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December 2016 / January, 2017 Vol 43 No. 6 Published by

Senior Services of Snohomish County

Exciting announcement from Senior Service and the Daily Herald

Senior Focus readers in for a treat with new partnership

Gene Underwood

Everett retiree helps keep vulnerable adults safe Page 4

VA Health Care

Mixed reaction to Commission’s report Page 7

Talking Book/Braille Library

Library not limited to only visually impaired Page 10

Savvy Senior

Thyroid disorders often missed in seniors

Page 16

Columns… BookNook....................................... 19 Elder Info........................................... 9 GetAways (Sr. Travel)..................... 12 Meal Times (Nutrition News)....... 20 Perspective on the Past................ 18 Senior Spotlight............................... 4 Tech Talk.......................................... 23 Volunteer Connections................. 21

Learn about programs and services available to seniors. Scan the QR code or visit Like us on

dition, there will be new features and articles that enhance our ability to inform, educate and advocate for seniors in Snohomish County. “This partnership will enable Senior Services to continue providing relevant and important information to older adults and to everyone in Snohomish County interested in these topics,” says Steve McGraw, CEO of Senior Services. “The Daily Herald is honored to be working with Senior Servic-

es… This will be a real treat for our readers,” said Josh O’Connor, Publisher of The Daily Herald. Distribution of the paper will change somewhat. Subscribers of The Daily Herald will see a special Senior Services Section once a month. Senior Focus readers who do not subscribe to The Daily Herald will continue to receive their paper through the mail. Subscription opportunities will be offered, but not required, to Senior Focus readers who are not subscribers to The Daily Herald.

Community responds to matching gift challenge James Mallonee opened his Daily Herald newspaper and was struck by a commentary on the effect of United Way’s decision to cut funding to senior programs in Snohomish County. “I can’t imagine any senior going hungry in this day and age,” said Mallonee, “and I knew I had to do something. With the blessing of his family, Mallonee established a $10,000 matching gift to help raise critical support for frail and vulnerable seniors who depend on Meals on Wheels. Within a few weeks of announcing this gift, the community stepped up and responded with their hearts and their pocketbooks. To date, $38,500 has been raised and Senior Services has been able to serve an additional 30 clients

who had been on the waiting list for months. Sadly, there is still great need as Meals on Wheels currently has a waiting listing of 200 homebound seniors who are unable to prepare food for themselves. Many elders continue to live in despair with empty refrigerators and pantries hoping to receive a call from Meals on Wheels. Thankfully, support from concerned citizens like you has resulted in many seniors receiving these nutrition services. Jane, a client who was recently enrolled after several months on the waiting list, says, “Meals on Wheels is so very helpful. I try to give back as much as I can so that others can be helped; I know what it can mean.”

Jim and Shirley Mallonee

Your donation today can take someone on the wait list who is isolated and not sure when they will eat again, someone like Jane, and let them know there is food in the fridge and pantry and hope for tomorrow. If you would like to make donation to support Meals on Wheels, visit or call Janet Duncan, 425-290-1262.

Help for those raising a relative’s child

The Senior Focus is a publication of Senior ServiceS oF SnohomiSh counTy 11627 Airport rd., Suite B everett WA 98204-8714

Starting next year.... The Senior Focus will be published monthly as a Senior Services section in the The Daily Herald. The first issue will be distributed in February. See story this page. The plan is to continue delivering papers to our current drop-off locations as well as additional sites. To add your name to the mailing list, send an e-mail to (include “Add to ML” in the subject line) or call 425-290-1277.

“My daughter dropped her three kids off at my front door and said, ‘You take them,’ then took off with her boyfriend. I don’t think she’s coming back. Can you help?” “My sister-in-law is a single mother and has Stage 4 cancer. She wants her teenage son and daughter to live with us so they don’t have to go into foster care. Of course, we’ll take them. She has enough to worry about. We’ll manage somehow, but right now the kids need new clothes. What can we do? “We’ve taken in my brother’s grandchildren because he had a stroke and is in a nursing home. We want to avoid the court system to make sure the kids can stay with us, even though we’re older. We’re the only family they have left. How can we make this work?” These are the kinds of calls Amy Dennis, program specialist

non ProFiT orG uS PoSTAGe PAiD SounD PuBLiShinG 98204

By Teri Baker Senior Services of Snohomish County

Sign up today …

Senior Services of Snohomish County and The Daily Herald are pleased to announce a communication and distribution partnership that will increase the publication frequency of the Senior Focus newspaper and broaden its delivery to 100,000 more readers a month. Starting in February, the Senior Focus will be included as a monthly section in the Daily Herald. Readers will continue to see many of the same columns they have enjoyed in the past. In ad-

with Senior Services Relatives as Parents Program, gets all the time from people who suddenly – and it always seems to be suddenly – find themselves fully responsible for a relative’s child or children. While a great number of the more than 43,000 family members in Washington raising a

relative’s child are grandparents, some are aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, great-grandparents or great-aunts and uncles. Some already care for elderly parents or are great-grandparents. Some are disabled, but provide a home for displaced children anyway. RelaCONTINUED ON PAGE 2


December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Raising a relative’s child CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

tives as Parents wants to help them all. “I admire people who do this,� says Dennis. “It’s so obvious that their hearts are in it.� As is hers. When someone calls, she responds, “I may not know the answers, but I’m here to walk with you to help find the answers.� Rather than rushing in with advice, she asks, “What are you thinking?� and then lets them put options the table. She may ask if they’d like to talk with people who’ve walked this road awhile. “We address the initial crisis first,� she says. “We try not to overwhelm them because there’s too much information available. We let them know they don’t have to answer the long term issues yet. Sometimes we can’t help, but we frequently hear that the callers found it helpful just to have someone listen.� Fortunately, there often are ways Relatives as Parents Program can help. While open to all kin-families, the program focuses on families who choose not to involve DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services). These families take on all the responsibilities and costs of rearing the children. There are three main parts to the program: caregiver support groups, limited financial aid, and information and resources.

Dennis says helping kinship caregivers find a support group can make a great difference. With so many responsibilities, caregivers can become isolated or their lives made more difficult by friends and relatives who think they know best what you should be doing. “Support groups help kinship caregivers connect to the community,� Dennis says. “They can share like experiences and talk freely and confidentially about the major emotional, mental, physical and financial challenges they face.�


The program offers a one-time grant per year to help with rent, utilities, food, household supplies, clothing, furniture and bedding for the kinchild or for car repairs so children can be transported. “Caregivers may have been thrust into the situation overnight,� Dennis says. “Or they may have been raising the kids for a long time then hit a rough patch and need some extra financial help.� Assistance might be for school and youth activities such as registration fees, uniforms, instrument rentals, sports camp, field trips or school club fees. “These kids are traumatized already,� Dennis points out. “We want them to be

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able to do things other children get to do.� A side benefit is that caregivers may get a much-needed hour or two of respite while the children are enjoying a supervised activity. Caregivers give up their freedom and can be exhausted from lack of sleep as they tend to teething babies or youngsters with nightmares or their own physical challenges. They appreciate anyone that can give them a break. A grant might be used for legal services such as attorney consultation for any number of reasons including help getting informal custody because they fear the children might be put in foster care where they may not be allowed to see them. “Some don’t even take informal steps because,� Dennis says, “a common fear is that if you report mom and dad for fraudulently keeping financial assistance that was supposed to go to caring for the children, they may retaliate by coming and tearing the children away.� Financial strain takes its toll. Most or all of the money senior caregivers managed to save for retirement often goes to taking care of the children’s food, clothing. medical and dental care. That’s why even a little financial help from Relatives as Parents means so much. To be eligible for financial assistance through Relatives as Parents, caregivers must be related by blood, marriage or adoption and be primary responsible for and live with the children. The kin-family must live in Snohomish County and the biological parents must be habitually absent from the home. Also, the caregiver’s income must not exceed 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Documentation that the child is in your care is required. That may be in the form of a DSHS award letter for services, a court document, legal custody such as third party custody, verification from a medical provider, notarized parental consent agreement, verification from the school, letter from one of the parents, adoption/ guardianship papers and/or a tax return that shows the child as a dependent. Vouchers from grant funds are provided by Snohomish County on a first come, first served basis. “Over the years we’ve seen an increasing number of grandparents becoming the main caregivers,� says July Andre, Snohomish

County Family Caregiver Program manager. “Although we can’t process emergency needs, we try and help where there is a financial need. We want to help maintain continuity in these children’s lives. A big piece of what Amy does is educational and walking people through the steps.�


Designed to connect kinship caregivers to community, resources and support, the program provides information about physical and mental health care, state benefits, child care, working with schools, raising a child with special needs, raising a child of a substance abuser, legal options, advocacy for caregiver and the child, one-on-one consultations, facilitating family meetings and which community groups and businesses provide a discount or other perks. Information is tailored to the unique needs of the kinship family. Counseling services are perhaps the greatest need Dennis encounters. “It’s common for children to struggle to get established when they come into the home, not only when parents visit, but after they leave,� she says. “Kids suffer ambiguous loss; things are unclear.� Dennis helps callers in every way she can. Sometimes that means helping them say no. “As hard as it may be,� she says, “relatives should take time to make a decision.� She explains that you may not have the health or stamina to care for children. Older children may be rebellious to the point that no matter how much you love them, they pose a danger to you or others in your home. You may have to work to survive, leaving you no time to effectively parent. “Or,� Dennis says, “you may have the children for a while and have to make other arrangements because you can become disabled at any age and may not be physically able to care for them.� For those who can take on the responsibility of caring for children whose parents are unwilling or unable to raise their own kids, the Relatives as Parents Program offers understanding and hope. For more information, call Amy Dennis at 425-265-2287 or email Ann and Will welcomed their grandsons into their home. Read their story on page 6

givers, 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 opinion of the Published by writer and not necessarily the opinion of Senior Services of Snohomish County Senior Services or the Senior Focus. 11627 Airport Rd., Suite B Everett WA 98204-8714 Distribution: 20,000 papers are mailed to households and senior-friendly businesses; 3,000 papers are distributed at drop-off Sharon Ostant, Editor locations including senior centers, retire425.290.1277 ď‚&#x; ment communities, libraries, etc. Susan Shoults, Advertising Manager Advertising: The existence of advertising 425.263.1868 ď‚&#x; (including political advertisements) in Published bi-monthly with a readership of this publication is not meant as an en38,000+, the Senior Focus educates and dorsement of the individual, product or entertains readers (seniors, family care- service by anyone except the advertiser.

