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. 10 | NOVEMBER 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.

Adaptation helps couple battle

Commentary: Many caregivers need our support.

Music wellness facilitator Noah Plotkin leads a drumming and

singing session with Michael Folio as Cheryl Levin-Folio looks on.

NON PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID SOUND PUBLISHING 98204

(Mark Ukena, Chicago Tribune)

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

Page 2

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Meals on Wheels’ future uncertain under president’s propos ed budget “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 ernment through the Olderfederal govAmericans 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

Chicago Tribune

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

for a laugh. “I think the next time we our clothes off,” she gently should take told him. “I made light of it,” she said. “I never correct him. That’s not fair to In the five years since Michael.” Michael Folio was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at age 56, the Park couple has adapted Highland routine many times over. their daily They’d been together for years, but married less than four months, when CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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

By Rashod Ollison 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 — RodriRodriguez, he chuckles, guez in his wheelchair and 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 his hand into hers as she a music therapist with Sentara’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 ” mentions that her blindThe goal is to get Rodriguez 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

Managing diabetes and pre-diabetes is a crucial health challenge. Page 3

The Woman’s Book Club has enriched Everett’s culture in many ways. Page 4

New groups offer opportunities to learn and grow. Page 8

Assistance dogs can help disabled people in a variety of ways. Page 11

Defying stereotypes, some people find joy in growing older. Page 13

Columns Commentary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Washington Watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Savvy Senior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Tech Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

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.

From left are Sebastian Taralli, his wife and caregiver, Francesca Taralli, Ruth Egger, a family caregiver specialist at Homage, and John Stanford, a senior companion volunteer. (Ian McCabe photo)

Caregivers often need help with their own well-being By Ian McCabe Special to The Herald According to a National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP report, nearly a quarter of households in the United States include someone who is a caregiver for a person 50 or older. Almost 85 percent of those caregivers are family members volunteering within their own homes to care for loved ones with disabilities or chronic conditions, such as dementia. For many, caregiving is an allconsuming role that requires them to either supervise or directly meet the needs of their loved ones. Caregivers often do this without recognition, assistance or time for themselves. This causes not only stress and financial hardship, but also depression, isolation and exhaustion, according to the Caregiving in the U.S. report But help is available. Homage Senior Services offers programs to support caregivers within Snohomish County, including educational workshops and seminars, support

groups, care management consultations and caregiver-focused events, as well as referrals for respite care and other services. “It’s a lot of work, both emotionally and physically, especially for older caregivers,” said Ruth Egger, a family caregiver specialist at Homage. Caregivers may be constantly afraid their loved ones are going to fall or wander away, for instance. “There’s always a sense of worry and never a chance to relax,” Egger said. “They need relief, so that’s where we come in.” For example, Homage can provide in-home care for up to five hours per week, safety aids and accessories like a grab bar for a bathroom, house cleaning and massage services so that caregivers can take a much-needed break. Some of these services are free or discounted for unpaid caregivers. John Stanford, 75, of Everett, knows exactly what caregivers go through. For years, he was the primary caregiver for his wife, Karen, who is living with frontotemporal

dementia. Stanford now volunteers through Homage as a Senior Companion to fellow seniors who still live at home but who need help on occasion. “I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to befriend them, to share our experiences, talk together, eat together and even play bingo together,” Stanford said. “It’s about sharing experiences, that’s what this program is. I feel good that I can contribute to their lives. (All they have to do) is just pick up the phone, no matter what time it is.” One of his companions is 101-year-old Sebastian Taralli, of Everett. But perhaps the person who benefits most from his volunteer time is Sebastian’s wife and family caregiver, Frances. “When you tell somebody what you’re going through, nobody really understands unless they go through it themselves,” said Frances Taralli, 77. “You’re doing the role of two people, and it can stress you out. So, CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

Generosity shouldn’t go unmatched Whitesells offer gift for home repair program, if others donate, too. By Niki Strachila Marketing & Communications Specialist, Homage Senior Services Linda Whitesell has dedicated much of her life to helping older adults. For more than 50 years, Whitesell served as a geriatric nurse practitioner and, after retiring in 2009, became a volunteer delivery driver for Homage’s Meals on Wheels program. For five years, Whitesell provided homebound residents with weekly meals. It was along her many stops and routine visits that she discovered the importance of Homage’s Minor Home Repair program. “One of my clients was an elderly widow. She had a wood porch that had become rotten to the point where she was afraid to go outside,” Whitesell said. “I encouraged her to call the Minor Home Repair

Linda and Dave Whitesell have invited others to match their $5,000 donation for Homage’s Minor Home Repair program. (Homage photo) program. They came out and repaired the porch. While they were there, they did a thorough inspection of the home and found several other safety issues, which they fixed. The client was so grateful and pleased. I’m convinced this saved her from injury and allowed her to continue living independently.” Whitesell recently got in touch

with Homage Senior Service’s Philanthropy department to see how she and her husband, Dave, could help Homage and its clients this holiday season. When Whitesell heard the Minor Home Repair program was facing a lengthy 245-person waitlist and limited CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


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November 2017

Homage

COMMENTARY

New programs support unpaid caregivers By Aime Fink Long-Term Care and Aging Supervisor Snohomish County Human Services Snohomish County appreciates the significant contribution of our community’s unpaid caregivers. In partnership with the state, the county is offering two new programs designed to assist unpaid caregivers in their vital work of supporting older adults who want to live at home. These new programs provide support for unpaid caregivers while allowing them to also focus on their own health and well-being. These service and support options are referred to as Medicaid Alternative Care (MAC) and Tailored Supports for Older Adults (TSOA). This is how they work: MAC creates a new option for people who are eligible for a Medicaid benefit but are not currently accessing other long-term services and supports with a paid caregiver. MAC offers services and supports to the person who is providing care, while also improving their own well-being. TSOA provides a program option for older adults who don’t currently meet the Medicaid financial eligibility criteria. Similar to the MAC benefit, TSOA offers services and supports to the unpaid caregiver but can also provide help to an eligible older adult without a caregiver.

