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

Page 12

Walker, 90, keeps on truckin’ Page 13


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

VOL. 44 NO. 11 | DECEMBER 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

Clients’ testimonies bear witness to importance of Homage services

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


(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

Transcribers keep handwritten history alive for future generations

for Lorna Jenkinson at

Broadway Plaza.

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 sandwiche d between an “I don’t know.” 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 ” 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)

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Minor Home Repair fundraising challenge continues until Dec. 31 Page 5

Snohomish County volunteers spread joy on Thanksgiving Page 7

What to consider when buying long-term insurance Page 8

Five herbs and spices that add flavor and good health to holiday meals Page 9

‘Dancing’ fundraiser to help keep local seniors in their homes Page 11

Columns Savvy Senior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Tech Talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10


Learn about programs and services available to seniors by visiting

Laura Nathan has tended the front desk at Homage three days a week for nearly a year. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Commitment to serving seniors unites diverse volunteer corps By Jennifer Sasseen Special to The Herald Homage Senior Services volunteers come from many walks of life. Take Laura Nathan, who’s tended the front desk at Homage three days a week for nearly a year. In her 50s and with a master’s degree in microbiology, Nathan moved with her husband some 25 years ago from Malaysia to Michigan. She worked in a medical lab while her husband was employed in the auto industry, she said. Now he works for Boeing, and Nathan is happy volunteering. “You don’t have to be out there making grand gestures,” she said, to make a difference in people’s lives. She volunteers elsewhere, but said she finds working with seniors especially meaningful. “I have lost my parents not too long ago and I never got the chance to care for them,” she said. Eighty-five-year-old Mary Ann Hollenhorst volunteers as a senior peer counselor and counts herself lucky to be in good health. Many of her clients are not, she said. “We all have losses,” she said. “And especially persons who are older have gone through a lot of losses. It isn’t just a death.” The ability to drive a car might be lost, or to craft quilts, or to perform all the daily small tasks needed to care for themselves, she said. Sometimes children move their parents from another part of the country because they’re worried

Alexandria Leslie processes donations for programs at Senior Services of Snohomish County on Dec. 5. Leslie started volunteering in June and now is on full-time duty. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) about them, she said. “These parents are brought away from their friends,” Hollenhorst said. “And of course they’re lonely.” Hollenhorst herself moved here from St. Louis 20 years ago, she said, partly to be near her son, after retiring from a long career in nursing. Alexandria Leslie, 19, said she volunteered at Homage her senior year of high school and was recently hired to help sort donations over the holidays. Connecting older people with resources is one way Homage has a big impact, she said. She loves the notes people send with donations, describing that impact, she said.

“Some of these notes are just very heartwarming,” she said, “And sometimes they just make you want to cry.” Debbie Luce, 65, said she’s always enjoyed older people and has been volunteering as a senior peer counselor for 8½ years. She said she retired early from a longtime job with the phone company and volunteered with the state to help resolve patient complaints in adult family homes. When she grew tired of the paperwork, she turned to Homage. Being an effective counselor is CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

Free class helps caregivers take better care of themselves

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

By Ruth Egger Family Caregiver Specialist, Homage Senior Services Are you an unpaid caregiver, caring for a family member with a chronic condition or disability? If so, this free class is for you. “Taking Care of YOU — Powerful Tools for Caregivers” will be held from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on six consecutive Tuesdays starting Jan. 9. The class is offered by Homage Senior Services and presented by Family Caregiver Support Program staff. It will take

place at Verdant Community Wellness, 4710 196th St. SW, Lynnwood. This six-week class is designed to help family caregivers take better care of themselves while looking after a loved one. It consists of interactive lessons, discussions and brainstorming. Participants will gain knowledge and learn techniques to reduce stress, change negative self-talk, communicate their needs to family members and service providers, and gain confidence in handling difficult situations, emotions and decisions.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers also offers an opportunity to form supportive and encouraging friendships. Past participants have said, “there was a common bond. We are all dealing with some of the same issues. We shared our stories and learned ways to cope. I learned that it was OK to take care of me.” To enroll in the class or for more information, call Michelle Barnes, Homage Senior Services, at 425-3551116. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required and space is limited.


December 2017



Clients’ testimonies illustrate importance of helping seniors eat better, stay in homes By Steve McGraw

CEO, Homage Senior Services

Throughout the year in Snohomish County, there are many stories of seniors and people with disabilities who are able to stay in their homes — healthier and happier, thanks to donors, community partners, volunteers and staff. Together, we have helped 25,000 people eat better, get where they need to go, keep their homes safe and find the right resources at the right time. Our clients say it best:

Meals On Wheels: Helping people eat better “Last year was a double whammy for us. My husband had a stroke and he had two hospitalizations and a stay in a rest home. Then it turned

around and I was also hospitalized twice and in a rest home. Between both of us we ended up using almost all our retirement savings. When you are on a set income you never gain it back. Now I take care of my invalid husband and can’t leave him alone – so Meals on Wheels is so very helpful to us.”