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Electronic records

Farewell, Dear Friends After 43 wonderful years with Senior Services of Snohomish County, I have decided the time is right for me to retire. I have enjoyed a very rewarding career here at Senior Services; especially my role as editor of the Senior Focus. It has been an interesting, and at times, challenging journey from the days of printing the first issue on an antique press to becoming a full-fledged senior newspaper. I’m proud of the fact that, with the help of many, many people including Senior Services staff, volunteers, columnists, advisors, etc., the Senior Focus has grown over the years to be a respected source of information for seniors and those who care about them. I leave with so many memories of my years at Senior Services. Like any organization, there have been good times and not-so-good times. I can attest that Senior Services employees and volunteers are the most kind-hearted, generous people I have ever known. Snohomish County truly is fortunate to have such a compassionate group of people working on behalf of older adults. In addition, I will truly miss working with Senior Focus volunteers. For over 35 years, a dedicated group of volunteers would come in every month to label and prepare for mailing over 16,000 papers. We worked

in a room that had stacks of unlabeled papers on one wall and a pile of filled mailing bags on the other wall. While there was much heavy lifting going on, it still was a fun time. We became a “family” of sorts and shared with each other our stories and experiences. And finally, during my tenure I have had the privilege to meet many incredibly talented and kind people who have inspired me to be a better person. I especially appreciate all of the seniors I have met and talked with over the years. You are awesome role models for me as I move into the next phase of my life. I am truly excited about having the time to pursue other areas of interest. I know there will be some traveling with my husband, Ken, my two dachshunds, Elly and Rufus, and my chiweenie, Annie. I also know I will be active in the community, especially when it comes to helping those less fortunate. Perhaps our paths will cross someday as I do look forward to finding an organization or two where I can volunteer. In closing, I sincerely thank you for your support which ultimately allowed me to have an extraordinary career. Here’s wishing you a joyous new year!

– Sharon

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unique patient information to move from one healthcare provider to another but it has “never been realized.” And “even when digital records are kept, different systems are not interoperable.” Patients still have to take their records physically from one doctor’s office to another or rely on their memories to describe past medical history. The advantages of such records is that they would improve the choice of medications for patients, better coordinated care leading to shorter hospital stays, and less time spent on administrative tasks. The RAND study recommended that one way to increase the use of these types of records is to provide financial incentives to health care providers, such as increasing Medicare payments to those who use electronic systems. For more information, visit and

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December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Everett retiree helps keep vulnerable adults safe Senior Spotlight Someone We’d Like You to Meet…

By Teri Baker Gene Underwood knows what it’s like to worry about whether a beloved family member is getting good care when you can’t care for him or her yourself. In 2001 his father suffered a stroke while crawling under his house to fix a pipe. Gene and his wife, Lois, brought him to live with them for a year and a half until he required more care than they could give him. They moved him to an adult family home and made sure he was in a comfortable, healthy environment. Gene winces and says, “It was hard to see him go downhill.”

Nine years after his father died, Gene heard the Snohomish County Long Term Care and Aging Ombudsman Program needed volunteers. Watching out for vulnerable adults fit right in with who Gene is. Gene went through the interview process and four days of required training where he learned about residents’ rights in adult family homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes under state direction. His training covered working in homes licensed for specialties such as mental health, dementia and physically disabled and/or developmentally disabled. Gene, 72, serves as an ombudsman in adult family homes in Everett and South Snohomish County. Residents range from age 18 to 100. He makes welfare

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checks and introduces the program to residents and facility owners. He started out visiting 10 facilities every month, but now tries to do more. “There are 450 adult family homes with up to six residents each. That’s about 7,000 beds,” he says. “You can see why we need more volunteers.” Because he knows his advocacy can make life better for resiGene Underwood (L) visits local adult family homes to dents, he’s seri- meet with residents where he engages in a friendly conous about doing versation to ensure their rights are safeguarded. what’s necessary to safeguard their rights, whether up on them and the facilities,” the it’s making sure someone gets a Everett retiree says. “I let them wheelchair, ensuring residents know I’m there to give them somehave activities available to them one to talk to. When others are or uncovering abuse. around, they may say everything When he arrives, Gene makes is fine; but if I feel something it a point to observe cleanliness, isn’t quite right, I’ll go back and odors, caregiver behavior, general find out their true feelings and surroundings and the residents help them understand they have themselves. He calls the families rights. Anything they can do at if he finds something of concern. home they can do here.” For the many residents who don’t Gene says he’s been in some have a family, there are mecha- great adult family homes and nisms in place to address any some that don’t need much to problems. make them better, but he has also “We always go in unannounced. seen some pretty severe cases of Residents need someone to check CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

11/1/16 1:29 PM

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Your community needs your help! Snohomish County has a critical need for volunteer ombuds. Many of our neighbors who live in adult family homes, nursing homes and assisted living facilities need your help. You can make a difference. As a certified volunteer longterm care Ombuds, you can make a difference by being an advocate, educator, investigator and problem solver. You will receive four days of FREE training to become

a certified Ombuds. In return you are asked to volunteer four hours a week, attend monthly meetings, and submit a monthly activity report. The next training is planned for late January. If this sounds like a good fit for you, please call or email Gay Rutter, Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman at 360862-1100 or 800-562-6028; gayr@ mschelps. For more information visit


All that came to a halt in 1978 when the revolution in Iran was imminent. The Underwoods were sent back to the States, and Gene became a systems analyst. “I got interested in computer stuff,” he says. “I had an opportunity to go back to school at company expense, and took advantage of it.” Since he worked full-time, it took awhile, but eventually he got his bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Seattle City University. In 1994 he helped set up the computer network for building the 777 aircraft in Everett, then stayed to provide computing support. “I worked for Boeing for 40 years, three more than my dad, and never got laid off,” he says. “By the time I retired in 2007, Boeing headquarters had moved to Chicago and was outsourcing our jobs.” Gene’s favorite part of retirement is being a night owl because he no longer has to get up early. When Lois told him he had to find something to do, he went to an open house at Mill Creek Senior Center, where he met an instructor for the center’s computer classes. “We talked a little bit and then he asked me when I was going to come and volunteer,” Gene said. “So I helped, and then taught a few classes. Right now I’m teaching Windows 10 classes. It’s a lot of fun to see seniors catch on.” It’s another way Gene makes a marked difference in seniors’ quality of life. Not bad for an “ordinary” fellow.


neglect. Although those are tough for him to deal with emotionally, he says he’s glad he can be part of rescuing those residents. “I find it rewarding,” he says, “especially when a case has gotten resolved.” Even though he makes a crucial difference in the lives of vulnerable adults, Gene is an unassuming fellow who considers himself an ordinary guy like others of his generation. He was born in 1944 in Pasco while his father was stationed at a Navy airfield there in World War II. His dad went to work for Boeing and moved the family to Renton when Gene was two, then to a one-acre farm in the Bothell-Kenmore area. From an early age Gene and his sister helped with the chickens, ducks, rabbits and goats. “We also had a big garden,” he recalls. “That’s where I learned to hate weeding.” After graduating from Bothell High School in 1962 Gene got a job working for a photo company. “It was called Humpty Dumpty,” he recalls. “They’d go to homes and sign people up to have their children’s pictures taken, then I’d go out and take the photos.” He went to Seattle Pacific University for three semesters and transferred to Shoreline Community College to finish his associate of arts degree. In 1966 he went to Central Washington University during the week and worked weekends and holidays in the mail room at Boeing until March 1967 when he got on full-time in customer support in the spare parts department. In December, he married Lois, the love of his life, whom he had met at church and had been dating for a few years, When Boeing got a contract in Iran in 1975, the company offered to send Gene to Tehran to do logistical support with the Iranian government. “We had two little girls, ages two and three,” he says. “When I told my wife, she immediately said, ‘When are we going?’” Gene says it was a wonderful experience. “Every six months the company sent us on supplemental leave for ten days,” he says. “They paid for flights and all expenses. We went to London, Madrid, Munich, Rome, Barcelona, Athens, Holland and Israel. We even took a four-day cruise in the Aegean.”


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December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Retired and suddenly a full time mother again By Teri Baker “Are you the grandmother? Can you take them? They can’t stay here!” Ann was stunned. She had stopped by her daughter’s apartment to drop something off when a Child Protective Service investigator arrived and declared the place uninhabitable. Suddenly Ann and her husband, Will, were asked to have Brad, 17, and Jake, barely 15, come live with them. Over the next few days, she found out her daughter, Diane, and Diane’s older son, Luke, had been on meth and several other drugs. Diane also had a serious gambling problem. Their apartment had become a drug house with numerous addicts displacing Jake and Brad, including taking over their rooms and eating all the food in the house. Jake had been on marijuana for several months and was being suspended from school until the end of the year. Diane’s husband, Greg, worked full time, but Diane always had creative explanations why they never had money for rent. Ann and Will had loaned them money (never repaid) several times, and Ann often brought groceries. She and Greg’s mother had long been concerned because there was always an excuse why they couldn’t

come inside the house. Now they knew why. Heartsick, Ann and Will welcomed Brad and Jake into their small home. The boys came with only the clothes on their backs. Brad was relieved; typical of older children raised with turmoil and dysfunction, Jake was angry and resentful. Questions roiled in Ann’s head. Where would the boys sleep? The only option was the living room. What about their medical care? They were covered by Greg’s health insurance, but Will must foot the bill for co-pays, etc. Will still worked full time, and they had a little money in retirement savings. They had their faith. They would manage. They wanted to keep the boys out of the court system. Ann, 68, and Will, 71, were concerned that because of their age and because of Will’s health, they might not be allowed to be foster parents. That meant the boys could be split up and go who knows where. If that happened, they feared that emotionally immature Jake might take off and wind up on the street. Knowing there are no grandparents’ rights in Washington state, Ann did some research and discovered a custody agreement in which parents can give over legal custody. Diane and Greg signed

the papers. To Ann’s relief, some help was available. Because the boys were both considered at-risk youth, they were accepted into the school lunch program. Ann and Will bought them several outfits. Operation School Bell provided more new clothing. Greg’s mother bought the boys shoes and helped pay for dental work Jake desperately needed. She also shared the responsibility with Ann of taking Brad to and from school every day until an accident sidelined her. Ann and Will’s other children pitched in with groceries from time to time. Ann made well-balanced meals every day and always had snacks on hand. It broke her heart when Brad told her he and Jake sometimes didn’t get to eat for two or three days. After the boys had been with Will and Ann for several months, Greg called, admitted he, too, was using drugs and asked Ann to take him to the hospital where he had arranged for inpatient drug treatment. It has been tough, but Greg has been drug free from that day on and deeply regrets neglecting his sons and making them keep his secret. He’s back in the boys’ lives being a good father and is working to pay off his debts. Was it worth putting her own

life on hold – having to keep a close eye on Jake night and day the first six months; all the teachers’ conferences; all the extra cooking and cleaning; the cramped quarters; the financial strain; the physical, mental and emotional stress that caused her own health to decline somewhat? Ann thinks so. Brad always was and remains thoughtful, kind and eager to help. He has graduated from high school, has a job and still lives with Will and Ann. He has forgiven those who neglected and harmed him, choosing instead to focus on the positives in life. Jake, who came with failing grades in school, got off marijuana and started making A’s and B’s. He has returned to live with his parents. Ann, Will and Brad are grieving because Jake has returned to his old ways. Diane and Luke are going to a methadone clinic, but as is typical of addicts, always blame others for their circumstances. Ann and Will love them dearly and continue to pray for them and hope that one day their lives will turn around. Would they do it all again? “The short answer is ‘yes,’ ” Ann says. “I love them. What else would I do?” To protect the children, all names have been changed.