Who is eligible for these new options? Under both the MAC and TSOA programs, the person who receives the care must: ■■ Be 55 or older and living in a home setting. ■■ Be a Washington state resident. ■■ Meet the citizenship and immigration eligibility for federally funded Medicaid. ■■ Meet the functional criteria. For the MAC program option, the person receiving the care must be financially eligible for a Medicaid benefit. Under the TSOA program, Medicaid financial eligibility is not required. For the 2017 calendar year, financial eligibility includes gross monthly income less than $2,205 and resources below $53,100 for an individual or $108,647 for a married couple. What are the benefits? The MAC and TSOA programs offer a range of services and supports at a modest benefit level including: ■■ Housekeeping and errands. ■■ Support groups and counseling. ■■ Specialized medical equipment or supplies. ■■ Respite care options. ■■ Training opportunities. ■■ Adult Day Health or Adult Day Care. ■■ Information about caregiving and resources in your community. Under the TSOA program, personal assistance services are an additional choice, instead of respite, for an older adult meeting the eligibility criteria who does not have a caregiver. Here’s an example of the TSOA benefit: A

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. Published by Homage Senior Services www.homage.org 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. Advertising: The existence of advertising (including political advertisements) in this publication is not meant as an endorsement of the individual, product or service by anyone except the advertiser. For more information, contact Jacqueray Smith, Multimedia Consultant, at 425.339.3023 or at jsmith@soundpublishing.com

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Snohomish County daughter who is an unpaid caregiver under the TSOA program has received an emergency response system that will call 911 if it senses her mother, who has increasing memory loss from dementia, has fallen. In addition, the system can map the mother’s location if she wanders away from her caregiver. In turn, the unpaid caregiver is attending classes to equip herself with knowledge about memory loss and strategies that will support quality of life for both her and her mother.

To learn more For information about the programs and all of our services and supports (including Family Caregiver Support Program, Kinship Caregiver Support Program, MAC and TSOA) for unpaid caregivers in Snohomish County, contact: Homage Senior Services,11627 Airport Rd., Suite B, Everett, WA 98204; call 425513-1900 or toll-free: 800-422-2024; fax 425-290-5445; or visit www.homage.org. Snohomish County Human Services, Long Term Care & Aging , 3000 Rockefeller Ave, M/S 305, Everett, WA 98201; fax 425-3887304; or visit www.snoco.org MAC/TSOA referral line, 425-388-7393.

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Now’s the time to review Medicare choices Act now! The current open enrollment period for Medicare continues through Dec. 7. This is the annual period when you can enroll, review or make changes to your Medicare, including your prescription drug plan, known as Part D. If you are comfortable using a computer, you can visit the Medicare website, https://www.medicare.gov, to check for your drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan to see what changes have been made. You can click the link “Find health and drug plans” on the main page to find this information. You will be asked for your ZIP code first, which is important for finding the plans you will need. When choosing a Part D plan, Medicare Today, a nonprofit health care coalition, advises seniors to:

Make a list. Talk to your doctor about your current prescriptions and any expected changes. Make a complete list of all your expected medicines for 2018. Check coverage. Use Medicare’s Plan Finder, www.medicare.gov/ find-a-plan, to make sure the medicines you need are covered by the plan you select. Check location. Make sure your preferred pharmacy is in your plan’s network. Know your costs. Compare premiums, copays and deductibles of plans to help keep your out-ofpocket costs low. Read the reviews. Look at the plan’s rating to see how other seniors have rated them on customer service, patient safety and other concerns.

To sign up for Medicare or to change your plan, call 800-633-4227 or visit www.medicare.gov. There is an abundance of Medicare information on the website, but not all older people know how to use the internet. This is where 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. SHIBA volunteers can assist you with the Medicare website to help you find the right drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan. If you are unsure about your decisions, you can make an appointment

with SHIBA, 425-513-1900, to help you evaluate your choices. SHIBA will have events at these locations: ■■ Camano Community Center, 606 Arrowhead Road — Nov. 21. ■■ East County Senior Center, 276 Sky River Parkway, Monroe — Nov. 16. ■■ Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave. — Nov. 30. ■■ Everett Goodwill Job Training Center, 210 SW Everett Mall Way — Nov. 17. ■■ Ken Baxter Senior Center, 514 Delta Ave., Marysville — Nov. 29. ■■ Mukilteo Library, 4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd. — Dec. 4. ■■ Snohomish Library, 311 Maple Ave., Snohomish — Nov. 20. ■■ Verdant Health Commission, 4710 196th St. SW, Lynnwood — Nov. 27 and Dec. 6.

Managing diabetes a crucial health challenge By Martha Peppones Nutrition and Advocacy Director Homage Senior Services November is National Diabetes Awareness month, a designation intended to bring attention to diabetes and the effect it has on millions of Americans. Managing diabetes can be challenging, but there is support available. Learn four steps to manage your diabetes for life at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/healthinformation/diabetes/overview/ managing-diabetes/4-steps.

Fast facts ■■ An estimated 26 percent of older Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. ■■ Almost half of adults 65 and older have pre-diabetes and are likely to

develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Pre-diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. ■■ Only 14 percent of those with prediabetes are aware they have it. ■■ Generally, most people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms, although underlying damage may already be occurring. ■■ Asian Americans, American Indians, Alaskan natives, African Americans, Pacific Islanders and Latinos are at slightly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. ■■ The more overweight you are, the greater your chance of developing diabetes. ■■ High blood pressure and high cholesterol increase your risk of diabetes. Diabetes can have dangerous and costly complications, including heart

disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations. One of every three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes. The good news is that you can take steps to delay or prevent diabetes if you have pre-diabetes.

