linked macular degeneration to gene variations that remove some of that pathway’s natural brakes, so it can become too active. ■■ The hypothesis: Genentech’s drug, lampalizumab, essentially offers a backup method for tamping down the immune reaction. An antibody, it works by inhibiting a particular enzyme named factor D that helps power the immune pathway. “We try to reinsert the braking ability,” said study lead author Brian Yaspan, a Genentech senior scientist. ■■ What’s next: The study detected no safety concerns, clearing the way for Genentech and its parent company Roche to open two large-scale studies that aim to prove if the drug works. Results are expected later this year. The current research sheds light on how that long-suspected immune culprit might be working, and is “the first suggestion that there may be a treatment for geographic

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We are hiring drivers for our DART program, funded by Community Transit. Full-time and Part-time opportunities are available to provide safe and reliable transportation for frail, elderly, disabled and/or vulnerable adults. Commercial Licensed (A,B,C) drivers with Passenger Endorsements are encouraged to apply, but if you don’t have these credentials, don’t worry. WE will PAY YOU to TRAIN while you learn the skills required for this type of license. Earn a $1,000 HIRING BONUS and enjoy competitive wages and great benefits. Pay is union scale, starts at $15.00 per hour and increases to $16.31 per hour at six months. This position is considered safety sensitive under the U.S. Department of Transportation and is subject to drug and alcohol testing under both DOT and Homage Senior Services authority; this position must pass physical examination and drug/alcohol testing, as well as a criminal history.

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atrophy coming up in the future,” said National Eye Institute retina specialist Dr. Wai Wong, who wasn’t involved in the study. “It’s a very, very exciting study,” said Khurana, the ophthalmologist association’s spokesman, who also was not involvd in the study. “From the basic science perspective, it makes a lot of sense.” ■■ Health advice for now: Macular degeneration tends to occur after age 60, but it sometimes strikes earlier. According to the National Eye Institute, it’s less common in people who exercise regularly, avoid smoking, and eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables and fish. Symptoms often aren’t noticeable early on. But several eye tests can detect signs of macular degeneration, including a dilated eye exam and a tool called an Amsler grid. Macular degeneration patients often are advised to take certain vitamin combinations that may help stave off advanced disease. And it’s important for patients to know what type they have. While there’s no treatment for the advanced dry form, the “wet” form occurs when leaky blood vessels grow under the retina — and there are several therapies that can help those patients preserve vision.


Homage

Altering habitual movements increases strength

SHIBA Medicare events

By Wina Sturgeon Adventure Sports Weekly

You can meet with a SHIBA volunteer to evaluate your choices. After Oct. 1, call 425-513-1900 for an appointment at these locations: Camano Community Center, Oct. 24 and Nov. 21. East County Senior Center, Monroe, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16. Edmonds Senior Center, Nov. 2 and 30. Everett Goodwill Job Training Center, Oct. 20 and Nov. 3 and 17. Ken Baxter Senior Center, Marysville, Nov. 29 Lake Stevens Senior Center, Nov. 9 Marysville Goodwill Job Training Center, Oct. 27. Mukilteo Library, Dec. 4. Northshore MIll Creek Senior Center, Oct. 25. Snohomish Library, Nov. 20. Stanwood Community Center, Oct. 31 Stillaguamish Senior Center, Arlington, Oct. 18 Verdant Health Commission, Lynnwood, Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, 13 and 27 and Dec. 6. Warm Beach Senior Community, Stanwood, Nov. 8.

abundance of Medicare information on the web page, but not all older people know how to use the internet. This is when SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisers) volunteers can provide assistance. Volunteers, trained by the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, can explain the various parts of Medicare. The service is free, and not affiliated with any Medicare Advantage or drug plans. They also can assist you with the Medicare website to help you find the right drug plan or MA plan for next year.

As most folks age, they become accustomed to making the same motions with the same side of their bodies. For example, when they reach up into a cupboard, it’s always with the same arm. When they shovel, it’s always with the same foot on the shovel. When they kneel, it’s always the same leg that descends first. After several decades of always making the same motions with the same limb, the body adapts. The dominant leg grows ever more dominant until most of the work is being done by one glute. Any muscle imbalance will continue to grow ever more imbalanced. The strong side will always grow stronger, the weaker side will always grow weaker. Eventually, the skeleton itself will twist to accommodate the stronger side, because the involved muscles exert a stronger pull on the bones to which they attach. The result will inevitably be pain and discomfort on the weaker side. That’s one reason that those who hit their seventh decade of life are less mobile. It may be uncomfortable for them to walk. This can be self-resolved and get better over time. However, the solution will require concentration and

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diligent work on your part. First, get an accurate analysis, so you’re not playing guessing games. A sports doctor can test your muscle strength and give you a program of exercises to make the weak side stronger. One test, called a “gait analysis,” will analyze whether one glute does more work than the other when walking or running. You can do the work of resolving muscle imbalances. It’s as simple as equalizing the work you do with each side of the body and paying attention to how you move. For example, if you always reach up to a cabinet with the same arm, start reaching with the other arm. It may be uncomfortable at first. You may not have the same range of motion that you do with the stronger arm. You won’t at first be able to handle the same amount of weight at first. But keep concentrating on working with the less dominant arm, and soon both your reach and your ability to handle more weight with the weaker side will improve. The same goes with the legs. If you always start running or jogging with the same foot, start off now with the other foot. Balancing the way you use your limbs and core will help prevent the immobility that’s often a side effect of aging. — Tribune Content Agency

See what a difference Exceptional Care can make!