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Mondays, February 6–27, 2017 10:30 am–12:00 pm Admission $5/$2 Arts for Everyone for seniors with limited incomes Through improvisation and theatre games, Taproot Theatre leads classes that tap into the creative abilities of individuals with early stage memory loss (ESML) and care partners.

Golden Era Sing-Along: On The Road!

This guided tour of musical memories travels free-of-charge to local assisted living facilities, in an effort to engage members of our community for whom a trip to ECA may present a challenge. With an ECA host, your residents will take a trip over the rainbow to enjoy great television, film and concert performances by legendary performers of yesteryear.

For more information, contact Gillian Jones, Director of Programming, at or 425.275.9483.

Contact the ECA Box Office at 425.275.9595 for tickets to the Dementia-Inclusive Series. | 425.275.9595 410FOURTHAVENUENORTH EDMONDSWA98020

We offer group discounts* to ECA Presented events! For more information, contact Tina Baumgardner at or 425.275.4484. *All group tickets must be purchased at one time, by one person, using a single payment method. There is a $12 service charge per order, regardless of the number of tickets purchased. Group seating is subject to seating availability; every effort will be made to seat all members of your group together.

Free parking | Easy building access | See the full Dementia-Inclusive Series line-up at

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Panel reviews veteran’s health care system

Mixed reaction to Commission’s health care report By Cheryl M. Keyser In the aftermath of the scandals of veterans not getting prompt care and, in some cases, delayed so much they died, a Commission on Care examined the veteran’s health care system to pinpoint weaknesses and ensure that all veterans receive the care they need. The final report (released in July) has come in with mixed reaction, especially from the major veterans organizations. At a hearing of the Senate Veterans Committee, the panel heard from several veterans organizations and the head of the Commission. Perhaps the biggest issue that the Commission faced was privatization of health care. “... Some among the membership (of the Commission) are deeply skeptical of government-run health care, and some believe current trends will ultimately lead VA to a payer-only role,” explained Nancy M. Schlichting, Chairperson of the Commission and CEO of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Many veterans organizations are concerned that limiting the VA to only the role of paying the bills means eliminating its health care focus. The Commission was given a 20-year time frame to recommend what changes could be introduced. However, as Schlichting noted, changes in so many areas of health care have proliferated with new technology that, at best, they could only forecast “no further than five years out.” She noted some of the obstacles that hindered taking a longer look, such as a dramatic increase in outpatient care, the growth of telemedicine, greater emphasis on preventive care, and technology which would include homebased health care monitoring of patients. Some are in their early stages, but the pace of development at every level of health care has been so rapid it would be impossible to predict what will come down the road even in five years. Three committee members declined to sign on to the final report; two opposed it “because it did not go far enough,” and the other, “because it went too far.” Schlichting also downplayed the possibility that the VA health system might become only a payer for medical care as Medicare or insurance companies. She saw this as difficult to impossible because “health care systems and facilities across this country are generally not equipped to meet many of the unique and complex health needs among the roughly six million veterans who VA treats annually.” Jeff Steele, Assistant Director of the American Legion, reiterated AL’s call for the VA to “develop a well-defined and consistent non-VA care coordination program, policy and procedure” and indicated its support for consoli-

dating VA’s “multiple disparate purchased care programs into one New Veterans Choice Program.” The VA also opposes the alternate use of private primary care doctors. “Based on the Commission’s faulty analysis,” he said, VA physicians have no time limit on seeing a patient, as opposed to Medicare which pays based on a 10-15 minute consultation. Acknowledging that it “does not support every recommendation made by the Commission,” Carlos Fuentes, Deputy Director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), notes his organization’s reaction to possible privatization. Says Fuentes, “Veterans in need of a primary care provider must be offered the opportunity to discuss their preferences and clinical needs with a VA healthcare professional” to determine which provider best fits their situation. Changing the present system would leave veterans on their own to schedule appointments with specialists, according to Fuentes. “We strongly believe VA, not the primary care provider, must serve as a veteran’s medical home,” Fuentes stated. And he added, this includes maintaining their medical history in one electronic healthcare record. In conclusion, Schlichting commented that the report of the Commission affirms the need for the nation to invest further in the VA health care system, but

it also “underscores the sweeping change” needed in the system. In defense of his agency, Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, noted its accomplishments listing such facts as completing over 11 million same-day appointments. In July 2016 alone, the VA fulfilled 85 percent within seven days; and of this number, 22.44 percent were same-day appointments. He also added that appointments for eye care and hearing exams were scheduled directly with VA medical centers instead of requiring veterans to go through a primary care doctor. From the point of view of entering the system, enrollment in VA health care has become easier by using an on-line procedure and promising that “by the end of this year, every Veteran in crisis will have their call promptly answered by an experienced responder at

the Veterans Crisis Line.” Regarding homeless veterans, McDonald noted that “through June 2016, more than 56,500 homeless or at-risk veterans and their family members have obtained permanent housing or were prevented from becoming homeless as a result of VA’s targeted homeless services.” He did, however, take issue with one of the recommendations of the Commission to establish a “board of directors” to run the VA healthcare system, maintaining that it was not feasible “for both constitutional and practical reasons.” Referring to the Department of Justice, McDonald said that a board “would violate the separation of powers” as “the Constitution prevents Congress from appointing persons to exercise authority over Executive branch agencies.” Making such a change would establish the VHA as an independent agency instead of a Cabinet-level department which is its current status. For more information, visit the website at

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December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

The key to good caregiving: a healthy caregiver (BPT) – It is estimated that more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. For the vast majority, the deeply personal responsibility of caring for a loved one with a devastating disease constitutes a “labor of love,” but caregiving can take a severe emotional and physical toll on those providing it. In fact, 59 percent of family caregivers of people with Al-

Family Caregiver Support Program Answer Questions – Explore Care Options 425.290.1240 or 800.422.2024

zheimer’s and other dementias rate their emotional stress as high or very high, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. A leading contributor is the fact that caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia poses special challenges. People in the middle to later stages of the disease experience losses in judgment, orientation and the ability to understand and communicate effectively. An even greater stressor for many, however, are the personality and behavioral changes that accompany the disease. “With Alzheimer’s disease, family and friends experience a series of losses,” says Ruth Drew, director of Family and Information

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Services at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Watching a family member gradually lose their abilities day by day is extremely painful and stressful.” Caregiver stress warning signs Given that people with Alzheimer’s typically live four to eight years after diagnosis, it’s important for caregivers to take steps to protect their own health. Managing caregiver stress is essential and benefits both the caregiver and the person under their care. An important first step is recognizing common warning signs, including: Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed. Anger at the person with Alzheimer’s or frustration that he or she can’t do the things they used to be able to do. Social withdrawal from friends and activities that used to make you feel good. Anxiety about the future and facing another day. Depression that breaks your spirit and affects your ability to cope. Exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. “It’s normal to feel guilty, angry or even abandoned when someone you care about has Alzheimer’s disease,” Drew says. “It’s so important to recognize these feelings and get the support you need, so you don’t put your own health at risk.” Stay healthy by managing stress To help manage caregiver stress, the Alzheimer’s Association offers these suggestions: Find time for yourself. It’s normal to need a break from caregiving duties. No one can do it all by themselves. Consider taking advantage of respite care or help from family and friends to spend time doing something you enjoy. Become an educated caregiver. Understand the disease, its progression and accompanying behavioral and physical changes. Know resources in your commu-

nity that can help. Build a support network. Organize friends and family who want to help provide care and support. Access local support groups or online communities to connect with other caregivers. If stress becomes overwhelming, seek professional help. Take care of yourself. Try to eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. Making sure that you are healthy can help you be a better caregiver. Accept changes. Eventually your loved one will need more intensive kinds of care. Research care options now so you are ready for the changes as they occur. Know you’re doing your best. It’s normal to lose patience or feel like your care may fall short sometimes. You’re doing the best you can. It’s important that caregivers not isolate themselves, Drew said. Help is available. “No one should go through caring for someone with Alzheimer’s alone and no one has to,” Drew says. “Connecting with other caregivers and support organizations can help you find the information, resources and emotional support needed to help stay physically and emotionally strong so you can take care of yourself while you provide care to others. To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and to find resources for caregivers and families, visit

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Stanwood Community and Senior Center Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mon. - Sat.

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Donations of gently-used clothing welcome. Proceeds benefit our programs & services. 360-629-7403

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 Bingo, cards and games  Entertainment, special events and trips  Nutritious lunches  Foot, blood pressure and hearing clinics  Massage and acupuncture  Alzheimer’s support group  Creative crafters (knit/crochet)  Computer, exercise and dance classes  Plus a whole lot more

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1st Saturday of the month for our Community Breakfast, 8:30-10:30 a.m. and Bingo Bash, 5:30-9 p.m.

Ask about facility rentals for parties, celebrations, fundraisers, meetings, etc.

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Snohomish Senior Center  506 4th St.  360-568-0934 

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Tips to de-stress this holiday season Elder Info Have a Question? We Have an Answer!

By Cynthia Nowowiejski, MSW

Aging and Disability Resource Specialist


I feel overwhelmed when December comes and I am facing the holidays. How can I feel less stressed this year?

This can be a stressful time of year for many reasons. Here are some tips for de-stressing. Entertain Realistic Expectations The holidays can be a stressful or painful time. You might have lost a special person in your life this year. Allow yourself to feel the feelings and the time to grieve the losses. You may find it helpful to write down your feelings. You might light a candle to remember those who will not be sharing the holidays with you. Start a new tradition this holiday season. Identify What You Love and Enjoy about the Holidays Do you enjoy holiday baking? Making homemade winter soups or breads? Visiting family? Having friends over? Decorating? Listening to music? Writing cards? Giving or receiving gifts?

Be honest with yourself about what you want. Choose your favorite activities and take steps to make them happen. Enjoy!

spirational book. Visit a local nursery... enjoy walking through the indoor and outdoor plants and trees. Shop at small local shops. Take time to breathe!

Conserve Your Energy Select how you will spend this time … from December 1 through January 1. Tell your family members and friends what you will be doing and what you will not be doing to celebrate the holidays. Decide what is really important to you … and do less.

Start a New Holiday Tradition Try a new community holiday event. Libraries, churches and community centers often offer free holiday events. Take a walk in the park … watch a sunset. Invite a friend for tea and cookies! Share good memories of holidays past and your hopes for the future. Try something new!

Avoid Over-Stimulation Take a break from TV news, from your personal worries and from large shopping malls. Turn on relaxing music or read an inQuality Senior Living Community

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Embrace Healthy Practices and Simple Pleasures for a Good Mood Exercise – Start with a short walk in your neighborhood. Eat fresh, healthy foods. Prepare a winter vegetable in a new way. Bake an apple for dessert… add dried cranberries! Limit all alcohol – it’s a depressant! Get enough sleep each day. Laugh! Take a Healthy Step! Aging and Disability Resources is the gateway to access services for older adults and people with disabilities. To speak with an ADR Specialist who will listen to your concerns, answer questions and explore options, phone 425-513-1900 or 800-422-2024.