Be aware of the ABCs A — A1C test. This blood test measures your average blood sugar (glucose) over the past three months. Normal A1C is below 5.7 percent, prediabetes is 5.7 to 6.4 percent, and diabetes is diagnosed when A1C is 6.5 percent or above. B — Blood pressure. The goal for most people is 130/80. C — Cholesterol. The goal for LDL or “bad” cholesterol is less than 100; HDL or “good” cholesterol goal is above 40. Additional advice: Eat healthy,

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minimally processed and nutrientdense foods that are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. ■■ Be physically active. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. ■■ Lose excess weight. Sometimes losing only 5 percent to 10 percent of your body weight (10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. ■■ If you smoke, stop. ■■ Take medications as needed. Consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) for individualized nutrition counseling to help manage your diabetes and improve health outcomes. These counseling visits can often be covered under Medicare Part B, but be sure to check your specific policy for more information.


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November 2017

Homage

PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST

Woman’s Book Club has enriched region By Roberta Young Jonnet Perspectivepast@gmail.com “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” — Cicero The women of Everett decided in 1894 that this was also true of a city, and they began plans for a public reading room. This was the genesis of the Everett Public Library. The women also founded the Everett General Hospital when the city was only three years old. The story of the Woman’s Book Club is the story of Everett and Snohomish County. Our foremothers saw a need, rolled up their sleeves and made it happen. Women founded the Woman’s Columbian Book Club of Everett in 1894 and it still meets today. Now known as the Woman’s Book Club, with members from all over the Puget Sound area, there are more than 300 members and 21 departments that gather to discuss the books they have read. The departments meet separately from September through May, and gather monthly at the Everett Main library to hear speakers deliver talks on books like “Trailblazers: The Women of Boeing” by Betsy Case; or to hear speakers from the Dawson Place Advocacy Center; or a synopsis of books from local independent book sellers. The organizational meeting in 1894 was held in home of Alice Baird. Those present decided it would include married women only (this is no longer the case). Baird was elected the first president and she formed a committee to draw up a constitution. “We do not mean to let a year go by without doing at least one good thing for our city,” Baird said. “We hope to have a library before a year.’ A resolution passed Nov. 12 of that year petitioning the mayor and council reads in part: “The Woman’s Book Club of said city, being desirous of founding a free public library in said city, respectfully petitions your honorable body to aid in this direction and to take such steps as may be necessary to carry out the purposes herein set forth ….” Baird’s leadership was so significant that a bronze plaque still hangs in the entrance hall of the library on Hoyt Avenue. It was presented by

Woman’s Book Club members in 1895 on the steps of the Monte Cristo Hotel. (Photos courtesy of Everett Public Library)

the WBC Oct. 1, 1915, the year of her death. Mrs. J.J. Clark spoke a tribute: “Our lives are richer because of her.” Also in November 1894, the women joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, made up of 450 women’s organizations. This was noteworthy because Baird then wrote to these clubs asking for donations of books. This garnered almost half of the nearly 1,000 books for the first library. An article from The Everett Herald, April 20, 1935, headlined, “Pioneer Era Recalled as Everett Public Library Prepares for 40th Anniversary,” traces the donations: “The response was generous, club women from Maine to California sending volumes … representative of the best authors of their respective districts and sets of works by standard authors.” The article states, “At the time of its (WBC) resolution for a library in 1895, it was the only club

in the general federation of women’s clubs to start a public library.” The goal of 1,000 books was reached in the summer of 1896. The city had committed to the idea of a library but gave it no funding. The WBC announced it was ready to turn over the books, and the city accepted. It was February 1898 that the WBC accepted the offer of three rooms in City Hall for the books. The books were carried there an armful at a time by the women. The library formally opened April 21, 1898. The first librarian was Mrs. J.T. Lentzy, who had been appointed at a July 2 meeting. By the April opening, Alice McFarland, who was the daughter of Mrs. R. McFarland, was librarian. The donated books had been kept in the McFarland home on Colby Avenue. Alice later married CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 Leverich Duryee. Frances Sears, a founding mother, wrote on the club’s 80th anniversary, “Before you can understand the important function of the Women’s Book Club in the lives of the [c]harter members, and in the life of the community as well, you must visualize the new and crude Everett, that was our home prior to the advent of the Book Club. We had no street cars then, no paved streets, and scarcely any boardwalks … Stumps grew like sentinels around our houses; ferns grew luxuriously around the stumps … The saloon was The Carnegie Building opened on the southeast everywhere in evidence. It was the chief social and corner of Wall Street and Oakes Avenue in 1910. political centre for the masculine population … One tradition that continues today with the our real privations were a dearth of amusements and lack of intellectual stimulus. So, we had WBC members is the Foremothers’ Luncheon, amateur theatricals. It was a bookless town … honoring those who founded the organization Then the Book Club came; it sprang, it had no and created the library. The first banquet was held infancy. Renewing our youth, we went to school Dec. 11, 1899. Members used a colonial tea party again. It is impossible to estimate the influence of theme wearing caps and kerchiefs. They sang “Auld Lang Syne” at that meeting, a practice that is the Book Club.” The Carnegie library building was opened Oct. followed today. 3, 1905, at Oakes and Wall. Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire philanthropist, donated $25,000 for A history of service the new library in 1903. The city was required to pledge $2,500 yearly. Checks of $5,000 each,were During 1917, the WBC spent time sewing at the sent from the East, payable to Mrs. L.E. Thayer Red Cross. Also, eight dictionaries were purchased personally whenever the board required funds. for the reformatory in Monroe. She was the first woman member of the library In the 1920s and 1930s, the women provided bus board and its secretary for 12 years. The Carnegie fare for poor children to attend kindergarten; they building was the library’s home until the 1930s. advocated for the wrapping of bread; and they