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Medicare Open Enrollment time runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. This is the time you can make changes to the Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) and the Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that will start in January. Companies will be sending you all kinds of information in the mail. It can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are some suggestions. First, pay close attention to the information your current plan sends you. You may find that certain medications are no longer covered or their “tier level” has changed and the drug may cost more. Also your pharmacy may no longer be on their list of pharmacies that they use. It could cost you more money if you don’t look at the changes in your plans. Making comparisons to other plans is also useful. Besides your medications, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your doctors may no longer accept the plan next year. It is important to check with your doctor’s office to see what plans will be covered next year. Second, your health may have changed over the year. You may have more health issues, need different medications or need to go to different doctors. You are unique in your health needs. So the plan that your spouse or your neighbor uses may not work for you. Next, if you are familiar with the computer, you can go to the Medicare website, https://www.medicare. gov, to check for your drugs or MA plans to see what changes have been made. You can go to the link “Find health and drug plans” on the main page to locate this information. You will be asked for your ZIP code first, which is important for finding the plans you will need. There is an

7

Keep your balance

Volunteers available to help guide Medicare decisions By Judy Edgmand Snohomish County SHIBA Volunteer

September 2017

Holistic 425-239-8818

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September 2017

Homage

A family provides adopted grandma place to call home By Jonathan Winslow The Orange County Register

an ocean away in the Philippines who raised her, Celis, 49, said the offer was an easy one to make. She sat down with her husband, Edmundo, to discuss the matter, but the conversation was a quick one, they said. They had a chance to make a real difference in someone’s life. “I told my family, let’s see how far she can go, Celis said. “We take care of her and give her what she needs. Situations such as the Celis family’s adoption of Wirth aren’t entirely uncommon. “We see that there are a lot of kindhearted people out there,� Elizabeth DenBleyker, with Orange County Social Services, said. “We see it more often than you would think, which is heartwarming compared to what the situation could possibly be for these individuals.� Wirth didn’t have identification or other documents when she came to live with the Celis family, so it has been hard to get her signed up for government services or get coverage for professional care. “We do our best to give her what we can,� Edmundo Celis said. “But she deserves more ... This isn’t our profession, but in our hearts we do what we can.� Wirth gives the family her Social Security check, which combines with Gina Celis’ part-time nursing job and her husband’s retirement to form the household income. The family’s schedule ensures someone is always home with Wirth. Wirth has her own room in the family’s seven-bedroom house. It’s nothing fancy, but it has a view of the back yard, where she said she

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. ­—“Make a wish, Vern!� The Celis family fell short of the 108 candles Verna Wirth’s birthday cake called for, but there were enough flames to set off the smoke alarm. Such an ordinary family scene — but there’s nothing typical about the bond between this group. Wirth, now the Celis family’s live-in grandma, was a stranger until a bold decision gave her an all new family just as she had nowhere to turn. Originally from Wisconsin, Wirth outlived her husband, Arthur, and twin daughters, Arlene and Eileen. Arlene died of cancer in 2012 — Eileen had died several years earlier of a brain tumor. Left with little money and no family, Wirth was placed in a nursing home by family friend Audrey Piesek, who helped pay for her care. In 2014, the nursing home was shutting down and Piesek realized she couldn’t afford Wirth’s care much longer. Once again faced with uncertainty, Wirth found unexpected help in a caretaker she had befriended at the facility. Gina Celis invited Wirth, then 104, to live in her Orange County home and be a part of her family. “I talked to Gina and asked what I could do, and she stepped in. She was a blessing,� Piesek said. “She’s a true angel on earth, that’s how she is. She’s just a sweetheart. I’m so lucky that she took Verna for me.� Touched by Wirth’s situation and reminded of the grandparents now

Verna Wirth celebrates her 108th birthday with the Celis family, including Gina, her son, Edmund, and dog, Coco. (Mindy Schauer / Orange County Register) loves to bask in the warm sunlight. One Monday afternoon, Edmund Celis sat with Wirth in the yard. He brought out her favorite sunglasses, leaning close to her ear so she could hear his casual remarks on what a lovely day it was. “Being with her, I feel like I need to enjoy my life while I’m young,� said Edmund Celis, the eldest of the family’s two sons. “She’s really taught me to be in the moment and not worry so much about what will happen.� When the two first met, Wirth was on hospice care, had difficulty swallowing food and had blisters on her legs, Celis said. The blisters have healed, Wirth is off all medication and is strong enough to eat on her own. She’s a bit of a picky eater and has a major sweet tooth, but she won’t say no to a good hamburger. Wirth doesn’t talk much and is hard of hearing. She sometimes needs help getting between her bed and wheelchair, but she’s fairly independent beyond that, the family said. She’ll occasionally share tales of her youth, particularly her days dancing as a teenager in the 1920s.

“I could follow anything� she said, remembering a favorite dance spot for her and her friends in Wisconsin. One night, a man Wirth had never met before scooped her up and the strangers hit the dance floor for a contest. “He grabbed me and we started dancing — and we got first prize,� Wirth said. “I think it was $1,000. He grabbed his part, I took mine and that was it.� In Wisconsin, Wirth stayed at home raising her daughters as husband Arthur sold cars. Her daughter, Arlene, was less content — she married a doctor and headed for California as soon as she could. Arlene moved her parents to Orange County when Wirth was in her 90s, Piesek said. Bouncing between nursing homes, Arthur died not long afterward. Arlene died of cancer less than 10 years later. Wirth’s new family is dedicated to making her sunset years as peaceful as can be. For Wirth’s next birthday, Celis said she’ll find a way to squeeze all 109 candles on to the cake.

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Homage

September 2017

9

SAVVY SENIOR

Exercise can reduce arthritis pain and stiffness By Jim Miller Q. What exercises are best suited for seniors with arthritis? I have osteoarthritis in my neck, back, hip and knee and have read that exercises can help ease the pain and stiffness, but I don’t know where to start, and I certainly don’t want to aggravate it. Stiff and Achy A. Many people who have arthritis believe that exercise will worsen their condition, but that’s not true. Exercise is actually one of the best treatments for osteoarthritis. Proper and careful exercises can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, strengthen muscles around the joints and increase flexibility. It also helps manage other chronic conditions that are common among seniors with arthritis, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Recommended exercises Determining exactly which types of exercises that are best for you depends on the form and severity

of your arthritis, and which joints are involved. It’s best to work with your doctor or a physical therapist to help you develop a personalized exercise program. The different types of exercises that are most often recommended to seniors with arthritis include: ■■ Range-of-motion exercises: These are gentle stretching exercises that can relieve stiffness as well as improve your ability to move your joints through their normal range of motion. These exercises should be done daily. ■■ Strengthening exercises: Calisthenics, weight training and working with resistance bands are recommended (two or more days a week) to maintain and improve your muscle strength, which helps support and protect your joints. ■■ Aerobic exercises: Low-impact activities like walking, cycling, swimming or water aerobics are all recommended three to five times per week to help improve cardiovascular health, control weight and improve your overall function. It’s also important to keep in mind that when you first start exercising, you need to go slowly to give your body time to adjust.