We’re with you every step of the way… Providing seniors and their families housing and care guidance

Determining the best housing and care options for seniors looking for more community or who are no longer safe at home can be overwhelming. Our complimentary service offers a hand-in-hand approach to help navigate this transition. Call or email for information… Frank Simons  206-228-1678 ~ Juli Simons  425-876-2053 ~

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10 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Library not limited only to visually impaired By Teri Baker That All May Read. Emphasis on “All.” That’s the motto and mission of the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library which is dedicated to building community and providing equal access to information and reading materials for Washington residents unable to read standard print. You don’t have to be blind to take advantage of the thousands

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of books, magazines, music scores and services the free, full-service library offers. You’re eligible if you can’t read standard print because of legal blindness or visual impairment; physical disability that makes you unable to turn pages or comfortably hold a book for extended periods of time; deafblindness; or reading disability due to organic dysfunction. While the services are free to Washington residents, an application must be completed. Facilities such as schools, hospitals and nursing homes may also apply for service. In Snohomish County, 17 retirement/care facilities currently have accounts, along with 632 individuals. WTBBL Director and Regional Librarian Danielle Miller wants every person who has or knows someone who has any of the eligible conditions to take advantage of the library. “I want everyone to realize that the library is accessible to all,” Miller says. “People should be able to read and explore without barriers and without being marginalized.” “This library is important be-


hether you simply want to ensure that your wishes are carried out, or you want to protect your family from making difficult decisions at a time of loss, planning your final arrangements in advance is an important responsibility, and one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones.

It makes sense to pre-plan now.  Loved ones won’t have to guess or be financially burdened during an emotional time  Lock in prices at today’s costs and protect against inflation  Real peace of mind knowing your plan will be executed as you want it

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Purdy & Walters at Floral Hills 425-672-1800 409 Filbert Rd., Lynnwood

Library staff give books to patron Photo courtesy of Wa. Talking Book and Braille Library

cause it adds meaning to our lives,” a patron says, echoing the sentiments of her peers. “As we get older we have a tendency to live alone. When I’m with a talking book, I’m never alone. It’s my connection with life.” Patrons use words like literacy, engagement, involvement, inspirational, educational, knowledge and accessibility when they talk about the library. They also talk about the pleasure of hearing a talking book narrated by skilled actors and other professionals. No mechanical computer voices here. The braille collection includes books for both adults and children. A special children’s collection combines print and braille so that blind and sighted readers can read together. Meghan Holt of Everett has a deaf and blind four-year-old daughter. Determined to make their child’s life as rich as possible, the parents turned to WTBBL. “She responds to audio books and has learned braille,” Holt says. “She can’t hold a book, but she can find the bumps and tap them. And her little sister, who has vision, loves to listen to the audio books.” Holt serves as WTBBL advisory council vice-chair and is on a mission to make parents, grandparents, preschools and public libraries aware of all WTBBL offers. “The library is awesome,” she says. “Their youth services are amazing!”

All patrons start out with three books; that number is raised to 25 or more depending on how fast they read. Miller says, “We absolutely want to make sure everyone always has something to read.” If a person doesn’t already have books or articles in mind, a reader’s advisor will help him/her choose something based on favorite subjects and authors. In addition to thousands of books in various genres, WTBBL has a special emphasis on books about the Pacific Northwest and by Pacific Northwest authors. Books can be checked out for six weeks with a six-week renewal. There are three ways to get books. “A 2014 survey showed that 44 percent of our patrons throughout the state don’t have internet,” Miller says. “That’s why it’s absolutely necessary that we have a physical collection and a low-tech option for ordering books by mail.” A medium-tech alternative is downloading books from the WTBBL website. Those who can’t do so themselves can have someone else download books to a flash drive to plug into the USB port on his/her reader. Another option is to download an app that works on IOS, Android and Kindle platforms. “I usually get four cartridges in braille plus download from the BARD (Braille and Audio Reading CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017


Social Security goes up?


a business program. “It not only helped people who couldn’t read,” he says, “but it was useful to me CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 because I was working at Hewlett- There will be a bit more money the needs of older adults, which Download) website,” patron Chris Packard as a contract negotiator, in Social Security checks start- would include in the calculations Coulter of Everett says. “I now and it helped me to know what ing in 2017, but for some it may their greater medical costs, among disappear down the hole of an in- other things. have 19 books on a thumb drive.” was going on in the world.” Born blind, Coulter, 66, be- These days, Newman presents creased 2017 Medicare premium While everyone worries that gan using WTBBL when she was WTBBL to retirement communi- (the amount was not announced Social Security is facing future fifive years old. “I was among the ties and helps spread the word as of this writing). nancial problems, this year there first children to be involved,” she at area events, such as a recent The increase – a cost-of-living will also be a little more going in says. “They had been working statewide adult family home orga- adjustment or COLA – is based to the Trust Fund. The amount on the Consumer Price Index, as of money subject to the Social with blinded veterans and were nization’s conference. beginning to bring in children’s “I find that kind of personal out- prepared by the Department of Security tax, or FICA, will inbraille and talking books. I read reach is valuable and important,” Labor. This year it will be a mod- crease from $118,500 to $127,200. braille at an early age. That’s how Newman says. “I know how im- est 0.3 percent which works out (There have also been suggestions roughly to $2.00 per $1,000. I learned punctuation and started that this amount be increased to portant eyesight is. I enjoy readgetting fascinated with Spanish.” It should be noted, however, for $250,000.) ing. I know I would want to have She adds, “It’s easy to fall into at least 20 years some members For more information, visit the resources if something happened the trap that blindness defines of Congress have advocated for a website at where I couldn’t read or hold a you. Thanks to this library, my COLA specifically responsive to – CMK book or turn the pages.” world has changed, but it hasn’t Thanks to WTBBL, there are shrunk. It has expanded.” ADVERTISER: GARDEN COURT RETIREMENT such resources. A combination of A volunteer at WTBBL forSALES two PERSON: NEXT RUN DATE: 03/02/15 federal and state1704 funding provides years, Coulter did braille prooflibraryBY: materials and all services, CREATED DREIFEL PUBLICATION: HERALD RETAIL reading for a while. “I know some including books, equipment and PUBLICATION: HERALD RETAIL SIZE: 2 col X 5 in patrons who read braille, but as they get older their fingers be- mailing costs. In addition, the come desensitized” she says, Library has headphones for priadding that she did another vol- vate listening, pillow speakers 1 Hour Massage, $50 unteer activity. “What I enjoyed for listening in bed, high-volume 2 30-Minute Massages, $25 (each) most,” she says, “was reading on speakers for the hearing impaired Geotactic certified and breath-activated switches for a weekly radio reading service.” those with limited or no dexterity. Ken Newman did that, too. As  Swedish massage a teen, he saw a public service an- That all may read.  Deep-tissue massage nouncement that stuck with him. There is also a large print col Cupping massage therapy “It showed a picture of a record- lection for registered patrons who  Hot-stone massage ing booth with someone reading cannot easily read conventional  Hot-stone foot massage a book,” he recalls. “It piqued my size print that is solely funded by donations of books and monies. Ask about our senior discount and interest.” the Red Cedar Members Club. Newman, now retired, has vol- To learn more about the Talking Book and Braille Library visit unteered with WTBBL since 1979. Call today to schedule an appointment 425-248-7784 or book online. He started reading the Seattle or call 206-615-0400 Red Cedar Massage  16507 7th Pl. W., Lynnwood  newspapers on radio on Saturday or 800-542-0866 weekdays, 8:30 a.m.5 p.m. mornings, and also read aloud on


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12 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Visit a lighthouse for a fun, illuminating vacation pand across oceans and seas and safely return to land, guided by the lighthouse’s beacon.” Each year, thousands of visitors learn about lighthouses and their storied pasts, gaining a new appreciation of their uniquely majestic architecture. “With hundreds of lighthouses along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and on inland waterways such as the Great Lakes, it’s easy for many Americans to find a lighthouse that’s within reasonable traveling distance from home,” Gales says. “A lighthouse visit truly has it all – history and adventure, romance, scenic beauty, and family appeal.” SeaPak Shrimp & Seafood Co. has partnered with the USLHS to support lighthouse preservation and education and is pledging $10,000 to the USLHS. The grant will go directly to preservation efforts already underway at the fabled Morris Island Lighthouse, which has long guarded Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. To inspire you to visit a lighthouse this summer or fall, the

Get Aways Adventures in Travel

(BPT) – Long before global positioning devices made it possible for ships of all sizes to independently sail with confidence anywhere in the world, lighthouses and lighthouse keepers protected the safety of seafarers. Today, ships use other methods for navigation, but lighthouses remain an important part of America’s maritime heritage. Across the country, lighthouses have been converted into museums, living history centers and even hotels. “Modern commercial airline pilots couldn’t imagine flying without the aid of a control tower and air traffic controllers,” says Jeff Gales, executive director of the United States Lighthouse Society (USLHS). “In their time, lighthouses and lighthouse keepers were just as important. Their contributions made it possible for cultures around the world to ex-

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Lighthouses remain an important part of America’s heritage

USLHS and SeaPak have teamed up to share these fascinating facts, along with some useful lighthouse tourism information: Historians believe one of the first known lighthouses was built in Egypt, nearly 300 years before the birth of Christ. The Pharos of Alexandria lighthouse was said to be more than 440 feet tall and guided ships to the city’s harbor for more than a thousand years before earthquakes destroyed it in the 14th century A.D. The Pharos is remembered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Despite the creation of other navigational technologies, many operational lighthouses still exist around the world. Most have been automated, but some are still “manned” by a lighthouse keeper. In the U.S., only the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island in Massachusetts is still staffed. It is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the country. Each lighthouse has a unique light signature that helps mariners identify it. For example, a lighthouse may flash its light once every seven seconds, while another miles away on the same coast flashes its light every 10 seconds. The different flashing patterns help sailors know which lighthouses they’re passing in the dark of night. Lighthouses also are painted in distinctive patterns and colors, to ensure they’ll be a visual signal for mariners during the day. Because they’re located in coastal areas, lighthouses are often found in communities that have a lot to offer tourists. A lighthouse visit can be the pinnacle of

a trip that also includes dining in nearby restaurants, shopping, day cruises, stops at other historic sites, and additional family friendly activities. Throughout the summer and fall, lighthouses along America’s seasides and inland coasts are the focal point of festivals. For example, the lighthouses of Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands on Lake Superior host a celebration every year in late August and early September; two dozen historic Maine lighthouses are open to the public on Maine Open Lighthouse Day (September); and, in New Jersey, the annual Lighthouse Challenge weekend (October) encourages people to visit all of the state’s participating lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast. You can easily book a lighthouse tour that comes with behind-the-scenes insights into the history and operation of a lighthouse. In some cases, you may even be able to stay in the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and assume some honorary duties! While you’re having fun visiting lighthouses, you can help support their preservation by participating in the USLHS Passport Program. When you visit a participating lighthouse, you’ll earn a stamp in your free passport. You also help support the lighthouse through your ticket price and gift shop purchases. “The history of the lighthouse is almost as old as human history itself,” Gales says, “and while the 300-year era of manned lighthouses in the U.S. has ended, lighthouses remain a precious symbol of our maritime heritage.” Visit to learn more.