Minor Home Repair: Helping people keep their homes safe “I want to thank you so much for sending Mike to help me. Mike installed two grab bars in my bathroom so that I can better use the tub safely. Getting in and out will be much easier now! No more falls! The repairs from Homage Senior Services have greatly increased my safety and have extended my life in my own

home. Mike also put a door sweep on my front door. I was using towels to stop the draft so that I didn’t lose heat. Again Mike was great. He is so competent and has a great friendly, outgoing personality. Thank you again!”

Transportation Assistance Program (TAP): Helping people get to where they need to go “When I was 72 the doctor told me I had to go on dialysis because my kidneys were failing. My children encouraged me a few years ago to give up driving. So many things happened at this time. My husband of 60 years and my brother both died about the same time and it was really rough for me. After I gave up driving it was hard

to ask my family to take time off from their jobs to drive me to the Puget Sound Kidney Center three times a week. That’s when I found Homage Senior Services and the TAP program. I called and they put me on their schedule right away. They pick me up, take me there and take me home. This is my bus, my driver, my friends and my social life. I don’t know what I would do without TAP.” Community organizations like Homage Senior Services are your instruments to make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of people here in Snohomish County. During this season of giving, please continue to be generous. Gifts to local nonprofits bring joy and wellness to so many of your neighbors in need of your help. Thank you for all you do.

Savvy Senior: Raising grandchildren? How you can find help By Jim Miller Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any financial assistance programs that can help grandparents who are raising their grandkids? I’m raising two grandchildren and could use some help. — Struggling Grandma Dear Struggling, There are a variety of government programs and tax benefits that can make a big difference in stretching your budget. Here’s where to look for help. Financial assistance programs: For starters, find out whether your family qualifies for your state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which may include cash assistance, food stamps and free

or low-cost daycare. Or, if your household income is too high to qualify as a family, ask about the “child-only grant” for just the grandchild’s support alone. Also, find out if your state offers any additional programs like guardianship subsidies, non-parent grants or kinship care. Contact your state TANF program (see for contact information), or call your county social services office for more information on these programs. You also need to find out if your grandkids are eligible for Social Security. You can find this out at your local Social Security office, or call 800-7721213 or visit And finally, use BenefitsCheckUp. org, a comprehensive website that lets you search for additional financial

assistance programs that you may be eligible for, such as lower energy bills, discounts on prescription medications and more. Tax benefits: In addition to the financial assistance programs, there are also a number of tax benefits that may help you too like the Dependency Exemption, which allows you to deduct $4,050 in 2107 on each qualifying grandchild. There’s also the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC which is available to those with moderate to low incomes, or the Child Tax Credit if you make too much money to qualify for the EITC. If you’re working, and are incurring childcare expenses in order to work, there’s a Child and Dependent Care Credit that can help. And, if you choose to legally adopt your grandkids, there’s

an Adoption Credit that provides a federal tax credit of up to $13,570. There are even education-related tax credits that can help your grandkids go to college, like the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. To learn more about these tax benefits, call the IRS at 800-829-1040, or visit Health insurance: If your grandkids need health insurance, depending on your income level, you may be able to get free or low-cost health insurance through your state’s Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. See or call 877543-7669 for more information. Send questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit

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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 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 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


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Still in love after all these years Last week my husband, Bob, and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. We dined at a lovely restaurant that overlooked a windswept salt marsh. We were steeped in the sweet glow of a couple dedicated to each other and our lifetimes together. As Bob looked deep into my eyes, he said, “There’s a glob of butter on your nose.” “How on earth did that get there?” “I think you missed your mouth and stuck the roll on your nose.” “Well, I didn’t.” With my napkin, I cleaned off the butter. “Now it’s above your lip. It looks like your nose is running butter.” “Get if off!” I shoved my napkin at him. He Time to meet some new then spent way too friends, less, and much timestress on our buta lot terhave project. more fun! “You’re not painting

the Sistine Chapel, Bob.” Laughing, we entwined our fingers together. Our dinner arrived. I had the baked seafood platter. Bob had a burger. We shared butternut squash apple bisque. I said, “What do you think is the very best part of our marriage?” “That we spend so much time together. That we work full-time together; we watch TV every night together; we go out and play together. What about you?” “That every morning, we have breakfast by candlelight.” I put a scallop on my fork and hand-fed him. “That you somehow wake up at night when I’m finally sleepy so you can tuck me in. That you sing to me Sinatra songs when we kayak.” I felt tears forming. “Forty years, Bob. How did we do that?” “It was all you.

Reality Check!