November 2017

endorsed a proposal regarding meat inspection and narcotics control. Funds were given on a regular basis to Deaconess Children’s Home, the Red Cross, General Hospital and the Washington Girls Home. The WBC donated 405 dozen cookies to soldiers at Fort Lewis in 1941. By 1943 the club began sponsoring students in nurse’s training at both hospitals. The USO presented a “meritorious service” certificate to the Club in 1946. In 1945, a tradition of donating a book to the library in honor of a deceased member was begun, in lieu of sending flowers. The club donated $2,000 in 1975 to the Northwest Room at the downtown library. They also split a $3,000 donation in 1987 between the city library and the Everett Community College library, where a fire had destroyed the college library and taken the life of firefighter Gary Parks. More recently, a $5,000 donation was given this year to the Imagine Children’s Museum to purchase books for the PJ’s Treehouse reading room. This purchase was to refresh the book collection originally donated by WBC in 2004. This past May, the book club held a used book drive at their Spring Tea Luncheon. Hundreds of books, — adult and children’s — were collected and sorted by volunteers, and then hand delivered to local charities, including Housing Hope and the Reach Out and Read program in Monroe through the Providence Foundation. This book drive signified the ongoing commitment to encouraging literacy in the community.

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November 2017

Homage

WASHINGTON WATCH

Unreported abuses found at nursing homes By Cheryl M. Keyser An “early alert” from the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services indicates “more than one quarter of serious cases of nursing home abuse are not reported to law enforcement, despite state and federal law requiring it.” Between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2016, the inspector general found 134 cases of nursing home residents who are receiving Medicare whose injuries may have been caused by abuse or neglect. Furthermore, these cases weren’t reported to authorities. A letter from various aging organizations was sent to the head of Medicare noted the agency’s procedures “are not adequate to ensure incidents of potential abuse or neglect are identified and reported.” Penalties for such cases were instituted as long ago as March 2011. However, Medicare has responded that it is not going to take action until the HHS inspector general has issued a final report, which will further delay action for those who are the most vulnerable. Information: http://www.theconsumervoice.org.

Dementia’s broad impact

Before investing

The scourge of dementia is not confined to the most elderly. There are cases of early onset of the disease, and there is another form that in many ways resembles Alzheimer’s but affects people as young as 45 — and a patient’s decline can last anywhere from two years to two decades. Frontotemporal degeneration (or frontotemporal dementia), more commonly known as Pick’s disease, is estimated to affect 50,000 to 60,000 Americans. It is recognized as the most common dementia to occur in younger populations, affecting individuals about 13 years before the most common age of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. To raise awareness of this illness, the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration took out a full-page notice in The New York Times with the headline: “Think it’s Alzheimer’s? Think again.” As with Alzheimer’s, there is no prevention, treatment or cure. The AFTD cautions an accurate diagnosis is important as medications used for other illnesses may be harmful. Information: www.theaftd.org.

The North American Securities Administrators Association has set up a special website, Serve Our Seniors, to aid older adults in cases of investor abuse. This was established after it was noted that “at least a third of its members’ enforcement actions” involved those of advanced age, causing “the loss of millions of dollars each year.” It works “aggressively” to develop “innovative regulatory solutions for older investors,” including enforcement and investor education, ranging from how to protect a nest egg to a checklist for investigating investments before writing a check. This initiative comes on the heels of an earlier program set up by NASAA, the Senior Investor Resource Center. The aim of both of these groups is to protect older adults from financial exploitation, “an ever-growing problem due to the amount of wealth seniors have accumulated throughout their careers and the steadily rising number of retirees.” Information: http://serveourseniors.org.

The U.S. retirement system has undergone major changes from the days when many workers were provided with retirement plans by their employers. Nowadays, employees

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usually must handle their own financial planning. The General Accountability Office has issued a brief report on how the retirement system has changed and offers a major recommendation. It notes that most contemporary employees are responsible for their own financial future, increasing the risks to ndividuals who may not understand all the ramifications of such responsibility — and whose contributions are usually not sufficient to cover their later years. Even Social Security, once sacrosanct, is facing challenges. As the GAO said, “Absent fiscal policy changes, the federal government is on an unsustainable path, largely due to spending increases driven by the growing gap between federal revenues and health care programs, demographic changes, and net interest on the public debt.” Adding to the woe is the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, an insuror for many corporate retirement plans, which “is at risk due to substantial liabilities.” The GAO is calling for an independent commission made up of government agencies, employers, the financial services industry, unions, individual advocates and others, to study of the nation’s retirement system and develop recommendations for dealing with the coming changes. Information: www.gao.gov.

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Want to help out? Homage offers ways to get involved Homage Senior Services has dozens of volunteer opportunities for community members to become engaged with our mission to help older adults and people with disabilities live in their homes longer and remain independent. We provide options for one-day groups, clerical roles, skills-based volunteering, internships and more. Here a just some of the ways to serve: Senior Peer Counseling Program: Volunteers 55 and older provide one-on-one counseling to adults 60 and older who are struggling with life changes, loss or other emotional issues. No counseling experience necessary; 40 hours of initial

training required. Note: This program is in need of male volunteers. Front desk greeters at main office: Greet staff and community members when they arrive at our office on Airport Road in Everett. Answer the agency phone and provide vital information to those in need. Volunteer hours are 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. This is a great opportunity to become actively engaged with our mission. Friendly visitors: Homage is seeking volunteers all over Snohomish County simply to visit older adults living alone, provide transportation to a vital doctor appointment or help with laundry or other small household tasks. If you are looking for an opportunity to help a neighbor for one or two hours a week, become a friendly visitor.