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425-775-5423 1820 32nd Street, Everett WA 98206



Washington State Bar Association n Elder Law Section n Real Property, Probate and Trust Section

Snohomish County Bar Association Snohomish County Estate Planning Council

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Creative ways to take raised beds, planter gardening to new heights (BPT) – Generations of spacechallenged gardeners have relied on raised beds and planting boxes to grow a harvest of vegetables, fruits and herbs – even in the tightest spaces. Vertical gardening gave us a whole new way to garden in tight spots, by encouraging plants to grow up, rather than spread out. Now, by marrying the two techniques, you can create a visually stunning, artistic display of gardening prowess that will keep your table full of fresh produce and flowers. Building the foundation A well-built, durable planting foundation, such as a raised bed or planting box made from red cedar, is a great starting point. Decide where yours will go and start building. The Western Red Cedar Lumber Association offers free project plans to help you build the frame for a raised bed or a planting box. Whatever style of planter you build, it’s important to choose a quality construction material. Red cedar is often the choice of savvy gardeners because it’s naturally rot-resistant as well as durable and easy to work with. It needs no chemical finishes or paints to preserve or beautify it, and is harvested from sustainably managed

forests. Simple steps onward and upward With a good foundation in place, it’s time to consider all the ways you can turn your raised bed or planter into a masterpiece. Adding a simple trellis to your raised bed or planting box is an easy way to maximize your growing space. For example, you can plant shrub-type plants like peppers in a row in the front portion of the planter, then add a trellis in the back and encourage vining veggies like beans, peas and cucumbers to grow up the structure. For larger raised beds, you can build a vineyard-style pergola above the bed. A sturdy pergola can support a variety of substantial plants such as squash, but you don’t have to be limited to fruits and veggies that grow on vines. Affix small boxes or even burlap bags to allow for greater variety in your vertical garden.

the wire to hold herbs, small vegetables and even flowers. In a variation on the trellis concept, you can build a framework with multiple rows of narrow cedar troughs above your raised bed or planting box; the troughs make a great growing spot for herbs. You can also create a stepped planter by building a series of boxes in graduated sizes and then stacking them atop each other widest to narrowest. Or, for a more modern look, build a contemporary ladder-style vertical garden with box-shaped removable planters. Veteran gardeners who are also seasoned do-it-yourselfers can go all out by building a pergola. Pergolas take up far less ground space than a traditional garden and are wonderful vertical gardening pieces. Just plant your favorite vining fruit or vegetable at the base of each post and train the vines upward as they grow. One out of every three American households enjoys gardening – six million households – according to the National Gardening Association With nine

Loftier ambitions Is your raised bed nestled against a wall? Or perhaps your planting box perches on one side of your backyard deck. You can add a free-standing wall by building a cedar frame and stretching hex wire across the frame. Vines will readily climb the wire, but you can also attach terra cotta pots to

million households in urban area participating in gardening, it’s a great time to explore creative ways to bring vertical gardening and raised beds or planter boxes together. To learn more about the benefits of using cedar and find free project plans visit

EldEr law attornEy

Sarah duncan

Assisting seniors with Probate, Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives and Medicaid Planning 3128 Colby Avenue, Everett, Washington 98201


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14 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

NW garden experts share their knowledge The Snohomish County Master Gardener Foundation recently announced its 2017 Winter Speaker Series. This popular series features Northwest garden personalities who share their knowledge on a variety of gardening topics. The sessions are held on Fridays, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Topics include: January 6 – Banish Boring Yards Once and for All January 20 – Bring Back the Pollinators February 3 – Plant Lust - It’s a Treatable Condition February 17 – The Charismatic Landscape

March 10 – Cool Season Gardening March 17 – How to Successfully Prune any Shrub. March 31 – Heronswood: Past, Present and Future Arpil 7 – Pacific Feast: Where the Wild Things are Delicious Lectures are held in the Social Hall of the Mukilteo Presbyterian Church, 4515 84th St. S.W., Mukilteo. A series pass is $85; single sessions are $20 at the door. For more information, registration and payment options, visit or call the Snohomish County WSU Extention office, weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 425-357-6010.

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Seniors on the move By Cecil Scaglione The busted real-estate bubble that pulled down the nation’s entire economy also trampled on the retirement-escape tactics of the elderly. Their inability and unwillingness to sell their depreciated houses pinned them down. Those depreciated dwellings became anchors holding them back rather than ships that came in to allow them to move to regions in their dreams. The recent rebound of the housing market has spurred an informal pick-a-state lottery among oldsters overjoyed that they can now get a good price for the old homestead. This has enabled seniors in the Northeast to escape the annual cold climate and those in California to sell their high-priced real estate and join their peers in the traditional old-folks locales of Arizona and Florida. Supporting this movement are the thousands of baby boomers turning into seniors and looking to make the most of their retirement years by seeking better weather, cheaper cost-of-living, proximity to the grandkids, or all of the above. The economic bounce from the depths of the 2008 recession has revitalized many of their portfolios, enabling them to make the moves they’ve long looked at. An interesting phenomenon observed by sociologists and other data collectors is that this movement also includes folks still in the workforce. Couples whose children are grown up and gone look into downsizing and stumble onto the allure of changing jobs, lifestyle and location. Both they and the elderly look for some of the same things – walkable neighborhoods, quality health care, and easy access by family car or public transportation. Florida retains its top spot as the favored state among retirees, logging more than 61,000 such arrivals between 2010 and 2013,

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Basic Food Program stretches food $$$s Are you struggling to make your food budget last through the month? You might qualify for Basic Food (food stamps) if your monthly gross income is at or below $1,980 (one person); $2,670 (two people). Each additional person, add $693. Benefits range from $15 to $194 per month. Basic Food benefits can be used to buy food items at participating grocery stores and to pay for Meals on Wheels and Senior Dining meals served at local senior centers. For information or help completing an application call Senior Nutrition at 425-347-1229 or send an e-mail to and a Senior Nutrition representative will contact you.

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according to the Brookings Institution. It is followed by Arizona, South Carolina, Texas, and North Carolina. While Phoenix, Tampa and Orlando rank high on the list of landing spots for these migrants, Knoxville, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; Austin and Nashville are among those gaining in popularity. Some of the areas attracting millennials also see a bulge in senior move-ins, such as Raleigh, N.C., and Denver, according to Brookings. This pushes an alert button. Cities with lower prices can zoom into the high-price market quickly, as has happened in Denver. Another caveat for those considering moving across state lines: check with Medicare and your health-care-insurance carrier to determine if your coverage will be in effect at your destination. There’s also the possibility that, after you move to be close to the kids, they move away for a new job or because of a company transfer and you’re back to being some distance from your family. – Mature Life Features©

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Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Thank you… Community Sponsors

Senior Services of Snohomish County serves more than 23,000 seniors and people with disabilities each year. Our community sponsors play an important role in helping us provide nutrition, transportation, home repair, wellness and access to aging and disability resources.

Together in 2016, we will…     

Help people with food and friendship. Help people get where they need to go. Help people live safely in their homes. Help people take better care of themselves. Help people find the right service at the right time.

Senior Service proudly acknowledges the following sponsors for their support and commitment to seniors and people with disabilities in Snohomish County.






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16 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus


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Thyroid disorders often missed in seniors Dear …

Savvy Senior By Jim Miller


Can you write a column on the overlooked problem of thyroid disease? After struggling with chronic fatigue, joint pain and memory problems, I was finally diagnosed hypothyroidism. Now, at age 70, I’m on thyroid medication and am doing great. Five years of feeling lousy. I wish I’d have known. Frustrated Patient

Dear Frustrated, I’m glad to hear that you’re finally feeling better. Unfortunately, thyroid problems are quite common in older adults but can be tricky to detect because the symptoms often resemble other age related health problems. In fact, as many as 30 million Americans

have some form of thyroid disorder, but more than half of them aren’t aware of it. Here’s a basic overview: The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck that has a huge job. It produces hormones (called T3 and T4) that help regulate the rate of many of your body’s activities, from how quickly you burn calories to how fast your heart beats. It also influences the function of the brain, liver, kidneys and skin. If the gland is underactive and doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, it causes body systems to slow down. If it’s overactive, and churns out too much thyroid, it has the opposite effect, speeding up the body’s processes. The symptoms for an underactive thyroid (also known as hypothyroidism) – the most common thyroid disorder in older adults – will vary but may include fatigue, unexplained weight gain,

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increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, joint pain, muscle stiffness, dry skin and depression. Some patients may even develop an enlarged thyroid (goiter) at the base of the neck. However, in older adults, it can cause other symptoms like memory impairment, loss of appetite, weight loss, falls or even incontinence. And the symptoms of an overactive thyroid (or hyperthyroidism), which is more common in people under age 50, may include a rapid heart rate, anxiety, insomnia, increased appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, excessive perspiration, as well as an enlarged thyroid gland. Too much thyroid can also cause atrial fibrillation, affect blood pressure and decrease bone density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis. Those with the greatest risk of developing thyroid disorders are women who have a family history of the disease. Other factors that can trigger thyroid problems include: autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s or Graves disease; thyroid surgery; radiation treatments to the neck or upper chest; and certain medications including interferon alpha and interleukin-2 cancer medications, amiodarone heart medication and lithium for bipolar disorder.

Get Tested

If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, or if you’ve had previous thyroid problems or notice a lump in the base of your neck, ask your doctor to check your thyroid levels. The TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) blood test is used to diagnosis thyroid disorders. Thyroid disease is easily treated once you’ve been diagnosed. Standard treatment for hypothyroidism involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levothroid, Synthroid and others), which is an oral medication that restores adequate hormone levels. And treatments for hyperthyroidism may include an anti-thyroid medication such as methimazole (Tapazole), which blocks the production of thyroid hormones. Another option is radioactive iodine, which is taken orally and destroys the overactive thyroid cells and causes the gland to shrink. But this can leave the thyroid unable to produce any hormone and it’s likely that you’ll eventually become hypothyroid and need to start taking thyroid medication. For more information on thyroid disorders, visit the American Thyroid Association at Thyroid. org. Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Identity theft affects your health The first thing that comes to mind when the topic of ID theft arises is to protect one’s Social Security number and credit-card and bank accounts from thieves. But your financial health can also be destroyed if these vultures get any of your health and medical information, such as medical

insurance numbers, healthcare facility information and medical history. Medical ID theft is a rapidlygrowing with some 2.5 million cases reported last year. Be wary if someone offers you “free” health services or products, but requires you to provide your