Everything I could have ever wanted, you’ve given me.” “Sweetheart,” I said, “you’re so good to me. Sometimes I don’t even say a word, yet you know what I’m thinking.” “Everything I am is because of you.” “I love you so much, Bob.” With tears, he couldn’t say it back, but he didn’t need to. I already knew it. I’ve known it for a very long time. I will cherish his love, and my love for him, until my last breath. How did 40 years go by so quickly? I can picture us dancing at our wedding

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— mesmerized by each other, enthralled in the moments. And I dream. I dream of many more breakfasts by candlelight, of many more nights being tucked into bed, of many more days being serenaded by Sinatra ballads. At the restaurant, Bob insisted that I take the seat with the glorious view of the marshland. “But then you won’t see the marsh,” I said. He took my hand and kissed it softly. “The only view I need is you.”

The Snohomish County Master Gardener Foundation’s 15th-annual Winter Speaker Series begins in January. Trevor Cameron of Sunnyside Nursery will deliver a program, “Go Bold With Bulbs,” from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 5 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6215 196th St. SW, Lynnwood. The event costs $20 at the door. The entire series of eight lectures costs $85. For a complete listing of dates, speakers, and topics, go to

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Transcribers keep handwritten history alive for future generations By Louise Lindgren Are you writing letters to friends and family this holiday season by hand, maybe using the Palmer Method that was taught to you in school? One wonders whether your grand or great-grandchildren will be able to read them. The art of handwriting has been eliminated from some school curricula to make way for subjects not even dreamed of years ago. How can writing a letter with pen and ink compete against the demands of computer science or even “keyboarding,” the word that is being used instead of “typing” now? I’ve been diving into my family archives lately, seeking that personal connection with my ancestors that comes through unfolding a penned letter, noting irregularities in the script and perhaps a cross-out or

ink-drip mark that prove it was the result of a real person’s handwork. There is a special feeling in knowing that my grandfather touched the same sheet of paper I hold. No reproduction or transcription can evoke that sense of connection. Still, the story spelled out on that page deserves to be shared with present and future generations. So I sit at the computer and transcribe. Sometimes the task is challenging, as in the case of letters written in Swedish among relatives who knew they would never again see their emigrated loved ones or those who stayed behind in Stockholm. Once, when I was getting tired of using Google Translate to understand my ancestors’ communications, I came across a letter that at first glance appeared to be yet another nearly indecipherable script in Swedish. A closer look revealed that it was written in English. It seemed unreadable at first



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Louise Lindgren’s grandfather wrote this letter by filling the page with script, then turning it 90 degrees and writing a second page on top of the first. Lindgren transcribed the letter to share with family. because my grandfather, who was too poor to obtain writing paper, used the sheet in both directions. As soon as his page was filled with script he turned it 90 degrees and wrote a second page on top of the first. I was amazed that it was intelligible, and soon had a typed version to share with cousins. Beware that opening letters from long-past family members is a gamble. Pain may jump out from the pages. I found a letter from my paternal grandmother to my mother bemoaning my birth because I was not the grandson they had hoped for, my father having died shortly before I was born. That explained a lot about the family dynamic and gave me needed perspective on my past. On the other hand, some letters shed light on who had the best sense of humor (Uncle Bert), who was interested in music and the arts (Mother), who made a living through craftsmanship (Swedish carpenter grandpop), and who earned their living primarily with intellect (maternal grandfather, a news printer/writer and poet). Happily, I found a note that helped


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me appreciate the backstory of the pear-wood cutting board I use. The tree from which my grandfather crafted the board was huge and one year in the 1930s produced a fruit three times the size of any similar pear in the neighborhood. If I’d inherited that board in 2070 instead of 1970 would I have been able to read that script? Our Index Historical Society has also benefitted from those willing to transcribe documents. In one case, a relative of Robert Francis Niles, the printer of the Index Miner newspaper, gave us a copy of a handwritten memoir holding stories of Niles’ life in Index from 1899 to 1901. He wrote of many adventures, including hiking a steep trail with a girl named Winnie who was wearing a skirt that came to her shoe tops. Niles recalled, “She was a very modest girl and her greatest concern seemed to be that I might see her legs. That was unavoidable as we scrambled down the hill over a jumble of broken boulders of all sizes,

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Minor Home Repair fundraising challenge continues through the end of December Will you help seniors like Shari and Bryan stay in their own homes? If $5,000 is raised before Dec. 31, the Whitesells will give the Minor Home Repair Program an additional $5,000. You must specify your gift is for the Whitesell Match and all donations must be received by Dec. 31, 2017. You can mail your donation using the form on this page, visiting our website to donate online, or calling to donate in person. For more information or to donate by phone, contact Christina Mychajliw at 425-265-2294.

Yes, I want to help with a donation today

so be doubled so my my gift gift to to Minor Minor Home Home Repair Repair may 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


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

challenged us to raise $5,000 by the end

of the year, and we accepted.