If you push yourself too hard, you can aggravate your joint pain. However, some muscle soreness or joint achiness in the beginning is normal. To manage your pain, start by warming up with some simple stretches or range of motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to strengthening or aerobic exercises. Another tip is to apply heat to the joints you’ll be working before you exercise, and use cold packs to reduce inflammation after exercising. If you’re experiencing a lot of pain while you exercise, you may need to modify the frequency, duration or intensity of your exercises until the pain improves. Or you may need to try a different activity, for example, switching from walking to water aerobics. But it you’re having severe, sharp or constant pain, large increases in swelling or if your joints feel hot or red, stop and see your doctor.

Exercising aids

living-with-arthritis/exercise/videos, to guide you through a variety of exercises. And there are arthritis exercise DVDs you can purchase for a few dollars through Collage Video, collagevideo.com, 800-819-7111, or the Arthritis Foundation store, afstore.org Also, a National Institute on Aging resource, go4life.nia.nih.gov, 800222-2225, offers a free exercise guide with illustrated examples of exercises. If you need motivation or don’t like exercising alone, ask your doctor about exercise programs in your area for people with arthritis. Hospitals and clinics sometimes offer special programs, as do local health clubs and senior centers. The Arthritis Foundation also conducts exercise and aquatic programs for people with arthritis in many communities throughout the United States. Contact, arthritis.org/local-offices, 800-283-7800, to find out what may be available near you.

To help you exercise at home, the Arthritis Foundation offers a variety of free online videos, arthritis.org/

....Send your questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org.

Several aspects of travel can disrupt our regularity Chicago Tribune Your normal response to move your bowels can get suppressed when traveling. “It’s the whole psychological thing of how regular are you and are you in a frame of mind to have that regular bowel movement,” said Dr. Michael Ruchim, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “It’s something that’s talked about but “not well-described

in literature with science behind it.” Traveling can also disrupt sleep patterns, fluid intake and the amount of food you eat. Add in the availability of public bathrooms and the reluctance some feel about using them, and this can lead to “stool retention and more difficult evacuation,” said Dr. Darren Brennen, a gastroenterologist at Northwestern Medicine. Long stretches of sitting can also

contribute to the problem. Luckily, most people don’t need to do much to remedy the issue. For most of us, the body should reset in a day or so, Ruchim said. Even skipping a few days is no cause for alarm. But if you are concerned about symptoms like bloating or nausea, he suggested ways to prep: ■■ Plane travel can lead to dehydration, so drink more water and less alcohol.

■■ Make sure you get enough fiber the first day, either by eating fruits and vegetables or by taking a fiber supplement. ■■ Pack stool softeners. Make sure to heed your body’s call to action. The longer your stool sits in your colon, the harder it gets, Brennen said. “One of my solutions is go when you need to go,” said Edwards, “even if you don’t like the toilet situation.”

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September 2017

Senior Focus

TRAVEL WITH KATHY

New Hampshire offers magnificent scenery, and you can see the state in a long weekend By Kathy Witt Tribune News Service New Hampshire is a state of many monikers — Granite State, Mother of Rivers, White Mountain State, Switzerland of America. For travel planning purposes, the lesser known nickname of the two-by-four state seems to be most apt. That’s because one can traverse New Hampshire’s width in about two hours and its length in about four, providing an irresistible opportunity to explore several distinct regions on a long and leisurely weekend, taking in magnificent scenery every mile of the way.

Monadnock region Begin in the shadow of Monadnock, the gently sloped mountain that gives this picture-postcard corner of New Hampshire its name. The region comprises dozens of communities depicting scenes of classic New England: covered bridges, ponds and meandering rivers, church-steepled villages, mansions shielded behind leafy maple and oak trees. The area has some fun Hollywood connections. Bette Davis, who dominated the silver screen marquee during Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1930s through 1950s, made her stage debut in 1925 at what is now the Peterborough Playhouse, an active and intimate theatre tucked into an 18th century barn. Robin Williams’ 1995 action-adventure, “Jumanji,” was filmed in Keene, a charmer of a village that stood in for the movie’s fictional Brantford, NH. Painted on a brick building at the corner of West and Main Streets is the sign, “Parrish Shoes,” recalling the family business in the movie.

Settle down for the night at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, a boutique hotel set along the shore of peaceful Lake Opechee. (Matthew Lovette / Jumping Rocks Inc.) There are several Monadnock region delights not to be missed. Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates, founded by self-taught chocolatier Susan Mazzone, has a variety of 30 or so made-fresh-daily, come-hither chocolates in the candy cases at any given time, including house faves Mint Oreo Explosion and Peanut Butter Meltaways. At the New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery, proprietor and distiller Robert Spruill uses all local ingredients, including apples and potatoes, so that his handcrafted, small-batch spirits _ including rum, gin, vodka and moonshine _ “taste like the region.” And he makes them

in a circa 1850s building with furnishings made from salvaged materials so visitors can feel its history. “We want to be connected to the past, in a place that says, ‘we age stuff,’” said Spruill, who learned very young that when “Grampy was in the basement,” it meant he was making moonshine. In fact, Spruill uses that old family recipe in Sweetwater’s Monadnock Moonshine. Get a good night’s sleep at the oldest inn in New Hampshire, the comfortable and lovingly decorated Hancock Inn. Innkeepers Marcia and Jarvis Coffin are hospitality itself; each of the inn’s rooms is a calming retreat with period-appropriate

furnishings, buttery-soft sheets, spa robes and Wi-Fi. Book the Rufus Porter room to see original wall murals painted nearly 200 years ago by this famous self-taught American painter. Just don’t leave without a breakfast of Jarvis’ tasty Tomato Stacker and a side of crispy-thin johnnycakes soaked in pure maple syrup.