Social Security needs specific information when evaluating your disability claim By Kirk Larson Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist

medical severity of their condition when filing for disability benefits. They provide medical records that show the severity Disability isn’t something of the condition. Since Social most people anticipate. The Security defines severity in reality is, a 20-year-old worker terms of being unable to work, currently has a one-in-four the agency also needs complete chance of becoming disabled work information. before reaching retirement. You can read a description In Washington there are more about the process of evaluating than 178,000 people receiving whether you can work or not and disability payments. Nationally the severity of your condition in there are more than 8.75 million. the publication, Disability BenThis means Social Security efits at www.socialsecurity.gov/ disability benefits are something pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf, under you should understand. the section, “How we make the Social Security disability decision.” For information about benefits replace part of your how Social Security evaluates income when you become dis- your work, review this section: abled and are unable to work. www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilOther disability programs may ity/step4and5.htm. have partial disability or shortRemember, when you provide term disability, but federal law details about your condition and requires a stricter definition—­ your work, you’re creating a picgenerally the same one used for ture of your individual situation. Supplemental Security Income These details show the extent benefits. of your disabling condition. Most people focus on the These are examples of specific

Homage handy helpers: Are you handy? Our home-repair team has a waiting list of small to large work orders to be completed so we can keep older adults and people with disabilities living in their homes safely. Tasks vary from installing closet rods to helping build wheelchair ramps. Contact our volunteer manager, Nicole Warren, 425-740-3787 or email nwarren@homage.org, if you have questions or want to volunteer.

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Groups offer opportunites to learn and grow By Carol Teichgrab Certified Counselor Homage Senior Services Do you believe everything you think? Think again! Depression is a condition that changes how you think and feel, and it can affect your social behavior and sense of wellbeing. Depression can feel like a normal part of aging, but it’s actually a treatable condition. Depression series: Homage Senior Services is launching an eight-week series for older adults experiencing mild to moderate depression. Get support from peers while you focus on learning healthy ways of thinking, effective stress management and ways to increase self-understanding. These evidence-based groups are led by a mental health counselor. There is no cost to attend. Call

Christine Vervitsiotis, 425-740-3802, for information and to register. Mindfulness group: Join us in exploring this evidence-based approach to mind-body health throughout your life. Mindfulness is defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “paying attention in the present moment, on purpose and non-judgmentally.” It is an ancient practice that gained popularity in the West in the 1970s. Since then, it has expanded exponentially with scientific research and practical applications. Mindfulness is used in schools, prisons, law enforcement, military and community groups. According to Health.Harvard.edu, it offers such benefits as: ■■ Increased ability to savor the positives. ■■ Easier connections with others.

Homage is facilitating two groups for older adults, one on mindfulness and another on understanding and managing depression. (Shutterstock) ■■ Decreased focus on worry and regret. ■■ Better responses to adversity. ■■ Improved sleep. ■■ Increased ability to cope with stress and chronic pain. Mindfulness groups offer a space for friendly discussion, shared support and information on managing and embracing changes. Through local, professionally led groups, Homage Senior Services provides opportunities to explore evidencebased approaches to healthy living.

Groups currently meet at:

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• In 2016, around 1 in 8 Washingtonians did not get enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. • In Washington, the number of people living in poverty significantly decreased over the last year, but nonetheless, nearly 1 in 9 Washingtonians lived below the poverty line in 2016. • One in 5 kids in Washington state lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. As we get closer to the holidays the demand on food banks will be more pronounced. No matter where you live you can get involved. RSVP works with food banks in these cities; Arlington, Everett (2 locations), Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville (2 locations), Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish and Stanwood/ Camano. Volunteer Transportation: Have you ever had the eye test where your pupils are dilated? You know, the one where you can’t drive for a few hours. Imagine that you can’t drive because you don’t have a car, don’t have family or friends able to give you a ride, live far from the bus line, don’t have enough money for a cab, well you see what I mean right? Volunteer drivers are needed. Your driving record doesn’t have to be perfect to qualify. Drive when and where you want. Clients enter and exit the vehicle on their own. Mileage reimbursement is possible.

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Sponsored by Catholic Community Services, RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for persons over 55 and the only program where the collective contribution of the senior volunteer is recorded. RSVP exists to help volunteers 55+ find fulfillment in their volunteer work. Volunteer opportunities exist all over Snohomish County.

I apologize for not mentioning the Granite Falls Community Coalition Food Bank in this column. They are doing good things in the community as are all the other food banks in our county. Here are some facts about food and hunger in our state from Northwest Harvest:

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■■ And starting March 5: Mindfulness Mondays, first and third Monday, Ken Baxter Community Center in Marysville. Join us for an introductory presentation Feb. 5, 1 to 2 p.m. Attendees have shared that they worry less, have an easier time staying focused on the present moment, are less judgmental of themselves and others, and can maintain focus on the positives in life. For questions regarding mindfulness groups, other community groups and mental health/substance use concerns and information about resources, call Homage’s Older Adult Mental Health access line, 425290-1260. Groups are facilitated by Homage Senior Services staff and sponsored by grants from Verdant Health Commission and/or the Snohomish County Long-Term Care and Aging Division.

School/After School Mentors: RSVP is helping Westgate, Cedar Valley, Lynnwood, Jackson and Hawthorne Elementary schools find volunteers. Are you interested? Previous teaching/tutoring experience is not required. We also have after school as well as Boys and Girls Club opportunities too.

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Help the county and your neighbors be ready in the event of a disaster. This job needs volunteers to work behind the scenes and help manage the details and tasks needed to support front line responders. These jobs are NOT on the scene of the event, they are in the office.

Have you Shared your wishes with your Loved Ones? Take action and pre-plan today! It’s your gift to those you love!