Podcast offers information on Parkinson’s disease The cause of Parkinson’s disease remains unknown but people who want a hands-free way to stay updated on new developments about the disease can listen to a podcast launched recently by the Parkinson’s Foundation. The podcast, entitled “Substantial Matters: Life and Science of Parkinson’s,” is being produced bi-weekly and features discussions about exercise, clinical trials and nutrition, among other subtopics.

At least 1 million people in the United States live with Parkinson’s disease. A new episode of the 15-minute podcast is being released every other Tuesday and can be accessed on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Amazon Echo, and RSS feed. Archived episodes will be on the foundation’s website. The show will be hosted by Dan Keller, founder and president of Keller Broadcasting. He decided to partner with the Parkinson’s Foundation because he identified it as an area

where people are hungry to get information. Each episode features field experts,

such as physicians, physical therapists, personal trainers and doctors.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 across small chasms and around small cliffs. But only once did I see her knees covered by her stockings … she wasted a lot of time in her efforts to conceal her charms…” Without our digital transcription, Niles’ would not be read outside the museum. Efforts have begun not only in many families but in government archives, libraries and other historical organizations to find volunteers willing to read cursive writing and transcribe it into type that anyone can read. The Washington Secretary of State’s office is calling for volunteers to work at home transcribing documents important to the understanding of state government and history. (scribe.

digitalarchives. The Everett Public Library’s Northwest History Room also welcomes those willing to transcribe cursive documents. Your local museum could probably use help as well. One wonders what stories of Snohomish County reside unread in these valuable collections. The personal connection may be diluted through transcription, but stories and facts of the past can be transmitted to generations of the future. It’s important to begin with your own family, maybe with a box of old Christmas letters or a grandmother’s diary. Then reach out to community archives as well. It’s a satisfying type of winter’s work, and winter is upon us.

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“We are safe now! I did not think we would be able to live here again and you made it possible. THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.” — Shari and Bryan B. From installing grab bars to building ramps, Minor Home Repair allows seniors like Shari and Bryan to continue living in their homes independently and with dignity. Last month we shared the story of donors Linda and Dave Whitesell, and their desire to strengthen our Minor Home Repair program, which helps people keep their homes safe. The Whitesells have

December 2017

Senior Stanwood

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December 2017


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES By John McAlpine RSVP Program Recruiter 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. Volunteer transportation: Studies show when seniors stop driving themselves, they make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor and 65 percent fewer trips for other errands than those who still drive. This leads to isolation, health concerns and other issues. You can help by volunteering to be a driver. Your driving record doesn’t have to be perfect. Drive when and where you want. Clients enter and exit the vehicle on their own. Mileage reimbursement is possible. School/after school mentors: Do you think school is important? Do you think reading is a valuable skill?

Do you think you can make a difference in the life of a student? I know you can. School mentors are needed. You can do this in the classroom (the teacher is always there) or after school in some cases. Teachers are required to do much more data collection and tracking than 20 or 30 years ago. You can help by volunteering a few hours a week. Previous teaching/tutoring experience is not required. Food banks: If you think eating is important — and who doesn’t — I ask you to volunteer at a food bank. Even though people are hungry all year around, as we get closer to the holidays the need for food becomes more pronounced. No matter where you live, there is a volunteer job. RSVP works with food banks in these cities: Arlington, Everett (two locations), Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville (two locations), Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish and Stanwood/Camano. In 2016, about 1 in 8 Washingtonians did not get enough food to meet their basic nutritional

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needs. 1 in 5 kids in Washington state lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Will you help? Peer-to-peer counseling: All around us are people dealing with life issues and they need some help. Can you be there for them? You receive training and are matched with someone who can use a friendly ear. You meet with the client for an hour each week. Additional training and meetings usually take place on a monthly basis. Volunteer chore: In Snohomish County there are seniors who need a little help with household chores and tasks. Can you run a vacuum, change the bed linens, wash the dishes and so on? This allows clients to age in place and stay in their home. A few hours every couple weeks really goes a long way. Can you help? SHIBA: SHIBA stands for Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors. It is a free, confidential and impartial advice resource sponsored by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Volunteer advisers help callers understand their rights and options, and offer up-todate information helping them to make an informed decision concerning health insurance needs. If you like helping people, SHIBA might be for you. There are 30 hours of training. If you have questions, contact RSVP at 425-374-6374 or email me at

HOMAGE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES By Nicole Warren Volunteer Manager, Homage Senior Services Homage Senior Services has dozens of volunteer opportunities for community members to become engaged with our mission by keeping older adults and people with disabilities living in their homes longer and remaining independent. We provide options for one-day groups, clerical roles, skills-based volunteering, internships and more. Check out some highlighted ways to serve below. Friendly visitors: Looking for volunteers all over Snohomish County to simply visit older adults living alone, provide transportation to a vital doctor appointment, help with laundry, and other small household tasks. If you are looking for an opportunity to help a neighbor for 1-2 hours a week become a Friendly Visitor! CONTINUED ON PAGE 7