The Lakes Travel north to the Lakes Region, another region with Hollywood connections. Back in 1981, the Katharine CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 Hepburn/Henry Fonda Oscar winner, “On Golden Pond,” was filmed at Squam Lake, tall honors for an area boasting 250-plus lakes and ponds. Golden, yes, but not the largest. That would be Lake Winnipesaukee. One of the premier attractions along Winni’s 180 miles of shoreline is the Mill Falls Marketplace in Meredith, a former Industrial Revolution-era linen mill that has been transformed into a village resort with shopping and dining, country inns and gardens and a 40-foot waterfall. Browse the colorful kids’ section with its stuffies and games at the Innisfree Bookshop. Wander Lee’s Candy Kitchen with its cases, shelves and glass jars filled with sweets. Pop into the Great Northern Trading Company with its array of rustic home decor items. Tour Hermit Woods Winery and sample the fruit wines. The twist? These wines are bone dry, made using classic European and California wine making methods and aged in oak barrels _ what owner Bob Manley extols as the “winemaker’s spice cabinet.” Head into the heart of the Lakes Region for an ice cream break at Kellerhaus Chocolates in Laconia. New Hampshire’s oldest candy shop is a warren of rooms packed with gifts and goodies, everything from homemade chocolates and ice cream sundaes to Christmas ornaments, toys, cuckoo clocks, made-in-New England treasures, seasonal items and more. Visitors can happily lose a couple hours roaming from one alluring display to another. Settle down for the night at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa, a boutique hotel set along the shore of peaceful Lake Opechee. The inn’s 34 guestrooms each have their own individual style; all have a comfy sitting area with a fireplace and views of the surrounding mountains and lake. Go classic steakhouse for dinner with reservations at the award-winning O Steaks & Seafood, a cheery hub with dim lighting and an

“Jumangi” lives on in Keene in New Hampshire’s Monadnock region through this sign featuring Parrish Shoes. (Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce) unhurried ambiance connected to the inn. Chef and owner Scott Ouellette puts a twist on traditional favorites, with signature dishes like Lobster Mac & Cheese and Kobe Beef and Shiitake Mushroom Meatloaf. Be forewarned: portions are sizable. White Mountains Further north, in New Hampshire’s White Mountains region, the grand hotel experience pairs well with the majesty of peaks and pinnacles soaring upward 4,000 feet and higher. Sitting in scenic splendor in the heart of the White Mountains is the AAA Four Diamonds Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa. A member of Historic Hotels of America, this luxury 141-room behemoth, which was founded in 1865, remains a gracious and welcoming

haven with a storybook setting. There are activities for every season, from adult axe throwing and maple sugaring presentations in the spring to golf and mountain biking in the summer and fall to dog sledding and snowmobiling in the winter. The resort has a movie theater and a game room and offers afternoon wine tastings, evening piano music in the lobby and an artfully crafted gastronomy experience that offers 6,000 wines in the hotel’s 1865 Wine Cellar. Every season offers families a full roster of activities — scavenger hunts, board games, bingo, campfires and s’mores, history tours and more — and for many families, spending their vacation together at this grand hotel is a tradition that goes back generations.

The resort is surrounded by attractions as well, including Cog Railway, the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway, which opens end of April; Santa Village amusement park, reopening end of May for the season; the Weathervane Theatre, offering summer shows including “Hairspray the Broadway Musical” and “Seussical” for 2017; and Cannon Mountain, a popular ski spot that can be seen from Mountain View Grand. Information about these regions, their accommodations and attractions, can be be found at www. visitnh.gov. Travel and lifestyle writer Kathy Witt, KathyWitt24@gmail.com, feels you should never get to the end of your bucket list — there’s too much to see and do.

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September 2017

Homage

Program honors family members Raising grandkids can feel like the raising other relatives’ children Kinship caregivers offered support that meets individual needs By Amy Dennis Kinship Caregiver Program Specialist Sometimes the biological parents of a child are unable or unwilling to raise their child. This can be for a variety of reasons. When this is the case, family members often step up to care for their relative’s children, keeping them with family and out of foster care.

What is a kinship caregiver? In essence, a kinship caregiver is a blood-relative who is raising another relative’s child, full-time. Most often. kinship caregivers are grandparents raising their grandchildren, but there are many aunts and uncles who have taken in their nephews and nieces, or even adult siblings raising younger siblings.

How can this program support a kinship caregiver? The Kinship Caregiver Program is a community-based program, which means we work to provide support that honors the communities we serve throughout Snohomish County, taking into account the individual experiences, family and culture of each household. With this in mind, the Kinship Program offers support groups for the caregivers; limited financial resources to those who qualify, and information and referral resources, including navigating systems such as DSHS, CPS, IEP’s, court and legal options, state supports and special needs services, as well as referrals to other provider agencies. As the issues facing kinship families are everchanging, we do our best to keep up with the needs and trends. So, don’t be surprised to hear us say, “We may not have the answer right now, but we will walk with you in getting the answer.” What other resources are available for Kinship Families in our community? The Kinship Caregiver Program is developing ongoing relationships with partners around

second time around

Snohomish County and beyond. Through support from Washington State, other Kinship Programs and growing community awareness, we have been able to provide free family activities, and information about free programs in and around Snohomish County. Some of these include passes to the Seattle Aquarium, Pacific Science Center, free bowling and skating, free or low cost movies, and more! We have also been able to fill needs through collaboration with partner agencies such as Campfire Summer Camp, The ARC of Snohomish County serving children with special needs, Compass Health Crisis & Intervention Teams, Lifespan Respite and much more.

Homage Senior Services A Kinship Caregiver is a non-parental relative providing around-the-clock care for a relative child residing in their home — most often they are grandparents raising their grandchildren. The Relatives As Parents Program at Homage Senior Services recognizes and honors the sacrifices many grandparents make and the important role they have in shaping the lives of the grandchildren in their full-time care. We hope you had a happy Grandparents Day on Sept. 10 and “When I want to found time to put on be just grandma, your “funny tennis I put on this shoes”! When grandparents pair of funny become parents again, tennis shoes everyone loses somewith florescent thing. The children shoestrings. For miss an important the day or a bond with the person few hours, I’m who loves them just grandma with the way they are. They miss out on special my grandchilmemories with their dren — not their grandparents. mom” Grandparents miss — “I Just out on the chance to Want to Be indulge and spoil the Grandma,” grandkids. You are by Ann Marie supposed to get to take the children on Marshall special outings, buy them special treats and watch their sports events or performance in the school play. Some grandparents who are parenting a second time have found creative ways to be both parent and grandparent. The person above wears special shoes, another puts on a crazy hat. These clothes are a signal to the children that, for today, I’m just grandma or grandpa. Today we’ll do things that grandparents and grandchildren do together — maybe go to the park, see a movie or eat a special treat. Then when the hat or shoes go back in the closet, the grandparent becomes the parent again. Think about creative ways that you can be a grandparent for a day or even a few hours. Explain to the children why you have to be their parent most of the time. But also give them some “grandparenting” time to look forward to. The “grandparent” time you spend with the children will be cherished for years.