Being executor can be quite a load By Cecil Scaglione A recent mailing proclaiming the need for making a will brought to mind the benefits of putting together an estate plan. It also called attention to the need for an executor to make certain your wishes – not those of the courts, debtors or disgruntled relatives – are carried out. Naming, or being named, an executor is no trivial matter. Most attorneys and estate planners advise against naming kin as an executor. They suggest naming an outsider, preferably a lawyer or legal firm. Many folks prefer to “keep things in the family” rather than pay for legal services deemed unnecessary once a will is made or an estate plan is in place. You may feel it’s an honor if a friend or relative asks you to be his or her executor. But the request comes with a heavy burden. You will have total control and full responsibility for disbursing all of the deceased’s assets in the manner he or she has outlined. If you don’t feel up to the task, say so and gracefully bow out. If you feel the job will be lengthy and complicated, you might ask for a stipend to cover your time and talent. If you decide to become an executor, your overriding duty is to initiate and maintain lines of communication and contact with all the beneficiaries. Have the person who requested your service introduce you to his or her beneficiaries and inform them of your role. In many cases, you may find it necessary to assume or oversee duties normally the responsibil-

ity of surviving next of kin, such as notifying Social Security of the person’s death and seeing that all bills are paid. There’s a minefield of errors to avoid once you’ve assumed the mantle of executor. High on the list of safeguards is to notify every heir that he or she is on the list of beneficiaries and that the distribution process is in the works but may take some time because none of the assets can be distributed until all debts and obligations facing the estate have been satisfied. You also should secure all property immediately after the person’s death so family, wellmeaning or not, cannot drop by to pick up whatever they feel their father, mother, sibling or whomever would want them to have. If there’s an asset in the estate you think you might like to acquire, what may seem a simple transaction can turn into a legal nightmare. As executor, you’re legally bound to obtain the best possible price for anything sold from the estate. If, for example, you purchase a dining-room set at what you feel is a fair price, you leave yourself open to a lawsuit from any heir who might think you’re taking advantage. In a lot of cases, the executor has to look to legal help to maneuver his or her way through an estate settlement. Be prepared to decline a request to be an executor without feeling guilty if you foresee family squabbles and bickering erupting, the trust or estate is complicated and convoluted, or there is any litigation pending or anticipated. – Mature Life Features©

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scription bottles before you throw them out. Before you provide sensitive personal information to a website that asks for your Social Security number, insurance account numbers, or details about your health, find out why it’s needed, how it will be kept safe, whether it will be shared, and with whom. Read the Privacy Policy on the website. If you decide to share your information online, look for a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a URL that begins “https:” the “s” is for secure.

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CONNECT WITH OTHERS STAY ACTIVE ENJOY LIFE The YMCA of Snohomish County offers a variety of programs and activities specifically for older adults. From aerobics to yoga, water exercise or special trips, you are sure to find many enjoyable opportunities to stay healthy and connect with others. There’s a Y near you:

Yvonne Arntson Senior Real Estate Specialist

Official Designation

health plan ID number. The thief may pretend to work for an insurance company, doctors’ offices, or pharmacy to try to trick you into revealing sensitive information. Don’t share medical or insurance information by phone or email unless you initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with. Keep paper and electronic copies of your medical and health insurance records in a safe place. Shred outdated insurance forms, prescription and physician statements, and the labels from pre-

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18 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

One of 70 contestants takes a turn on the ski jump at Snofair 1952

Remembering the fun times at Everett‘s Forest Park Perspective on the Past By Jack O’Donnell I recall visiting Everett’s Forest Park in the late 1970s with my young children and thinking it was still a wonderful place. During my childhood a quarter century earlier, it was a magical place to visit. Then the main attraction was the zoo. When our family drove into the park, the prelude to the zoo visit was the bear cage.

The main attractions for me were the monkey house, the big cats and, most of all, Rosemary the elephant. In addition, there was the playground with its wading pool, the Forest Park Inn which was a small store, and such attractions as Snofair. When I was old enough to go there on my own with a friend, we would go down to Pigeon Creek to build dams and divert the stream. Second only to the city’s Clark Park in age, Forest Park dates to 1894 when two five-acre tracts in the far southwest part of the city were purchased for under $10,000. Named Forest Park in

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1913, it tripled in area in 1916. In the early days, it was used primarily for hunting, fishing and picnicking. In 1914, three deer, two coyotes and two pelicans were given to the city; they became the nucleus of the Forest Park zoo. The bear cage was erected in 1919. Over the years the zoo grew when the park was under the management of Oden Hall, his brother Walter, and his son John. All three men had stints as park superintendent. Animals came to the park from West Coast zoos, traveling circuses, and other sources. The Halls raised food on site for the non-carnivores and relied on dead livestock and road kill for meat-eaters. The zoo really took off in the 1920s and would eventually house lions, bison, elk, zebras, bears, goats, raccoons, kangaroos, a skunk and more. As the zoo grew, so did the playground. The wading pool, a project sponsored by the Lions Club, was dedicated with a ceremony

to the city’s children on June 8, 1932. At 75 by 45 feet it was proclaimed one of the largest and best constructed in the Northwest. Its centerpiece was a statue of two larger-than-life babies designed by Everett artist Frances Hedges. During the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration was busy with specimen and native planting, clearing pastures for zoo animals, terracing hillsides and building an extensive trail system. Certainly, their major achievement in the park was the building of Floral Hall which was completed in 1940. Constructed in the National Parks Rustic Style of unhewn, peeled cedar timbers from the Three Lakes area, the one-story hall had a 12-foot veranda on the north and west sides. A 1963 remodel enclosed the west side and added a kitchen. A large brick fireplace executed in local river rock was built along the east wall, while a raised stage spanned the south end. The rest of the hall was covered with maple flooring. Wagon wheels were used for the overhead light fixtures. Just west of Floral Hall was the Monkey House. It housed monkeys as well as other animals. Pens on the sides of the building allowed animals to be inside or outside. In my memory this was an exhibit parents let their children visit unchaperoned. The stench was terrible; and as I got older, I tried to hold my breath when inside. The other exhibits were a little to the north and scattered along a roadway down a steep hill. At the bottom was the main attraction – Rosemary. On June 13, 1951, she became the zoo’s reigning queen; and it was expected that the threeand-a-half-year-old, 3,100-pound Indian elephant would wear that crown for many years. She was one of 20 animals donated to the zoo by the Rumbaugh family and named after Rosemary, daughter of Walter and Ruth Precht. There is an amusing side story about the 1,637-mile trip caravan from Alva, Oklahoma and a fiasco as they came into Pendleton, Oregon. The truck carrying horses CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

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Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017


rammed into the rear of another, so some animals were stranded there. To make matters worse, three monkeys escaped necessitating a “Pendleton Roundup” of sorts. As for Rosemary, she quickly became the zoo’s favorite. Sadly, her reign was short; she died on October 8, 1955, a little over four years after her arrival. On January 19, 1952, the first two-day Snofair got underway. A scaffold was built over the wading pool atop the park’s main hill. The framework provided the impetus to send skiers down to the bowl below. A crowd of 7,000 townspeople marveled as 70 contestants ranging from 14 to 50 skied down the jump. A second Snofair was held the following year. Again a huge crowd returned for the spectacle. Promoters hoped for more than a light dusting of snow both years, but settled for snow manufactured by American Ice Company. Snofair was discontinued after that. By the mid-1950s the playground needed upgrading. It was getting expensive to operate the zoo. The odorous Monkey House was substandard. Animal enclosures needed modernization, and the road down the hill had deteriorated. The zoo continued to be well attended, but three bond elections to update the facilities were defeated. It was phased out in the early 1960s and most of the zoo was razed. The bears lasted longer, but there was an ongoing problem with vandalism. In one instance, two bears were shot and killed. In

In the land down under

another, cages were opened and three bears made their way onto Mukilteo Blvd. Finally, in 1976 a decision was made to give up the three bears. Northwest zoos were not interested, but the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim agreed to take them. The cage was removed not long after. That left only the peacocks that wandered around the park and adjacent neighborhoods, but they too are gone today. Forest Park is still a nice place to visit. Grand old Floral Hall was renovated in 1989 and continues to serve the community with reunions, dances, exhibitions and floral shows. On the site of the Monkey House a million-dollar swimming pool was opened in 1976. Its convertible fabric roof was replaced with a permanent roof in 1984. A new concession building, built by the Everett Junior College carpentry crew, opened in 1964 replacing the Forest Park Inn. (The old building still stands serving as a meeting hall.) In the tradition of the zoo, a petting zoo is now in the area where Rosemary once roamed. The wading pool was refitted with spray features and then rebuilt. It is one of the most popular features in the rebuilt playground. The Hedges sculpture, having spent years in front of the old museum building at Legion Park, is now back home in the playground area. Memories are being made for children just as they were for me 65 years ago.

on the train to Ballarat. Everyone, that is, except the one who has disappeared from the moving train. The perfectly unflappable flapper private detective is on the case. Series. Also a PBS series.

The BookNook Settle in and Enjoy

By Bonnie Gerken Oh, to be in Australia at this time of year – sunny and warm! Parrots flying free in parks; kangaroo warning traffic signs; friendly g’days; miles and miles of flat land, jungles, beaches, and coral reefs. What a country to visit. If you don’t want a 14-hour airplane ride, here are some alternatives to experience the country. You may remember some old favorites from Australia, like The Thorn Birds (set on an outback sheep station, a family saga centered on the daughter of the family and a priest) by Colleen McCullough. Perhaps you’ve read A Town Like Alice (Jean and fellow WWII prisoner-of-war survivor, Joe, try to bring prosperity to a small outback town) or On the Beach (after a nuclear world war, the residents of an Australian town wait for the radiation to reach them), both by Nevil Shute. For something more current, Truly Madly Guilty (a suspenseful tale of ordinary life) by bestselling author Liane Moriarty is another option. Here are a couple of mysteries, a couple of romances, and one unique adventure story all set in Australia.

Sources: The History of Everett Parks: A Century of Service and Vision by Allan May and Dale Preboski, The Everett Daily Herald, and David Dilgard.

Tumbledown Manor by Helen Brown

After 23 years of marriage, newly divorced Lisa returns to her native Australia and purchases her family’s abandoned ancestral home. With the help of family and new friends, she rebuilds the home and her life. An homage to bravery, laughter, and romance after fifty.

Silver Bay by JoJo Moyes

Kathleen welcomes her traumatized niece and family into her small hotel and whale watching business. Told in alternating chapters by the different town residents and visitors to the hotel, the story unfolds to reveal villains and heroes. An homage to bravery, laughter, and romance before and after seventy.

Albert of Adelaide

by Howard L. Anderson

Albert, our unlikely hero, is a platypus who escapes from the Adelaide Zoo in order to find Old Australia, where the animals live free. Albert learns much about himself during his adventures in the “wild west” of the Outback. For readers who enjoyed Wind in the Willows, Animal Farm, and Watership Down.