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If you have a desire to help others and enjoy driving, you may be just the right person for us! 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 up to $1,500 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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Volunteers spread joy on Thanksgiving By Nicole Warren Volunteer Manager, Homage Senior Services Many of us are fortunate enough to be surrounded by family and friends over the holidays, but for some, this is a difficult time of year. For homebound seniors, days like Thanksgiving can be especially challenging. What should be a celebration of family, friends and good food is, for many, a vivid reminder of their hunger for both food and friendship. Here in Snohomish County, volunteers literally transform this lonely day into a celebration of gratitude. Thanks to support from the community, Homage Senior Services has been able to purchase and deliver meals for more than 300 seniors and people with disabilities on Thanksgiving morning for the last eight years.On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, 20 volunteers arrived at the Carl Gipson Senior Center in downtown Everett to prep and package turkey, potatoes, vegetables, gravy, salad, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Early the next morning, another round of 20 volunteers arrived at the center to set up, assemble the meals and help prepare for the morning deliveries. Volunteers and staff shared stories of Thanksgiving traditions and enjoyed each other’s company. By 10 a.m., the last batch of 60

Volunteers (from left) Cody Purcell, Shannon Reynolds, Whitney Johnson, Molly Goodrich and Emma Harrison prepare Thanksgiving dinners for homebound seniors. volunteers made up of families, community members and corporate groups including Fortive, Kalani Packaging and A’viands began delivering Thanksgiving meals. Volunteers were given a certain number of meals to deliver to residents around Snohomish County along with

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directions and a map that highlighted each drop-off location. They hit the streets and within a few hours all 300plus of our clients were greeted with warm meals, smiling faces and friendly conversation. They also enjoyed dessert CONTINUED ON PAGE 8

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Senior peer counseling program: Volunteers are 55 and older and provide one-on-one counseling to adults age 60 and older who are struggling with life changes, loss, or other emotional issues. No prior counseling experience necessary; 40 hours of initial training required. In need of male volunteers. Front desk greeters at main office: Greet staff and community members when they arrive at our office located on Airport Road in Everett. Answer the agency phone, and provide vital information to those in need. Volunteer hours are from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s a great opportunity to become actively engaged with our mission. Homage handy helpers: Are you a handyperson? Our Home Repair team has an extensive 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. Email volunteer@ or call 425355-1112 if you have questions about how to get involved or want to sign up for any of these volunteer roles.

December 2017


December 2017


What to consider when buying long-term insurance By Debbie Carlson Chicago Tribune

Delivering Thanksgiving meals are (from left) Billy and Carolyn Kumangai, DJ Park, Inez Lolohea, James Olive and their children. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 and leftovers for the next day. Many community members volunteer for this event year after year, turning it into a family tradition that truly makes a difference for so many Snohomish County residents. We have already heard back from one meal recipient who is more than appreciative: “I enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner provided for me. Thank you to all the hardworking people who made it possible.” Visit our Facebook page to see more videos and pictures from the event. If you are interested in being on the list for volunteering next year, please email or call 425-355-1112. If you would like to make a difference for older adults and people with disabilities this holiday season, please visit our website at A heartfelt thank-you to all of our participants and to the greater Snohomish County community for your generosity and support.

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Health care costs are rising rapidly, and for older adults or people who need help with some daily activities, costs can easily run thousands of dollars. A 2015 cost of care survey from insurance company Genworth Financial estimated the national median cost of care for a home health aide is $45,760 annually, while the national median cost for a private nursing room home is $91,250 annually. With costs like that, some people are turning to long-term care insurance to cover these bills. People who are considering purchasing this insurance should know it’s costly, is very complex and not everyone will qualify. We hit some key points that potential buyers should keep in mind. Talk to professionals. Financial planner Lacey Manning, founder of LTG Financial in Ocala, Fla., said people should speak to an estate planner, elder law attorneys and accountants to see if these policies make financial sense. They can look at a person’s assets and any other coverage he or she may have from Medicare, Medicaid and other state and federal programs designed to support the sick and elderly. The reason many people opt for these policies is that they have some financial assets they

want to bequeath rather than use that money in case they are sick, said Martin Grace, the Harry Cochran professor of risk at Temple University. For people without a lot of assets, these policies are too costly, said Mary Alice Hughes, insurance agent at Insurance Advantage & LMA Financial Services in Jacksonville, Ark. People who own a home and have more than $250,000 in other assets can better afford these policies. “If you only have $200,000 in the bank, then you don’t need long-term care insurance because … the premiums are going to eat into that money,” Hughes said. Costs. These policies are not cheap, but they are less expensive for younger and healthier people. Grace and Hughes said the cheapest options are for people in their 40s without any significant illnesses. Policies are designed so that buyers purchase a set amount of benefit for certain time frame. Most policies allow buyers access to a pool of money for three or four years. For example, a healthy person in her 40s may buy a policy with a $7,000 monthly benefit for 48 months (four years), which gives her access to a total of $336,000. This type of policy costs anywhere from $200 to $225 a month, about $2,500 a year, Hughes said. Buyers can add