Peer to Peer Counseling: If you are empathetic, understanding, compassionate and can keep a confidence, Peer to Peer counseling might be for you. You receive training and are matched with someone who can use a friendly ear. You meet with the client for an hour each week. Volunteer Chore: All over Snohomish County there are seniors who need a little help with household chores and tasks. This allows them to ‘age in place’ and stay in their home. A few hours every couple weeks really goes a long way. Can you help? SHIBA: If you like helping people, SHIBA might be for you. It is a free, confidential and impartial counseling resource sponsored by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Volunteer advisors help callers understand their rights and options, and offer up-to-date information helping them to make an informed decision concerning health insurance needs. There are 30 hours of training. SHIBA stands for Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors. 425.486.1281

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

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Homage November 2017 9

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES Sponsored by Catholic Community Services, RSVP is America’s largest network for volunteers 55 and older and the only program that records the collective contributions of senior volunteers. RSVP exists to help older volunteers find fulfillment in volunteer work. Opportunities exist all over Snohomish County. Food Banks: As we get closer to the holidays, the demand on food banks will increase greatly. No matter where you live, you can get involved. RSVP works with food banks in Arlington, Everett (two locations), Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville (two locations), Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish and Stanwood/ Camano. Here are some facts about food and hunger in our state from Northwest Harvest: In 2016, about one in eight Washingtonians did not get enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. The number of people living in poverty decreased over the past year, but nearly one in nine state residents still lived below the poverty line. And one in five Washington kids lives in a household that

struggles to put food on the table. Volunteer transportation: Have you ever had an eye test where your pupils were dilated? When you couldn’t drive for a few hours? Imagine if you couldn’t drive at all because you don’t have a car, don’t have family or friends to give you ride, live far from a bus line or don’t have money for a cab. Imagine the hardship. Volunteer drivers are needed. Your driving record doesn’t have to be perfect to qualify. Drive when and where you want. Clients enter and exit the vehicle

on their own. Mileage reimbursement is possible. School/after-school mentors: RSVP is helping Westgate, Cedar Valley, Lynnwood, Jackson and Hawthorne elementary schools find volunteers. Are you interested? Previous teaching/ tutoring experience is not required. We have after-school opportunities at Boys & Girls Clubs, too. Emergency services: Help the county and your neighbors be ready in the event of a disaster. The Snohomish County Department of Emergency Manage-

ment needs volunteers to work behind the scenes and help manage details and tasks needed to support front-line responders. These jobs are not on the scene of the event, they are in the office. Peer-to-peer counseling: If you are empathetic, compassionate and can keep a confidence, peerto-peer counseling might be for you. You receive training and are matched with someone who can use a friendly ear. You meet with the client for an hour each week. Volunteer chores: All over Snohomish

County there are seniors who need a little help with household chores and tasks. This allows them to “age in place” and stay in their home. A few hours every couple of weeks goes a long way. SHIBA: Help others with Medicare and other insurance decisions. This is a free, confidential and impartial counseling resource sponsored by the Washington state office of the Insurance Commissioner. Volunteer advisers help callers understand their options, and offer up-to-date information so they can make

informed decisions about health insurance. There are 30 hours of training and monthly updates. (SHIBA stands for Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors.) If you have questions about RSVP, volunteering or any agency listed here, call RSVP, 425374-6374, or email me at johnm@ccsww.org.

Correction An apology for not mentioning the Granite Falls Community Coalition Food Bank in this column last month.

PUD Discounts for Low-Income Seniors Reduce your PUD bill by 20% to 60%, depending on income level. Questions? Visit snopud.com/discounts or call Customer Service: 425-783-1000 Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM

smart rewards smart rebates More ways to save: instant rebates for installing insulation, insulated windows and heat pumps; smart rewards for buying efficient appliances; rebates for heat pump water heaters, and special low prices on efficient lighting and showerheads at local participating retailers. Some restrictions apply.

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Generosity: Couple invites matching donations Yes, I want to help with a donation today so my gift to Minor Home Repair is doubled Enclosed is my gift in the amount of: $ Name Address City/State/Zip Code Phone Email If paying by credit card (VISA, MC, Discover, Amex)** Card #

Exp. Date

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Name of Cardholder Cardholder Signature Mail to: Homage Senior Services: 11627 Airport Rd., Suite B, Everett, WA 98204 To make a gift online, visit www.homage.org

FROM PAGE 1 funding, she and Dave were determined to make a difference. “We want a good quality of life for seniors and people living with disabilities, and this program helps those in need maintain their dignity and independence while leading full and enjoyable lives,” Linda said. The Whitesell family decided to offer a $5,000 gift with the stipulation that it be matched dollar for dollar by donors. They hope that by asking for matches and sharing their story, more money will be raised for the Minor Home Repair program. “This year, we received 33 percent less government funding for these essential home repairs. Private

donations will fill the gap and allow us to continue serving our low income seniors and disabled homeowners who’ve been waiting for months for help,” said Alison Barnes, lead Minor Home Repair Program assistant. “Since March, we’ve had to turn away more than 130 requests due to lack of funding.” To kick off the campaign to match the Whitesell gift, Homage reached out to staff, its board of directors, donors and volunteers. The organization has received amazing support so far but is looking to the greater Snohomish County community to help meet its goal of $5,000. Gifts of any amount are gratefully accepted and will go directly to the Minor Home Repair program.

Caregivers: Programs help relieve pressures FROM PAGE 1 to have John to talk to is wonderful. Being the same age, we have a lot in common, so we share stories about growing up. Most importantly, he’s been a great friend and support for us.” For the Tarallis, Homage provided an emergency-alert necklace with a call button, which allows husband and wife to communicate with each other when they are apart. “I’ll wear it if I’m going to the store, or he’ll wear it if goes out for a walk down the street,” Frances Taralli said. “I can stay in the house by myself, and if he falls and I can’t see him, he just presses the button and lets me know.” While Homage provides invaluable

relief for caregivers, Egger says that more needs to be done. Case in point is what happened with Stanford and his wife. When caring for his wife became too difficult for Stanford on his own, he had no option but to place her in an adult family home at his own expense. “It’s a big problem in this country, not to be able to support unpaid caregivers who are really saving the country a lot of money,” Egger said. “If we had more support that we could have offered John in the home, he may have been able to keep his wife there with him.” Egger said it’s incredible what those like Stanford and Taralli do for their loved ones. “People keep saying to me, ‘You’re

doing an amazing job,’ and I wonder why they say that,” Frances Taralli said. “But then I think about it, and I must be doing something right because he’s gotten to 101. It kind of makes you feel good. A lot of that is thanks to Homage.” Here are some of the support services available through Homage: Caregiver support. The Family Caregiver Support Program helps caregivers care for loved ones while meeting their own needs — be they mental, physical or emotional. A specialist works with you to find community resources to support you in your caregiving role. Call 425-2901240 or email caregiver@homage. org for information. Need a break? The Lifespan Respite Program offers vouchers for