Fallout by Garry Disher

Hard-boiled drama about thieves, robbers and killers. Wyatt and his nephew Raymond reunite for an art heist, but carefully laid plans can often go astray. Series. Reader alert: language


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20 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Liquid nutrition supplements for older adults Meal Times All the Nutrition News You can Use

Leah Hammon

Senior Services of Snohomish County

Proper nutrition is critical to help older adults maintain their health, quality of life and independence. Unfortunately, the senior population is at risk for malnutrition for numerous reasons. Older adults experience physiological, social and economic changes as they age, which can affect the body’s ability to utilize nutrients and also limit nutritional intake. Additionally, illness, injury and chronic medical conditions can increase the body’s demand for specific nutrients. An individual with a wound or ulcer has an increased need for protein, zinc and vitamins A and C to promote healing. The special nutritional considerations of the older population make oral nutrition supplements (ONS) an appealing choice for many. However, not everyone is appropriate for supplementation. Nutrition experts agree that Leah Hammon is a registered dietitian with Senior Services Nutrition Program. For information about Senior Nutrition, call 425-347-1229 or 800-824-2183.

consuming whole foods first is the preferable way to obtain nutrients. Supplementation is only appropriate when adequate nutrition cannot be achieved through diet alone. Knowing about ONS can help you make informed decisions about when supplementation may be indicated for you or a love one. What Are They? You may already be familiar with some of the more popular oral nutrition supplements such as Ensure, Boost and Glucerna. These supplements are marketed as complete and balanced sources of nutrition with various health benefits, and they are typically used in addition to a normal diet. They are not intended to be meal replacements. ONS are available for commercial purchase and also utilized in the medical field. These supplements are available in many styles. The most popular varieties are the 8 oz. liquid beverages that come in an assortment of flavors including chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Most ONS provide approximately 300 calories, 12 grams of protein and a large range of vitamins and minerals. Contrary to what some believe, they are not intended for weight loss. In fact they are frequently used to address rapid, unintentional weight loss. Additionally, many of these

DECEMBER MENU Thurs: Taco salad w/beef, cheese & rancho beans on chips w/salsa & sour Thurs: Tossed green salad, french dip cream, tropical mixed fruit, fruit bar on hoagie roll w/au jus, sweet pota- cookie. toes fries, fresh fruit. Fri: Coleslaw, salisbury steak w/graFri: Tossed green salad, baked chick- vy, baked potato, fresh greens, fruit. en thigh, scalloped potatoes, green December - 19 – 23 beans, peaches.

supplements address specific condition-related needs such as high protein, high fiber, carbohydratecontrolled and pre-thickened for individuals with swallowing difficulty. Potential Benefits: Oral nutrition supplements can benefit older adults when they cannot meet their nutritional needs through diet alone. They supply calories, protein and other nutrients in high concentrations, which is beneficial for individuals struggling with a lack of appetite, inability to prepare foods, poor access to food or chewing and swallowing issues. Clinically, oral nutrition supplements can improve weight and have functional benefits, such as increased grip strength. Other benefits of ONS include a reduction in complications such as pressure ulcers, poor wound healing and infection, and a reduction in mortality and hospital admissions and readmissions. Considerations: Beverages like Boost and Ensure can be convenient and easy, but they can also become a crutch by discouraging consumers from eating whole foods, which can negatively affect nutritional status. There is a tremendous variety of nutrition products on the market, and their use should be individualized. For example, Boost and Ensure are typically not appropriate for individuals with diabetes due to their high carbohydrate content.

Vanilla & Pumpkin Pie Shake (Makes 2 servings)

Blend together: 12 oz. water 1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder 3/4 cup of pure pureed pumpkin 1 tbsp. of walnuts 1 tbsp. of ground flax 1/3 cup of uncooked oats Cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste Ice as needed Serving Size: 1/2 mixture: 218 calories, 20 g protein, 13 g fat, 20 g carbs, 6 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)

Recipe Adapted from Men’s Health Magazine

Both products contain > 44 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz. serving. The second ingredient in each product is corn syrup solids and sugar respectively. No doubt the use of either of these products for a person with diabetes would have a significant, negative impact on blood sugar control. In this way supplements can be harmful to individuals with certain diseases. Supplements should be carefully selected based on a person’s individual needs. Recognize also that oral nutrition supplements CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

Meal site menu – what you need to know Meal includes 1% milk, roll or bread and margarine. Fresh produce is subject to availability. Substitutions may be made without notice. Suggested meal donation is $3 ($6 for non-eligible person). For information, call Senior Nutrition, 425-347-1229 or 800-824-2183.

December 1 – 2

December 5 – 9

Mon: Cucumber salad, split pea soup, grilled cheese sandwich, peaches. Tues: Pea & cheese salad, sloppy joe on whole wheat bun, roasted cauliflower, fresh fruit. Weds: Coleslaw, fish & chips w/tartar sauce & ketchup, corn muffin, fresh fruit. Thurs: Orange juice, french toast casserole, turkey sausage, fruit cup. Fri: Clam chowder, chicken caesar salad, fresh fruit.

Mon: Pickled beet salad, vegetable pasta primavera w/parmesan cheese, garlic bread, fresh fruit. Tues: Tossed green salad, meatloaf w/ gravy, baked potato, green peas, fruit crisp. Weds: Tossed green salad, chicken corn chowder, egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, apricots. Thurs: Coleslaw, salmon burger on whole wheat bun w/lettuce, baked beans, fresh fruit. December 26 – 30 Fri: Spinach salad, hearty beef stew, Mon: Closed for Holiday. cornbread, fresh fruit. Tues: Marinated vegetable salad, hot seafood sandwich, pineapple, butterDecember 12 – 16 scotch pudding. Mon: Tossed green salad, cheese piz- Weds: Tossed green salad, hot roast za w/veggies, fruit cocktail, tapioca beef sandwich w/gravy, mashed popudding. tato, vegetable, mandarin oranges. Tues: Marinated vegetable salad, Thurs: Broccoli salad, macaroni & baked fish almondine, rice pilaf, broc- cheese, green beans, fruited gelatin. coli, applesauce. Fri: Tossed green salad, beef macaWeds: Turkey pot roast, mashed po- roni tomato casserole, dilled carrots, tato w/gravy, peas & carrots, apricots. fresh fruit.

Holiday Menu: Tossed salad w/dressing, baked ham w/pineapple sauce,

sweet potatoes, vegetable medley, dinner roll, holiday dessert. Please check with your site for the date the meal will be served.

JANUARY MENU January 2 – 6

Weds: Tossed green salad, chicken corn chowder, egg salad sandwich on whole wheat bread, apricots. Thurs: Coleslaw, salmon burger on whole wheat bun w/lettuce, baked beans, fresh fruit. Fri: Spinach salad, hearty beef stew, cornbread, fresh fruit.

Mon: Closed for New Year’s holiday. Tues: Tossed green salad, smothered turkey with mushroom gravy over rice, vegetable, bar cookie. Weds: Tossed green salad, vegetable lasagna, garlic bread stick, pears. Thurs: Tossed green salad, chilitopped baked potato w/cheese & sour January 23 – 27 cream, spinach, applesauce. Fri: Tossed green salad, stuffed green Mon: Tossed green salad, cheese pizza w/veggies, fruit cocktail, tapioca peppers, rice, peas, fresh fruit. pudding. Tues: Marinated vegetable salad, January 9 – 13 baked fish almondine, rice pilaf, brocMon: Fiesta salad, garden burger on coli, applesauce. whole wheat bun w/lettuce & tomato, Weds: Turkey pot roast, mashed pochips, fresh fruit. tato w/gravy, peas & carrots, apricots. Tues: Cucumber salad, lentil soup w/ Thurs: Taco salad w/beef, cheese & rustic bread, mandarin oranges, cookie. rancho beans on chips w/salsa & sour Weds: Broccoli salad, lemon pepper cream, tropical mixed fruit, fruit bar pollock, baked potato w/sour cream, cookie. spinach, pineapple. Fri: Coleslaw, salisbury steak w/graThurs: Tossed green salad, french dip vy, baked potato, fresh greens, fresh on hoagie roll w/au jus, sweet potato fruit. fries, fresh fruit. Fri: Tossed green salad, baked chick- January 30 – 31 en thigh, scalloped potatoes, green Mon: Cucumber salad, split pea soup, beans, peaches. grilled cheese sandwich, peaches. January 16 – 20 Tues: Pea & cheese salad, sloppy Joe on whole wheat bun, roasted cauliMon: Closed for ML King Holiday. flower, fresh fruit. Tues: Tossed green salad, meatloaf w/ gravy, baked potato, peas, fruit crisp.

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017



are highly concentrated. For many individuals they can cause bloating, gastric upset and diarrhea which can impair nutrient absorption and increase the risk of dehydration. Use: Oral nutrition supplements are only necessary under certain circumstances. Most often they are used temporarily to address an acute, increased nutritional need because of a medical condition or illness. Supplementation should be discontinued once adequate food intake can be established and the individual is stable. Whenever there is a choice between eating real food and using nutrition supplements, it is always best to choose real food. These reasons may indicate a need for supplementation: Rapid, unintentional weight loss Disease-related malnutrition Pre-operatively, post-operatively Chewing and swallowing difficulties Malabsorption Functional decline that inhibits one’s ability to self-fed, prepare foods, etc. Even if these conditions are present, it is wise to seek the consult of a registered dietitian to identify an appropriate, individualized intervention. Alternatives: Oral nutrition supplements can be costly. However there are alternative options for increasing nutrient intake. Several types of protein powders (soy, whey, casein) are available commercially and can be added to regular foods such as soups, beverages and yogurts to increase protein consumption. Protein powders can also be utilized in homemade shakes and smoothies to create nutritious beverages. Powdered milk can be

Basic Food Program stretches food $$$s Are you struggling to make your food budget last through the month? You might qualify for Basic Food (food stamps) if your monthly gross income is at or below $1,980 (one person); $2,670 (two people). Each additional person, add $693. Benefits range from $15 to $194 per month. Basic Food benefits can be used to buy food items at participating grocery stores and to pay for Meals on Wheels and Senior Dining meals served at local senior centers. For information or help completing an application call Senior Nutrition at 425-347-1229 or send an e-mail to and a Senior Nutrition representative will contact you. Basic Food is available to all regardless of race, color, sex, age, handicap, religion or political belief.


Warm your heart this winter … volunteer! Volunteer Connections By John McAlpine

RSVP Volunteer Recruiter

Sponsored by Catholic Community Services, RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for persons 55+ and the only agency where the collective contribution of senior volunteers is recorded. RSVP exists to help adults 55+ find fulfillment in volunteer work. We match your lifetime of skills and experience to the organization of your choice. Volunteer opportunities exist all over Snohomish County. No matter where you live I can match you with a job. an inexpensive protein supplement. Again, you should discuss your specific protein and energy needs with a nutrition professional or your primary care provider. For individuals with increased calorie needs, additional calories can be easily incorporated into the diet depending on the specific needs of the individual. The pumpkin shake recipe (page 20) is an example of a homemade nutrition shake that could serve as a replacement for a commercial supplement.