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riders, such as inflation protection, so that their benefits grow by 4 percent to keep up with the cost of living. The premiums can go up significantly as people age, Grace said, which is why someone buying a policy in their 40s will spend less than someone in their 50s or 60s. “The premiums almost double from your 40s to your 50s to your 60s. It’s really substantial,” Grace said, adding that he recently bought a policy himself and went through this process. Because premiums can rise, the buyer needs to think about whether he will have future assets to cover premium increases, Hughes said. Some policies have optional nonforfeiture riders buyers can purchase that will protect what they paid for if they no longer can afford the premiums. “They don’t get the money back, but they just are assured they can use what they have paid,” Hughes said. These policies require medical underwriting, Grace and Hughes said, and having illnesses will increase the cost. “There are a lot of situations where … the agent won’t even take an application. Cognitive impairment — dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s — will definitely knock you out,” Hughes said.

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December 2017


Five spices and herbs that add flavor, healthfulness to holiday dinner table By Leah Hammon Registered Dietician, Homage Senior Services Ah, the holiday season — a “thyme” for friends, family, food, feasts and of course, temptation. No matter what holiday is being celebrated, many people observe food-centric traditions that help distinguish their holiday experiences. And while holiday foods are familiar and nostalgic, they do not always facilitate healthy dietary choices. Such dishes often tend to be heavy, fatty, sugary and over-salted. So, for many of us, the holidays can also inadvertently signify indulgence and excess. Fortunately, it is possible to create lighter versions of comfort foods without sacrificing flavor or tradition. One way to mitigate the temptation of heavier fare is by developing flavors in dishes with herbs and spices. In fact, many traditional holiday dishes already include culinary spices and herbs such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, anise, allspice, cardamom, sage and garlic. These sublime ingredients stimulate appetite, satisfy taste and add layers of depth to dishes. Cooking with herbs and spices also reduces the need for excess salt, sugar and fat — ingredients typically used to enhance flavor. In addition to making foods taste good, herbs and spices have long been used for their healthpromoting properties, because of the vast array of phytonutrients they contain. Phytonutrients, which are naturally occurring plant chemicals, may provide significant health benefits for humans when consumed. They are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties — helping to protect cells from unstable molecules in the body known as free radicals and inflammation. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consuming phytonutrients can be an effective strategy for decreasing the risks of cancer and heart disease. Although scientists do not completely understand the specific mechanisms of how phytonutrients work, research

indicates that people should consume plantbased foods, such as spices and herbs, to reap their potential health benefits. The following holiday spices and herbs are loaded with phytonutrients and show great promise for therapeutic use in health promotion and disease prevention and management:

Cinnamon Probably the most recognizable of the holiday spices, cinnamon is harvested from the bark of evergreen trees within the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon contains an antioxidant component, and has long been studied for its anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antidiabetic effects. Current research suggests that cinnamon may play a role in lowering fasting blood glucose levels. Additionally, cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cinnamon is incredibly versatile and can be featured in stews and soups, baked fruits, whole grain salads with barley, couscous, or quinoa, breakfast entrees or mixed into coffee, milk or yogurt.

A member of the mint family, sage is used in herbal medicine to

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Ground clove pairs well with cinnamon or ginger and can be incorporated in applesauce, stewed or baked pears, oatmeal or whole-grain pancakes and breads. Clove is an antioxidant powerhouse, considering that ½ teaspoon of ground clove contains more antioxidants than ½ cup of fresh blueberries.

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Bread anyone? Ginger, with its roots in Asian and Indian herbal medicine, has been used to treat gastric upset and aid in digestion for thousands of years. A known antiinflammatory, ginger contains hundreds of plant compounds that may contribute to its health-promoting properties. Ginger makes an excellent,

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promote circulation and treat digestive problems. Sage exhibits antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities, and may have positive, cognitive benefits. Sage is strongly aromatic and slightly bitter and makes a great addition to pastas, stuffings, chicken, veal, pork and sausage. It also combines well with cured meats. The holidays do not have to be an exercise in excess. Smart ingredients and sensible portion sizes can elevate your culinary holiday experience and keep “thyme-honored” traditions delicious and nutritious. At the very least, a sprinkling of spices and herbs can impart flavor to foods without additional fat, sugar or sodium. So keep calm and “curry” on — and remember, you “herb” it here first.