I am not a kinship caregiver. How can I help support kinship families? Talk about it. Kinship caregivers are sprinkled throughout our communities, but often live in isolation because of some of their situations. There may be an aunt who is active in her child’s PTA or homeroom at school — you may assume she is “mom” but she isn’t. She probably prefers it that way! Yet, there is much honor for kinship caregivers who give so much to the children in their care. Auntie may have needs, but feels uncomfortable sharing. Befriend her, let her know she is of value and that there is a program available to support her amazing work. Consider volunteering at Homage Senior Services. There are opportunities for you to directly assist the Kinship Caregiver Program. Donate your talent. Do you crochet or knit? Consider making children’s blankets, layette sets or baby caps for Kinship staff to take to children on home visits. If you have an idea of how you would like to get involved, let us know!

I am a kinship caregiver, how do I get started? Begin by contacting an aging disability resource specialist at 425-513-1900. They will explain more about the program and do a brief intake. Once we have basic information, a kinship specialist will contact you. They can provide community resources, support and follow up. Have ideas? Need Assistance? Call 425-513-1900 or email adrn@homage.org

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Homage

Forty years later, Bob and Saralee, are back at the ice cream shop. (Contributed photo)

Bittersweet memories of how it all began at an ice cream shop By Saralee Perel

“It seems like yesterday,” I said. This 70 thing couldn’t be bothering me instead of Bob, could it? That feeling of wistfulness was now replaced by wanting to throw up. Choking on my words, I said, “The place was packed. We locked eyes just as if we were the only ones there. You were wearing your light-blue work shirt and it matched your blue eyes.” “That was over 40 years ago,” he said. My shoulders did a grand-slam slump. Then I ever so slowly put myself prone and face down in the grass. “Saralee! Pull yourself together.” He helped me up and gave me a hug. By the time we got to the ice cream shop, I was uncontrollably sobbing. “Boy, will your birthday be rotten.” He snuggled with me in the front seat. “All I want for my birthday is you.” That’s all I needed to hear. And so, just like the pair we were 40 years ago, we sat at the counter and had our ice creams. I had a hot fudge sundae with extra cherries, which didn’t fall off. Bob’s birthday will be a day to cherish, when two people in love share one fine occasion filled with dreams of long ago, the exquisite present tense and courage for the days to come. Syndicated columnist Saralee Perel, can be reached at sperel@saraleeperel.com or via her website, www. SaraleePerel.com

My husband, Bob, will soon turn 70. He’s been refusing to get out of bed. Today, I pulled his covers down. “Bob, 70 is the new 50.” He pulled the covers back over his head and mumbled, “What’s 80? The new dead?” “Bob, look what you’re missing out on right now. A wonderful day with me. Come on. Get dressed and we’ll go to Four Seas Ice Cream.” Four Seas is probably one of the most popular ice cream parlors on Cape Cod, where we live. I said, “I’ll even treat you to one of their T-shirts. What color?” “Black noir.” “What size? “Old.” Later, he said, “I don’t feel 70.” “What’s 70 supposed to feel like?” “As cuddly and adorable as a tick.” “I’m getting you out of this funk. We have this very moment to be in love with each other. I’m not missing out on it.” That lifted Bob’s spirits. He held my hand as we walked to our car. He joyfully said, “We fell in love when we saw each other at Four Seas. Remember?” “Oh yes,” I said, suddenly feeling a little wistful. “You ordered extra cherries for your hot fudge sundae. They fell on the floor and you stepped on them. Everywhere you walked, you left little red dots behind you.”

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September 2017

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September 2017

Homage

Be sure your benefit is correct by checking your past pay records By Kirk Larson Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist

Community Transit Dial-A-Ride call center manager John Hagen at the call center office in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

DART: Transit service can prevent isolation that can accompany illness FROM PAGE 1

people to do that job.” Karen rides the bus numerous times per week, for anything from grocery shopping to going to sing karaoke with her friends — some of whom she made while riding with DART. She said illness isolates people. After she lost her legs, she didn’t go anywhere for three years. DART was the service she needed to get out of the house. “DART has given me so much convenience to get out,” she said. “It’s my window on the world. It’s the difference between being house-bound and being free to go out and participate. “My grandparents didn’t have anything like this. We’re truly blessed.” For information or to apply for the bus service, call 425-347-5912 for DART or 425423-8517 for TAP. Or go to www.homage. org/transportation-

to take care of the customer,” John said. “What they do in comparison to any other transportation truly is amazing — the help and the care they give is why I’m here.” For some, such as Karen Mason, DART is a necessity. Also a Lynnwood resident, Karen has been riding with DART for more than 10 years. “I am what they call door-to-door,” said Karen, who is a double amputee and needs a manual wheelchair. “That means they come to my door, and they assist me down my ramp, which I can’t operate by myself. “Plus, I’m no spring chicken either. I’m 73, after all.” After all these years and all their help, she said the drivers have become like family. “I know all the drivers. They’ve got wonderful guys,” Karen said. “It takes special

Whether you’re ready to retire, just joining the workforce or somewhere in between, regularly reviewing your Social Security earnings record could make a big difference when it’s time to collect retirement benefits. In some situations, if an employer did not properly report just one year of your work earnings to us, your future payments from Social Security could end up being $100 per month less than they should be. Over a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled. Social Security prevents many mistakes from ever appearing on your earnings record. On average, we process about 236 million W-2 wage reports from employers, representing more than $5 trillion in earnings. More than 98 percent of these wages are posted with little problem. But it’s ultimately the responsibility of your employers — past and present — to provide accurate earnings information to Social Security so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes. We rely on you to inform us of any errors or omissions. You’re the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and

verify that it’s complete and correct. So, what’s the easiest and most efficient way to validate your earnings record? Visit www.socialsecurity. gov/myaccount to set up or sign in to your own My Social Security account. Under the “My Home” tab, click on “Earnings Record” to view your online Social Security Statement and taxed Social Security earnings. Carefully review each year of listed earnings and use your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns, to confirm them. Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet. If you notice that you need to correct your earnings record, check out our fact sheet at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf Sooner is definitely better than later when it comes to identifying and reporting problems with your earnings record. As time passes, you may no longer have past tax documents and some employers may no longer be in business or able to provide past payroll information. You need to make sure all your work history is posted. When we calculate your benefit payment we use your top 35 years of earnings and adjust your past work history for inflation. You can learn more about how your benefit amount is calculated at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10070.pdf