Donations can be submitted online at www.homage.org or by sending cash or check to Homage Senior Services, 11627 Airport Road, Suite B, Everett, WA 98204-8714. Donors must specify their gift is for the Whitesell Match, and donations must be submitted by Dec. 31. For information, contact Christina Mychajliw, 425-265-2294. For more than 40 years, Minor Home Repair has assisted low and moderate income older adults and people with disabilities who own their homes. The repair team provides health and safety repairs for individuals when they can’t perform them due to lack of funds or physical limitations. To learn more about the Minor Home Repair program, visit www..homage. org/home-repair.-

unpaid caregivers to take a break from the demands of caregiving. If you provide 40 or more hours per week of care, you may apply for a $1,000 voucher that can go toward respite services provided by a contracted agency that meets state requirements. Limit of one application per year. Call 425-740-3788 or email Linda Porter at lporter@homage.org. Senior companionship. The Senior Companion Program assists seniors who live at home with chores, such as shopping, paying bills and running errands. In addition to help around the house, volunteers provide friendship and a break for caregivers. Do you need help? Or want to be a senior companion? Call 425-879-7050 or email Mary Higgins mhiggins@homage.org. Visit homage.org for information about any of these services.

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November 2017

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SAVVY SENIOR

Assistance dogs can help in variety of ways By Jim Miller Q. What can you tell me about assistance dogs for people with disabilities? My sister, who’s 58, has multiple sclerosis and I’m wondering if an assistance dog could help make her life easier. — Inquiring Sister A. For people with disabilities and even medical conditions, assistance dogs can be fantastic help, not to mention providing great companionship and an invaluable sense of security. Here’s what you and your sister should know. While most people are familiar with guide dogs that help people who are blind or visually impaired, there are also a variety of assistance dogs trained to help people with physical disabilities, hearing loss and various medical conditions. Assistance dogs are highly trained canine specialists — often golden

and Labrador retrievers and German shepherds — that know 40 to 50 commands, are amazingly well-behaved and calm, and are permitted to go anywhere the public is allowed. Here’s a breakdown of the types of assistance dogs: Service dogs. These dogs are specially trained to help people with physical disabilities casued by multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, chronic arthritis and many other disabling conditions. They help by performing tasks their owner cannot do or has trouble doing, like carrying or retrieving items, picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning lights on and off, assisting with dressing and undressing, helping with household chores and more. Guide dogs. For the blind and visually impaired, guide dogs help owners get around safely by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, negotiating traffic and more.

Hearing dogs. For those who are deaf or hearing impaired, hearing dogs can alert their owner to specific sounds such as ringing telephones, doorbells, alarm clocks, microwave or oven timers, smoke alarms, approaching sirens, crying babies or when someone calls their name. Seizure alert/response dogs. For people with epilepsy or other seizure disorders, these dogs can recognize the signs that their owner is going to have a seizure and provide them with warning, so he or she can get to a safe place or take medication to prevent the seizure or lessen its severity. They are trained to retrieve medications and use a pre-programmed phone to call for help. Finding a dog. Contact some assistance dog training programs. Assistance Dogs International provides a listing of around 65 U.S. programs on its website, www.assistancedogsinternational.org. After you locate a few, visit their

Retired Public Employees Council

websites or call them to find out the types of dogs they offer, the areas they serve, if they have a waiting list and what upfront costs will be involved. Some groups offer dogs for free, some ask for donations and others charge thousands of dollars. To get an assistance dog, your sister will need to show proof of her disability, which her physician can provide, and she’ll have to complete an application and go through an interview process. She will also need to go and stay at the training facility for a week or two so she can get familiar with her dog and get training on how to handle it. It’s also important to understand that assistance dogs require time, money and care that your sister or some other friend or family member must be able and willing to provide. Send questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070 or visit SavvySenior.org.

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November 2017

Homage

TECH TALK

Microfiber towels keep screens as good as new By Bob DeLaurentis Q. What is the best way to clean the screen on a smartphone or tablet? A. My favorite method is a microfiber towel sold under the trademark Dash Gear (www.cleantools. net/products/dash-gear). I discovered these in a local auto parts store a few years ago. I wipe yesterday’s fingerprints off my iPad and phone each morning. (Dirt on screens is much easier to see in daylight.) If it takes more than a few seconds, I drop the towel into the laundry. Once cleaned, the towel works as good as new. Beware of the term “microfiber.” I have encountered many different products labeled microfiber, from the perfect to the perfectly dismal. The best versions are soft, lint-free and are woven so closely together that the surface of the cloth is as smooth as silk. The Dash Gear towels have the same finish as a good eyeglass or camera lens cloth, but they are larger, sturdier and much less expensive. Sometimes stubborn bits of unwanted gunk may need help from a liquid. Usually I just put a drop of water on my finger, gently rub the gunk for a second or two, and then I try using the cloth

again. That works nearly every time. It is very easy to over use liquid cleaners, so I avoid them. However, when used sparingly, they come in handy. My favorite is sold under the brand name Whoosh! (whoosh.com). The oneounce bottle should last many months. Adding liquid to the process also means laundering the towel more often. Everyone has a different tolerance for dirty screens. But with the right tools and less than a minute, your device can look as fresh as the day you got it. Q. My computer’s hard disk is nearly full and I would like to move my iTunes data to an external disk. Is that possible? A. Not only is it possible, it is reasonably simple. By moving iTunes to an external disk you can free up gigabytes of available space. A Google search or two should reveal step-by-step instructions for your specific system, but the basics are the same. Back up everything first. Next, quit iTunes. On both Mac and PC, your iTunes data is usually stored in a single folder titled “iTunes.” In your home folder, this folder is probably located in Time toon meet someand newinside “My Music” on Win“Music” a Mac friends, stress less, and dows. Copy the folder “iTunes” to a new disk. Now launch have the a lotiTunes application while holding down themore Option fun! key on the Mac keyboard or Shift on a PC. The next screen should ask you for the library’s

new location. Choose the newly moved folder, and click Open. iTunes should look the same as it did before. A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob is currently developing an educational software project. Contact him at techtalk@bobdel.com.