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or whole, possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities, and includes the phytonutrients beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Nutmeg can be utilized in a variety of dishes, including winter squash, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, fresh and baked fruits, drinks and desserts. Using nutmeg in desserts (as with cinnamon) may allow you to reduce the amount of sugar needed in a recipe due to the

Here’s another spice associated with the holidays. Nutmeg, whether ground





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antioxidant-packed addition to those holiday sweet potato sides. Ground or fresh, ginger adds subtle spiciness to sauteed vegetables, salad dressings, marinades and desserts.


December 2017


Three amazing uncommon uses for smartphones TECH TALK BY BOB DeLAURENTIS Q. How can I use my phone to take a family photo and include everyone in the picture? A. Smartphone cameras have gotten so good that there has never been a better time to put one on a tripod. Phone cameras perform magic to keep images sharp in all sorts of conditions, but you can still make images with a tripod that would be impossible otherwise. Gathering the whole family together in one frame is the perfect place to begin. Attaching a smartphone to a tripod requires a special bracket. Before you grab the first bargain bracket you come across, consider the hundreds of dollars you have already invested in your phone. Any plastic bracket might work fine atop a tripod for a few

quick shots, but once you discover the perilous places you can reach with a camera on a stick, chances are you will want a bracket with a very secure grip. My favorite tripod mount is the Glif by Studio Neat. The Glif is adjustable and will accept phones ranging from the iPhone SE all the way up to a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel. It can hold the phone in portrait or landscape orientation, and it can also mount an accessory microphone or light. Because the total weight is so light, any tripod you already own will probably work great. If you need to purchase a tripod, take a look at the GorillaPod lineup from Joby. They feature extremely flexible legs that can be attached to any sturdy object. They are perfect for capturing unusual angles that make interesting images. When you enter the world of tripod

photography, there are many creative opportunities to discover. For example, apps that enable stop-motion and time-lapse recordings. There is plenty of fun ahead once you pair a tripod with your smartphone. Q. I was in a restaurant recently and I saw another guest reading the menu with a smartphone. Is this a thing now? A. A smartphone makes a fantastic, lighted magnifying glass, perfect for reading tiny print in dark restaurants. Or anywhere else your eyes need a little assistance. Every phone works a bit differently, so you may want to search the Web for instructions for your specific device. Note that there are third-party apps available for both Android and iPhone, but I find the built-in feature on my iPhone more than sufficient. The iPhone magnifier is an elegant utility with a lot of power hidden

under the hood. It is not an app in the traditional sense — there is no icon visible alongside other apps. It has to be enabled in one of several different system settings. To make the magnifier appear in the Control Center, go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls. Find the Magnifier on the list, and tap the green + button to add it to the custom controls. Now when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal the Control Center, there should be a button with a magnifying glass. Tap it to access the Magnifier. Once open, tap the little lightning bolt to turn on the light. The slider control will allow you to zoom in and out. Tap the lock icon to freeze frame. There is one other icon that looks like a few circles. It reveals a host of settings that can further compensate for CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

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next time I need to call ahead for a takeout order. There are dedicated apps for this purpose, but I use the built-in camera roll and delete them later. While smartphone cameras are “good enough” to replace most cameras, their ubiquity also helps them excel at non-traditional tasks. The possibilities are limitless.

imperfect vision. Another option is to enable the magnifier in the Accessibility Settings to activate with a triple-click of the home button. Q. When I park my car in a public garage, sometimes I forget where I left it. Is there tech that can help? A. The camera on your phone is not limited to family portraits and magnifying fine print. It can also make a visual notebook. I take purely utilitarian pictures all the time. The section number of a parking garage. The label of an item I need to add to my shopping list. The cover of a book I might want to read someday. I have sent my wife photos of a product to confirm the one we needed, and I have snapped menus at a local deli for the

Wander the Web This month’s picks for worthwhile browsing: The Perfect Pen: If the thought of a new pen brings you joy, if you adore fine stationery, if you think a trip to the office supply store is akin to an amusement park outing, then this is the perfect website for you. Thrifter: Launched about six months ago, Thrifter is a

new bargain-finder website. Their home page contains a list of timely deals on various products. Also check out their collection of articles on topics like making the most of an Amazon Prime membership. Shower Thoughts: Three years’ worth of pithy ditties. If you actually seek wisdom on this blog, you may be deeply troubled. Nevertheless it is a hearty serving of weird observations good for a few laughs. just-shower-thoughts. A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob has found a way to write about his interests for over three decades and is currently developing an educational software project. When not writing, he is in the kitchen cooking up something unusual, or outside with a camera. Contact him at -


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Dancing in the Streets ‘Dancing’ fundraiser to help keep seniors at home Enjoy an evening of family, friends, fabulous food and fun entertainment while supporting seniors living at home. Homage’s 7th annual fundraising dinner show, “Dancing in the Streets,” is set for 6 to 9 p.m. March 2 at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center. The show will feature a Motown extravaganza

performed by a 40-member pop orchestra and four vocalists. The program is being arranged by the Snohomish County Music Project. Admission is $100 if you register before Jan. 15, and $125 after that. Reserve tickets at For more information, call Christina Mychajliw at 425-265-2294.