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Homage

VOLUNTEER OPPPORTUNITIES By John McAlpine RSVP Program Recruiter

If you have questions about RSVP, volunteering or any of the agencies listed here, call 425-374-6374 or email johnm@ccsww.org

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■■ Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds and the Alzheimer’s Association co-host an Art Walk at the museum. Call Joanne at 206-529-3872 for information. ■■ Friendly Folk Dance classes at Edmonds Center for the Arts begin Nov. 6. The center also offers matinee movies as part of their dementia-inclusive series. The first one is Fiddler on the Roof, 10 a.m. Oct. 21. Donation is $10, or $2 for low income families. Call the box office, 425275-9595, for information. ■■ Alzheimer’s Cafes, a friendly place to meet others, eat and sing, at Pagliacci’s Pizza in Edmonds, 2 to 3:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month, and at IHOP in Smokey Point, 2 to 3:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month. No registration required — just show up. For information, call Ruth, 425-740-3794. In north county, SnoMentia-North will be starting programs this month — watch for information. If you are living with dementia or know someone who is and would like to participate in enjoyable programs, please join us. You will meet new people, laugh a lot and be part of a larger community. Check out the calendar on www.snocare. com

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Participants enjoyed a free cup of coffee and looking at the beautiful flowers and plants. Following the tour, they moved across the street to Flower World’s fruit and vegetable stand for a little shopping, and then wandered the pathways looking at a multitude of chickens, peacocks, ducks, geese and goats. On the bus ride home, the group discussed favorite sights and shared a snack. Everyone is looking forward to the next outing. Upcoming programs are just as wonderful: ■■ Dinner and Elvis will be Sept. 23, 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace Community Senior Center, which is hosting the event for people with memory loss, friends and family, and all who support a dementia-friendly community. The evening includes dinner, dessert and a chance to hear an Elvis Presley impersonator, Shane Corbane, sing some of your favorite songs. This is a opportunity for a date night with your favorite family member or friend. A voluntary $5 donation at the door is requested, if you are able. Call 425-672-2407 for information or to sign up. Other south county dementia-friendly programs coming up this fall include:

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SnoMentia is a grassroots movement taking off in Snohomish County to empower people with memory loss and their loved ones to stay active and connected in the community. A counterpart to Seattle’s Momentia movement, its goal is to transform what it means to live with dementia in the community, changing the story to one of hope, connection and finding joy in the moment. Working together, a variety of organizations and community members promote accessible programs that focus on strengths and take place in familiar public settings. SnoMentia’s latest program was an Aug. 29 field trip to Flower World hosted by Edmonds Senior Center. Five people with memory loss and their loved ones took a ride on the Edmonds Senior Center bus to Flower World near Monroe. The manager, Terri, gave a brief history of the facility, how it has grown over the years and the jobs it provides in the community. She then provided a brief tour of the centrally section of this vast property, which covers 200 acres.

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Sponsored by Catholic Community Services, RSVP is America’s largest network for volunteers 55 and older and the only program that records the collective contribution of the senior volunteers. RSVP exists to help older volunteers find fulfillment in their volunteer work. Volunteer opportunities exist all over Snohomish County. School/After school mentors: School has started, and even though volunteers are not usually needed until Oct. 1, it is not too early to consider this work. There are opportunities to help students after school in a homeless shelter, at the Boys and Girls Club or in school during the day. Volunteer chores: Help is needed to assist others with routine household chores like vacuuming, changing bed linens, doing laundry and similar tasks. This help allows clients to to stay in their homes and “age in place.” A few hours every couple weeks can go a long way. Food banks: The term “food insecurity” means that a person doesn’t know where or when they’ll find their next meal. In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children. Washington state ranks as the 23rd hungriest state in the nation. Opportunities to volunteer are all over the county. Food banks need help with repacking food, assisting clients, picking up food from donors, unloading trucks and registering clients. RSVP works with the following food banks: Arlington, Everett (two locations), Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville (two locations), Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish and Stanwood/ Camano. Department of Emergency Management: If you’d like to assist the first responders in the event of a countywide emergency, this might be for you. There are several support jobs that allow those working the event to be successful. These jobs are not on the scene of the event, they are in the office.

Volunteer transportation: If you have an insured, safe vehicle (lights, brakes and horn all in working condition), consider volunteering as a driver. Your driving record doesn’t have to be perfect to qualify. Drive when and where you want. SHIBA: Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors help callers understand their rights and options, and offer up-to-date information to help them make informed decisions concerning health insurance needs. (See story on page 7). If you like helping people, SHIBA might be for you. There are 30 hours of training. It is a free, confidential and impartial counseling resource sponsored by the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

September 2017


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September 2017

Senior Focus

TECH TALK

Help! Junk mail is overwhelming my inbox By Bob DeLaurentis Q. A few months ago I used my email address to gain access to a website. It turned out I was not interested in the site, but I am still flooded with junk email from the site despite using the “Unsubscribe” link. Is there anything else I can do? A. Sadly some companies are more lax than others when it comes to respecting your email privacy. If a company fails to honor an “unsubscribe” link, your options are limited. Stop clicking unsubscribe and just delete the message without opening it. Mark it as spam or create a mail filter rule that sends any messages from that address directly to the trash. Although it is too late this time, in the future you may wish to consider

a service like mailinator.com. They are a fee-based email host, but they offer free temporary email addresses that are handy for confirmation messages. Some email providers give their customers email aliases. An alias lets you receive email without revealing your “real” address. Check with your service provider to see if they offer that feature. Q. Your recent tips for Google search were very helpful, but I still have problems searching for things like telephone numbers, especially when I need tech support. A. Telephone tech support peaked in the 1990s and has been in decline ever since. Today, many tech companies do not even publish their telephone numbers. There is a

t c e l Re-e ht g i r W a n n Do Marysville City Council Position 2 Priority Issues: Protecting Private Property Rights • Reduce Traffic Congesstion Public Safety • Create Family Wage Jobs to Provide Good Tax Base Paid for by Citizens to Elect Donna Wright. 1961875