MLK Day of Service Coaches – On Monday, January 16, high school and middle school students will participate in a day of service to their community. They do this to honor the memory of Dr. King. We are looking for adults to be on site to serve as mentors or chaperones. Students will get themselves to the projects. Your job is to give them guidance and direction where needed and make sure they stay safe. There is a short training for this job the week prior. The commitment takes about four hours (think 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). We can’t send the students to a project without an adult present. Will you help? Academic Mentors – School is in full swing and now is when mentors and coaches are needed. We work with Discovery Elementary in south Everett, the Interfaith Family Homeless Shelter and the Boys and Girls Clubs. All of them need your help for just a few hours a week. You don’t have to discipline the students, just be a helping hand. A teaching background is not needed. Income Tax Preparers – It’s not too late to get involved with the United Way or AARP programs for filing tax returns. You receive training, are shielded from liability and can choose from

Morgan Cottage

multiple locations. Not interested in helping with filing? There are other jobs to be done. Contact me today to put your name on the list. Volunteer Chore – There are people living in your neighborhood, maybe on your street, who can no longer perform routine household tasks effectively. They can use your help with vacuuming, doing the dishes and/ or laundry, washing windows, cleaning the kitchen, yard care and so on. If you can spare a few hours every week or two to help, it would go a long way toward ensuring they remain in their home. Food Banks – I will always include a food bank ask in this column. No matter where you live, a food bank near you needs help. The need to eat never goes away. Some food banks use drivers to go out into the community and pick up food. Some provide a vehicle; some ask you to use yours. You can get involved in Arlington, Everett (2 locations), Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville (2 locations), Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, Snohomish and Stanwood/Camano. If you have questions about RSVP or other volunteer opportunities, call John McAlpine at 425-374-6374 or send an e-mail to

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22 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Dancing in the street By Saralee Perel Thirteen years ago, right before surgery for a spinal cord injury, I was told there was a good chance I’d never walk again. Last week, I danced. My husband, Bob, and I were at a fall festival in the seaside village of Hyannis, Massachusetts, on

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Cape Cod. The street was closed to traffic. The atmosphere was glorious with live music, food vendors, jugglers, children with their faces painted, lining the whole street. I noticed a group of entertainers dancing with festival goers to loud, wonderful Motown music. As usual, I was standing on the side, wishing but knowing I couldn’t join in the fun. Then my inner voice said, “Are you sure you can’t dance?” “I’m sure,” I thought to myself. I can’t walk without assistance. I have no balance and use a cane. When my neurologists told me about my dire prognosis, I believed every word was gospel. “What if they’re wrong?” a psychologist said to me. But nobody’s encouragement could change my mind. So, when it came to improvement, I never even tried. A young man in the dance company caught my eye. I would have loved to dance in the street with him. But my inner voice simply said, “If only.” I quietly decided that without dancing, Bob and I would still have a blast. And so, we did. We laughed as much as the children were laughing. We sampled Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and pizza topped with chocolate. We took a ride in a cart on the back of a bicycle, waving to people who were

smiling and laughing with us as we passed them by. All the while, my inner voice kept asking, “Are you sure you can’t dance?” As we headed back to our car, we stopped to watch the dancers again. The self-to-self dialogue continued. “If you don’t dance, you’ll go home wishing you had tried.” “But I’m too shy.” “You’re missing a chance to change your life for the better.” “But what if I look ridiculous?” “It doesn’t matter. Do this for yourself. Do this for your future when you’ll be more likely to say ‘yes’ instead of always saying ‘no.’ Do this so you’ll know it’s life altering to take chances in spite of being scared. How will you feel if you pass this once-in-a-lifetime chance by?” I answered myself, “You’ll regret it.” I whispered to Bob, “I want to

dance, but I’m too frightened.” He gently touched my face and said, “Go ahead. You can do it.” And so, with my heart pounding, I hobbled over to the fellow who had caught my eye earlier, and said, “Will you dance with me?” He said, “I’d love to!” He held me steady, with his strong arms keeping me from falling. I felt self-conscious, awkward, and thought, “This isn’t working,” when my precious, brave soul declared, “Close your eyes. Get into the music. Just be. It will be grand!” And it was. My partner, JT, and I danced to Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run.” Throngs of people clapped and cheered us on. While we danced, JT told me, “It’s all about positivity!” As the song ended, we embraced with gusto. Exhausted, I fell into his arms and gave him a big kiss, smudging his cheek with my lipstick. “You are awesome!” he said, “you made my day.” “JT, you’ve helped me overcome a challenge I never thought possible. Thank you from my very heart.” If, 13 years ago, I knew what I know today, I never would have believed it. I can dance! There is always hope. Award-winning syndicated columnist, Saralee Perel, can be reached via her website:

Building Community Senior Services is grateful for the support it receives from Foundations, Corporations, and our Community Partners. With the support of these organizations we are creating a community where seniors and people with disabilities are valued and honored – where their physical, emotional and social needs are met – and where their past and future contributions are recognized and celebrated.

Memory Café A gathering place for folks with dementia, their loved ones and caregivers. Relax and enjoy friendship, food and MUSIC in an accepting and nonjudgmental environment. Great company, food and fun!

Musical Benefits:

Supervised by board-certified music therapists.

Meets the 2nd Friday of each month from 12:30-2:00 pm at the Northwest Music Hall (located in the Everett Mall).

Space is available on a firstcome, first-served basis. RSVP to

Engage socially

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Evoke memories

Adjust behavior

Suggested Donation $10.   425.258.1605 

Engage. Play. Laugh. Heal.

Community Foundation of Snohomish County CVS Pharmacy EverTrust Foundation Fred & Gretel Biel Charitable Trust Hazel Miller Foundation Microsoft Not Yet Foundation Nysether Foundation Safeco Insurance Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians Tulalip Tribes United Way of Snohomish County US Bank Verdant Health Commission WalMart Wells Fargo Wockner Foundation a nonprofit organization

Senior Focus  December, 2016 / January 2017

Desktop replacements, clouds & snapchat Tech Talk Making peace with tech devices

By Bob DeLaurentis


My Windows 7 PC is showing its age and needs to be replaced. But I’m not sure which direction to go. Should I stick with Windows? Switch to a Mac? I think I might like a laptop. Any recommendations?

Upgrading your PC will require considerable effort. Even the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10 comes with a significant learning curve. A new computer will be easier to use and more secure. Yet despite four decades of improvements, computers are still needlessly complex for most tasks. Too much complexity is the Achilles’ heel of all computers, including laptops, and the reason I love the iPad. Especially the iPad Pro with an external keyboard. Nearly everyone in my family has either moved away from tra-

Wander the Web Bob’s picks for fun browsing Here are my picks for some worthwhile browsing this month:

Find a new home for your tech is the site I use when it is time to say goodbye to a tech gadget. After you navigate a few screens describing the device, they will make an offer to purchase it. The offers I have reviewed are typically less than what a device is worth in a private sale on Craigslist, but Gazelle is exceptionally convenient. If the device still has a useful life, this is a much better option than the recycling bin.

ditional computers or adopted an iPad as their first computing device. The iPad is simple to use yet powerful enough to do real work. The transition will not be effortless. The iPad will be unfamiliar compared to your existing computer, but that is true of any upgrade. Apple will help you get started, and the end result will be you can do the same work with a lot less hassle. One last tip... no matter which upgrade path you choose, do not wait until your present computer breaks before replacing it. Its much easier to preserve your sanity if you can move gradually. Keep the present computer as a backup while you learn how to make the most from the new one.


Every tech article I read seems to mention a “cloud.” I see the word all the time, so often in different places that it makes no sense. Is it all just hype?

Not hype, but surely confusing. I counted over a dozen different uses of the word “cloud” on Apple’s website, describing aspects of unrelated topics like email, music, and word processing. Other tech companies are just as bad. The word “cloud” is everywhere. It need not be this way. The word “cloud” simply means a place to store data other than on

your local device. Anything with “cloud” attached could just as accurately use the word “internet” or perhaps the word “server.” The cloud is everywhere now because our devices keep getting more powerful, and they need to share information between one other. The sales pitch is that once your files are in the cloud, they are safe and accessible to your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Devices try to predict the files you need most often and will keep a local copy to speed up access. If the local files are edited, the changes are automatically copied back to the cloud. There are drawbacks, but the advantages are compelling. Once you move them to the cloud, your most valuable files are protected in data centers, backed up routinely, and (hopefully) always available. The “always available” part can be trouble, since that de-

pends on an internet connection. The confusion should eventually wane, but the cloud will be with us for years to come.


What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a message service that enables people to send video or text to one another via a smartphone app. The unique twist that Snapchat brings to the marketplace is that messages only exist for a short time, after which they are automatically deleted. The self-destructing messages invite users to be more explicit. If you have tried the app and found it confusing, you are not alone. Designed to appeal to expert smartphone users, the app’s controls are not obvious. Because Snapchat is more of a messaging platform than a social network, its value is very limited unless you have friends that already use the service. A tech enthusiast his entire life, Bob DeLairentis can be contacted at – Senior Wire© Serene Realty I

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24 December, 2016 / January 2017 Senior Focus

Family caregiver conference The Alzheimers Association will host two no-cost family caregiver conferences in Snohomish County. The conferences are designed to provide tools and encouragement for family caregivers caring for a loved one with dementia. The first conference will be held Saturday, December 3, 9 a.m.2:45 p.m., at Everett Community College, Wilderness Auditorium, 2000 Tower St. Workshops include Unmet Needs and Dementia Behaviors, The Importance of Legal/Financial Planning, and Rewarding Activities for Those

Dementia and 24-Hour Care Specialists  Bathing & Incontinence Care  Transfers & Hoyer Lift  Medication Assistance  Meal Preparation  Light Housekeeping  Transportation & Errands  1 to 24-Hour Care  Respite Care  Alzheimer & Dementia  End-of-Life Care Care

with Alzheimer’s/other Dementias. The second conference will be held Saturday, February 11, 2017 at Alderwood Community Church, 3403 Alderwood Mall Blvd., Lynnwood. Workshops include Effective Communication Strategies, Self Care for the Caregiver, and a Family Caregiver Panel Discussion with Q&A. Pre-registration is required and can be made online at or by calling Debbie at 206-3635500, ext. 8169 or email SnoFam There is no charge for family caregivers thanks to the Snohomish County Family Caregiver Support Program and Verdant Health Commission underwriting the event.

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Want a memory boost? Try a hearing test (BPT) – Intrigued by all the brain-training products to keep your mind sharp and spirits young? You may want to consider something else: A hearing test. That’s right. Mounting evidence links untreated hearing loss to impaired memory and diminished cognitive function. What that means is, if you keep brushing off that suspected hearing loss of yours, your cognition may pay. Researchers have found that when people with unaddressed hearing loss strain to hear, they tend to do more poorly on memory tests. They may figure out what is being said, but because so much effort goes into just hearing it, their ability to remember what they heard often suffers. Experts believe this has to do with what they call “cognitive load.” That is, in order to compensate for the hearing loss and make out the words, people with untreated hearing loss may draw on cognitive resources they’d normally use to remember what they’ve heard. Experts say that untreated hearing loss may even interfere with the person’s ability to accurately process and make sense of what was said or heard. In fact, research shows that people with poorer hearing have less gray matter in the auditory cortex, a region of the brain need-

ed to support speech comprehension. Other research shows a link between hearing loss and dementia. One Johns Hopkins study found that seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing. Another found that hearing loss is associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older adults. And a third revealed a link between hearing loss and accelerated brain tissue loss. Some experts believe that interventions, like professionally-fitted hearing aids, could potentially help. The bottom line is we actually “hear” with our brain, not with our ears. So if you think you may have hearing loss, do something about it. Make an appointment with a hearing health care professional, and get a hearing test. After all, research suggests that treating hearing loss may be one of the best things you can actually do to help protect your memory and cognitive function. The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) offers a free, confidential online hearing check where people can determine if they need a more comprehensive hearing test by a hearing professional. Access the BHI hearing check at Better

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