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usic inspired Chuck Noel to first visit KSER studios 26 years ago. “They were looking for people with large record collections,” Noel recalled, “I had a few hundred vinyl LP’s so I walked in to share my interest in music, and walked out the host of a show about personal finance!” A tall, lanky man of 75, Chuck brings credible ease to conversation about money on his live, hour-long show. “My partner Jill came up with the show’s title ‘Getting Your Dough to Rise’. We agree with Benjamin Franklin’s philosophy ‘a penny saved is a penny got’- not earned as is often misquoted.” It’s Noel’s laid back, friendly approach to an often-confusing topic that wins him so many followers during drivetime, 6:00 p.m. the last Tuesday of every month. Listeners depend on Chuck and his guest speakers to keep them up to date on financial law, diversification of funds, managing risk, meeting goals, and understanding insurance needs. “I also do Wise Shopping segments to make the average householder’s money stretch farther,” he says. “Every dollar saved at the grocery store is a dollar people can invest.” The November show will be on tax-saving strategies and in December, Chuck will include the Annual Review and talk about what investors can anticipate in 2018. Born in Buffalo, NY, raised in New Jersey and cultivated by the independent thinking of Rhode Island’s Brown University, Noel deferred the completion of a Bachelor of Economics degree until 1970. A free spirit at heart, he spent years travelling abroad (mainly Kenya where he was the headmaster of secondary school) and at various jobs including time with Boeing and at IBM until finally making Snohomish County home. In 1983 he became a full-time financial advisor with KMS Financial Services of Seattle then later developed his own clientele as an independent contractor working out of his home office. Asked about his favorite show, Chuck was quick to answer, “My interview with Richard Thaler winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics, meaning people do not act rationally with money.” Noel agrees with this premise. Chuck Noel is now retired from advising, but he genuinely believes his many hours as a volunteer preparing and hosting KSER’s ‘Getting Your Dough To Rise’ is worth it. “I am stub-

Chuck Noel helps

‘Dough to Rise’

I am stubborn and persistent because I believe people out there are listening and learning something of value.”

born and persistent because I believe people out there are listening and learning something of value”. And music? He still loves it. From the soundtrack of Black Orpheus to the Beatles, especially George Harrison. “There’s a spirituality to his songs,” Noel says, “You can’t be unhappy when you listen to ‘Here Comes the Sun’.”


December 2017



Q&A: When should you start your Social Security benefits?

all about listening, Luce said, and sometimes that means just sitting quietly. “I learned long ago that I can’t solve every problem,” she said. Ray Chan, 72, has been a Senior Companion Program volunteer for just over a year, he said. With a career in restaurant operations, Chan had to stop for a few months to help open a restaurant, he said, but intends to continue as a volunteer. Patience and understanding are needed, he said. Sometimes a patient is feeling blue and Chan tries to guide him toward happier thoughts, he said. Listening is key, said Miriam Baker, 69, who’s volunteered for the Senior Peer Counselor Program for nine years. She’s learned a lot over the years, she said, from fellow counselors as well as from clients. “People are so diverse and have such interesting lives,” she said. “If you listen to them, everybody has a story.” For more information on becoming a volunteer for Homage Senior Services, please please email or call

By Kirk Larson Social Security Public Affairs At Social Security, we’re often asked, “What’s the best age to start receiving retirement benefits?” The answer is, 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 several factors, such as your current cash needs, your current health and family longevity. Also, 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 benefit protection for your survivors. Q: When can I start my benefits? A: You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount. Your monthly retirement benefit will be higher if you delay starting it. You can visit planners/retire/ageincrease.html to find your full retirement age. We calculate your basic Social Security benefit—the amount you would receive at your full retirement age—based on your lifetime earnings. However, the actual amount you receive each month depends on when you start receiving benefits. You can start your retirement benefit at any point from age 62 up until age 70, and your benefit will be higher

the longer you delay starting it. Q: If I start my benefits early, how much of a reduction will I take? A: If you start your benefits early, they will be reduced based on the number of months (a little more than one-half of 1 percent per month) you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. You could take a 25 to 30 percent reduction if you start early. Here’s an example of how your monthly benefit increases if you delay when you start receiving benefits. 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, we’ll reduce your monthly benefit 25.8 percent to $964 to account for the longer time you receive benefits. This is usually permanent.

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Special Sections - Homage 12.20.17  


Special Sections - Homage 12.20.17