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chance that the reason you cannot find a number is simply because there isn’t one. To make matters worse, on occasion search results for a popular tech support topic contain fraudulent contact information set up by criminals seeking to steal your identity. Keep in mind that the Internet mirrors the real world, for good and ill. The best way to search for contact information for a product or service is to start with the vendor’s main website. Use Google to connect with the main page of a company’s website, then use that page to find tech support options and contact numbers. Fake search results are not just created to spread bogus telephone numbers. There are countless fakes hiding in many different types of web searches. It takes experience to spot fake search results, therefore awareness is your first line of defense. These scams usually depend on some degree of anonymity. Try to confirm general information from a company’s website as much as you can. Or avoid web searches for sensitive information. Q. I would like to get my granddaughter her own computer for Christmas. Which one should I get? A. You did not mention your granddaughter’s age. If she is old enough, she might have preferences of her own. However, if that is not a factor, the good news is that I have the same answer no matter what her age. The very best allaround computer available right now is a 10-inch iPad Pro. Most of the differences between traditional computers and iPads no longer matter, including the capability to run two apps side-by-side and the ability to drag-and-drop from one document to another. If your granddaughter is a little older and knows how to touch type, add an external keyboard. Consider an Apple Pencil if she likes to draw. If she is very young,

I recommend the least expensive iPad you can find and an Otterbox case to protect it. In short, a new iPad or iPad Pro will take care of her computing needs for years to come. A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob can be contacted at techtalk@bobdel. com.

WANDER THE WEB Bob’s picks for some worthwhile browsing this month:

Search different Google is pretty much the first site everyone thinks of when it comes to search, and it has a lot of tricks hidden under its cursor. But Wolfram Alpha is worth a look too, especially for the kinds of questions that stump Google. wolframalpha.com

A good book to read Looking for a good book? Visit whatshouldireadnext.com, a book search engine. Using over a decade’s worth of data voluntarily collected from other book lovers, it creates a list of titles based on an author or book title you already like. Think of it as asking a few thousand of your closest friends for advice. whatshouldireadnext.com

Turbo-charged doodles We have all doodled on a pad of paper to pass the time, maybe while we are on hold with tech support. This site creates drawings with a few mouse clicks. It might not help create your next masterpiece, but it’s a fun way to waste a few minutes. weavesilk.com


Homage

Home grants retirees chance to pursue ‘bucket list’ dreams By Erin Arvedlund The Philadelphia Inquirer PERKASIE, Pa. _ Betty Diem, 84, carefully took out her hearing aids. Now, she was ready to skydive. “At this stage in life, it’s probably going to be better than sex!” the Doylestown resident proclaimed, striding across the grass to the airplane hangar, where instructors suited her up in diving gear, a GoPro camera, and goggles. Diem and her retirement community neighbor Frances Lock, 85, ascended 13,500 feet to fulfill a wish on their lifetime bucket lists — jumping from an airplane — at Skydive Philadelphia in Perkasie, about 30 miles outside Philadelphia. The puffy clouds finally cleared enough for takeoff. Diem was partnered with Matt Forgille, a tandem diver with a hipster beard. Lock was partnered with Chris Howard, a hunky Australian skydiving instructor. Why would these octogenarians skydive? For the same reason they and America’s many seniors do lots of risky things. “I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Diem, a retired Air Force nurse. “The movie “Bucket List” was actually great for business,” said Aaron Teel, drop zone manager at Skydive Philadelphia, where the cost starts at about $200 a person, plus extra for upgrades such as video and photos. (Skydive Cross Keys in Williamstown, New Jersey, is another nearby skydiving location.) As they waited almost four hours to jump, Diem and Lock couldn’t sit still. They’d had to cancel a week earlier because of bad weather. When all systems were go, Lock climbed the steps to the PAC 750 XL airplane with her cane, which she left behind for the jump. Skydiving from an altitude of 13,500 feet gave Diem and Lock a full minute of free-fall time before their tandem divers opened the chutes at about 5,500 feet — an experience captured on video. Three of Lock’s four adult children waited in the hazy sun, trying to spot the plane circling above. Then, four dot-sized kites appeared in the sky — one orange, one yellow and green striped (the cameramen), and then two more. The women’s parachutes

grew larger and larger, and they swooped down gently onto the grass along the runway. How did the ladies prepare for the jump of a lifetime? Diem and Lock are residents of Wesley Enhanced Living in Doylestown, a retirement community that helps arrange ways to fulfill its seniors’ bucket lists — the things they’ve always wanted to do but never got to. Some wish lists have included learning to build a violin, working as a sous chef at a restaurant, and riding hot-air balloons or roller coasters — even a Segway on the Route 202 bypass. Along with some other seniors, the two women first attempted a zip line, and then a contraption known as the “I-Fly” — an indoor wind tunnel that simulates the rush of a skydive and the feeling of weightlessness. “What’s to be afraid of? One of my sons and his wife went skydiving, and after that I wanted to do it,” Lock said. “Every life is a fearsome thing.” Diem lived a life of adventure after graduating nursing school in Philadelphia. She enlisted in the Air Force and flew many missions between 1961 and 1983 as a flight nurse. She even attended jungle-survival school. “But the pilots always told me, ‘Why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?’ So I never got to jump,” she recalled. In 1983, she retired from the Air Force and worked as a corporate nurse for Intel Corp. In the 1990s, family ties brought her back east to Chalfont, Pa., before she moved into the retirement community. At a picnic table before their jump, Lock listened to her friend in quiet amazement. “I just had children!” she said, laughing. Lock worked for the Central Bucks School District, near where she and her husband raised their family. On the grass post-skydive, the women sat panting. Would Lock skydive again? She’s not sure. “I had a bit of an upset stomach, and I thought my shoes were falling off,” she said. Diem said she can’t wait to skydive again. “At that altitude, I couldn’t catch my breath. But I had a blast of wind in my hair, and then … it was wonderful.” — Tribune Content Agency

Poetry class at Mountlake Terrace library A free poetry class, Write Now: Looking for Poems in Visual Art and Found Text, will meet 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mountlake Terrace library, 23300 58th Ave. W. Learning through examples and writing exercises, adult participants will create their own poems that draw

inspiration from a variety of sources such as visual artwork and vintage magazines. Saturday is also the opening day of the “Arts of the Terrace” juried art show at the library, soparticipants can enjoy the art and let it speak to their poetic muse. For information, 425-776-8722.

September 2017

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ECA 2017/18 DEMENTIA-INCLUSIVE SERIES FRIENDLY FOLK DANCE WORKSHOPS

Mondays, November 6–27, 2017 10:00–11:30 am Admission: $5 Regular/$2 Arts for Everyone (All 4 classes for $15/person) Location: Edmonds Senior Center Silver Kite Community Arts invites participants to “travel the world” by learning a variety of folk dances from France, Greece, Russia, West Polynesia, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, and Aztec cultures. Seated dance options available.