WANDER THE WEB This month’s picks for worthwhile browsing: Music lessons: If you ever wondered how to read music, or the difference between a chord and a scale, this site is a great place to explore. Although the site is intended to sell additional lessons, the free sections are extensive. musictheory.net New desktop wallpaper: This site is a search engine to find images that look good as desktop backgrounds and lock screens. There are plenty of categories to discover, including a luminosity search to find bright or dark images. wallhalla.com

Reality Check!

Stephen Fry talks technology: Do not miss this delightful presentation by Stephen Fry titled “The Future of Humanity and Technology.” youtube.com/watch?v=24F6C1KfbjM

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Homage

November 2017

13

Defying stereotypes, they’re aging with joy Researchers find our culture reinforces negative attitudes toward growing older.

moment” — because popular wisdom reinforces stereotypes of age-related memory decline. Negative stereotypes made older adults “over-attribute everyday memory losses we all have to age,” she said.

By Sharon Jayson Kaiser Health News

Do what is enjoyable

Wilhelmina Delco learned to swim at 80. Harold Berman is in his 67th year practicing law. Mildred Walston spent 76 years on the job at a candy company. And brothers Joe and Warren Barger are finding new spots in their homes for the gold medals they’ve just earned in track-and-field events at the National Senior Games. These octogenarians and nonagenarians may not be widely known outside their local communities, but just as with their more famous peers — think Carl Reiner, Betty White and Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) — the thread that binds them is not the year on their birth certificate but the way they live. “Age shouldn’t be a reason to slow down,” said Joe Barger, 91, of Austin. It never hurts to have longevity in your genes, but mindset plays a role in how people age, experts say. Some older people have been termed “superagers” for mental acuity despite their years; for them, the typical age-related decline in brain volume is much slower. For elders who aren’t among these elite agers, staying vital may be about more than physical or mental agility. Researchers find that society’s focus on youth culture and negative stereotypes about aging prompt memory loss and stress. But older adults who want to dispel notions of becoming feeble have growing ranks to emulate. Joe Barger and brother Warren, 95, of Chattanooga, competed for two weeks this summer in Birmingham, where Warren earned five gold medals and set a new national high-jump record in his 95-99 age bracket. In badminton, Warren was placed in the 85-89 bracket because there weren’t competitors in his age group. “My secret of life is to wake up every morning with something to do,” Warren said. “Some people I feel are old because they allow themselves to get old.” A former insurance salesman and church music director, Warren plays golf and pickleball once a week and badminton twice a week. He mows his lawn, volunteers weekly at his church and sings in

Wilhelmina Delco, 88, exercises five days a week in a pool near her home in Austin, Texas. (Sharon Jayson / Kaiser Health News) the senior choir. In a study published last year, David Weiss, an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences and psychology at the Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University, found that those who don’t accept the inevitability of aging can “counteract the detrimental and self-fulfilling consequences of negative age stereotypes.” “My research looks at why no one wants to be old,” Weiss said. “They want to set themselves apart from this negatively viewed age group. They just want to distance themselves from stereotypes: ‘I’m not like the stereotype. I’m different,’ ” he said. “Adults who believe age is just a number showed better memory performance, but adults who believed aging is set in stone and fixed had a decrease in memory performance and a stronger stress reaction.” Social psychologist Becca Levy, of the Yale School of Public Health, said her studies found an increase in negative age stereotypes over the past two centuries. “Part of it is due to media and marketing,” she said. “An ageist culture produces many more negative stereotypes.” Such notions have an impact. Research by Sarah Barber, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, found that people blamed routine forgetfulness on their age — calling it a “senior

To stay vital, Westheimer advises older people to “do as many things that are enjoyable to them as possible — participating in activities at a senior center, going to the theater and movies and not just sitting home and saying, ‘I’m too old to be out there.’” Reiner, the 95-year-old writer, comedian, director and creator of the 1960s-era “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” is way too busy to slow down. He and his longtime friend Mel Brooks, who turned 91 this year, have dinner at Reiner’s house most evenings unless the comedic genius behind such classics as “Blazing Saddles” and “The Producers” is away on business. Reiner’s latest book — his 22nd — “Too Busy to Die,” is one of five he has written since turning 90. Reiner also served as a narrator in the documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” which aired on HBO in June. The film, which includes a bevy of the famous and not-so-famous in their 90s and beyond, explored why some thrive and others don’t in their later years.

Staying involved Westheimer, 89, a sex therapist who dishes out advice in a heavy German accent, also tweets, sometimes several times a day. “I’m very busy. I’m teaching at Columbia. I’m coming out in 2018 with three new books. A movie is being made about me,” Westheimer said in a phone interview. Westheimer is out six nights a week. She visits with friends and family — especially her grandchildren — and she serves on several boards. Delco, who turned 88 in July, is trying to get a bit less involved with the half-dozen or so boards she’s been serving on in Austin. Traffic congestion and travel time to attend board meetings have made this former state lawmaker less inclined to participate, she said. Five days a week, Delco starts her mornings at a nearby Y, where her days of swimming laps ended because of arthritis. Now, she exercises with barbells in the pool to maintain strength and agility.

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November 2017

Homage

YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO MIX IT UP

At SHAG, we do more than just provide quality apartment homes for seniors. We build an atmosphere where you can live independently, relax, play and come together to create a community that you’ll love to call home.

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is just a number with less

• Fitness center with state-of-the-art exercise

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19501 40th Ave W Lynnwood, WA 98036

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Special Sections - Homage 11.15.17  

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Special Sections - Homage 11.15.17  

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