RE-IGNITE THE MIND WITH IMPROVISATION & PLAY WORKSHOPS

Mondays, February 26–March 5, 2018 10:30 am–12:00 pm Admission $5 Regular/$2 Arts for Everyone (All 4 classes for $15/person) Through improvisation and theatre games, Taproot Theatre leads classes that tap into the creative abilities of individuals experiencing early stage memory loss (ESML) and care partners.

GOLDEN ERA SING-ALONG: ON THE ROAD! This guided tour of musical memories will travel free-of-charge to local assisted living facilities, in an effort to engage members of our community for whom a trip to ECA may present a challenge. With an ECA host, your residents will take a trip over the rainbow to enjoy great television, film, and concert performances by legendary performers of yesteryear. This program is presented in partnership with Northwest Film Forum.

ECA 2017/18 SATURDAY MATINEES RED KITE, BROWN BOX

Saturday, October 14, 2017 10:00 & 11:00 am, 12:30, 1:30, & 3:00 pm Tickets $10 / $2 Arts for Everyone Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Red Kite, Brown Box is a nationally-unique theatre experience that leads children with autism on an imaginative journey. Each performance is tailored to just 12 children at a time, and centers on Papa Nick’s attempts to get his children (the audience) to sleep in a new home.

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (1971) Saturday, October 21, 2017 | 10:00 am Tickets $10 / $2 Arts for Everyone

This triple Oscar-winning film is set in prerevolutionary Russia and tells the story of Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions.

JAZZY ASH & THE LEAPING LIZARDS

Saturday, November 18, 2017 | 11:00 am Tickets $10 / $2 Arts for Everyone Bring the whole family on a Crescent City inspired, jazzy music adventure. Jazzy Ash’s songs celebrate the magic of movement, with a lot of sugar and sass thrown in, New Orleans-style.

MARY POPPINS (1964)

Saturday, January 13, 2018 | 10:00 am Tickets $10 / $2 Arts for Everyone A magical English nanny is blown by the East wind to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London, and into the Banks’ household to care for their children.

PETRA & THE WOLF

Saturday, March 24, 2018 | 11:00 am Tickets $10 / $2 Arts for Everyone This original work, inspired by the classic Peter and the Wolf, tells the story of Petra, the granddaughter of the fabled Peter, and features captivating large-scale puppetry with a wonderful instrumental score.

ARCH8’S TETRIS

Saturday, April 21, 2018 | 11:00 am Tickets $10 / $2 Arts for Everyone

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Everett Schools Board Director Everett Schools Strategic Planning Council Everett Schools Fiscal Advisory Council Civil Service Commissioner, City of Everett Senior Services Snohomish County Board Mill Creek Women’s Club Habitat for Humanity Snohomish County Board

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Inspired by the game Tetris, this extremely physical dance quartet explores how we connect with one another. It’s for the kids who can’t sit still, for the ones who like to climb the walls, and those who can imagine further than they can see.

GOLDEN ERA SING-ALONG

Saturday, May 5, 2018 | 10:00 am FREE (please RSVP) A guided tour of musical memories! Our audience is invited to sing along with legendary film, television, and concert performers. This event is specifically designed to engage young audiences on the Autism spectrum. This event is designed with the accessibility of individuals with memory loss as a priority, as part of ECA’s Dementia-Inclusive Series. All are welcome!

ec4arts.org | 425.275.9595 410FOURTHAVENUENORTH EDMONDSWA98020

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September 2017

Homage

Most of us have Social Security questions By Kirk Larson Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist Let me share some basic questions that are commonly asked during our educational presentations about retirement benefits. Social Security is part of the retirement plan of almost every American worker. If you’re among the 96 percent of workers covered under Social Security, you should know how the system works. Learn about your retirement benefits as we answer some questions commonly asked during our educational presentations. Social Security is often asked, “What’s the best age to start receiving retirement benefits?” The answer is: There’s no one “best age” for everyone and, ultimately, it’s your choice. The most important thing is to make an informed decision. Your decision is a personal one. Would it be better for you to start getting benefits early with a smaller monthly amount for more years, or wait for a larger monthly payment over a shorter timeframe? The answer is personal and depends on such factors as your current cash needs, your health and family longevity. Also, you need to consider if you plan to work in retirement and if you have other sources of retirement income. You must also study your future

financial needs and obligations. This decision affects the monthly benefit you will receive for the rest of your life and may affect the benefit protection for your survivors. Q. When can I start my benefits? A. We calculate your basic Social Security benefit — the amount you would receive at full retirement age — based on your lifetime earnings. However, the actual amount you receive each month also depends on when you start receiving benefits. You can start Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount. Your monthly retirement benefit will be greater if you delay starting it. You can visit www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/ageincrease.html to find your full retirement age. Q. If I start my benefits early, how much of a reduction will I take? A. Your benefits will be reduced based on the number of months (a little more than 0.5 percent per month) you will receive benefits before reaching your full retirement age. You could take a 25 to 30 percent reduction if you start early. Let’s say you turn 62 in 2017, your full retirement age is 66 and 2 months, and your monthly benefit starting at that age is $1,300. If you start getting benefits at age 62, Social Security will reduce

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“RPEC fights for retirees” financial security, including: pension preservation, affordable health care, and other retiree issues. DRS pensioners join us in our efforts to preserve your retirement benefits. Help save your earned pension Join RPEC For information contact Jim Brandley @425-337-0884 or visit www.rpecwa.org 1962138

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your monthly benefit 25.8 percent to $964. This decrease is usually permanent. Q. If I wait to take my benefits after my full retirement age, will they be larger? A. Yes, your benefits keep growing until age 70. If you choose to delay getting benefits after your full retirement age, you would increase your monthly benefit at the rate of 8 percent per year. In our example case, your benefits would grow to $1,698. The benefit at age 70 in this example is 76 percent more than the benefit you would receive each month if you start getting benefits at age 62 — a difference of $734 each month. Q. Can I work after I start my Social Security retirement payments? A. You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, Social Security will reduce your benefit. We use the following rule to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2017 that limit is $16,920. In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age. If you will reach full retirement age in 2017, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $44,880. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.

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Special Sections - Homage 9.20.2017  

i20170918134536464.pdf

Special Sections - Homage 9.20.2017  

i20170918134536464.pdf