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the fabulous Baker girl
snow blower safety
sharing the harvest
60 is the new 40
learn to advance
50-plus and dating?
can hormone therapy
how to disaster proof
the life of Irene Lentz
Montana’s community gardens
keep best practices in mind this winter
cosmetic procedures on the rise
the positives of aging
Access your beneﬁts on the go
make note of these tips
decrease the risk of dementia?
Irene Lentz in 1942.
photo courtesy of Lentz relatives
The fabulous Baker girl: the life of Irene Lentz BRIAN D’AMBROSIO for Montana 55
he was the fabulous Baker girl who built “Irene” into a quality trademark. This fabled designer of magical gowns for the movies once led such a charmed career that she was minimally known by her first name: Irene. Census records validate her birthplace as Brookings, South Dakota, in 1901, though myriad publications complicated matters with faulty statements, such as this one made in October 1943: “For this woman who sets styles for two continents was born plain Irene Lentz on a ranch in Montana.” Twice Oscar-nominated for costume decoration and revered for her luxurious dresses, gowns and day skirts, Lentz undoubtedly came to Baker with her family at a young age and was no doubt part of the fourth class to receive diplomas from Baker High School. The Lentz brothers, Emil F., Irene’s father, and his brother, Edward O., are listed in the 1910 Rosebud County directory as owners of a general merchandise store. When Baker High School’s first declamatory contest was held in the opera house, Lentz is listed as a participant, and that very same month, October 1915, a newspaper clipping identified her as a pupil in the piano class of Miss Pearl Young and as part of recitals at the congregational church. Her name also appears in the Oct. 22, 1915, The Fallonite as a soloist in the Rally Day exercises and program at the M.E. Sunday school and in the April 15, 1916, edition of that same paper, Lentz is listed in the Baker High School Oratorical Contest, performing “Piano Solo” and “Betty Simkin’s Man.” A seemingly natural-born performer, she also entertained members of the Laki Club in their homes and performed vocal and instrumental numbers at suppers in the church basement and for the 10 children who graduated from the Baker grade school. The Baker Sentinel contained this frivolous, yet adorable nugget of information on July 23, 1915: “Misses Jeannette Price and Irene Lentz accompanied Mr. Price to Glendive on Tuesday and came back in a new Ford.”
Young Irene In 1917, Lentz exceled on the school debate team and even played guard on the Baker High School girls’ basketball team – “picturesque in duotone stockings,” according to one newspaper. In April 1917, Lentz was recorded in public audits as being paid and allowed $14.97 for “comparing Carter County records” and then $16.65 for similar job duties in the month of October. In November, she and a friend performed a piano duet as part of a Red Cross fundraiser, which earned $43.60. Baker High School commencement In addition to her schooling, Lentz was part of the Literary Society and debate team. According to the April 4, 1918, issue of the Fallon County Times, “Miss Irene Lentz was awarded the second prize,” in the Declamatory Contest held at Baker High School. Second prize was a handsome ring and her subject was “The Soul of a Violin.” The paper noted, “Miss Lentz was fine and it was hard for many present to tell whether she … would capture first place.” The Lentz orchestra is listed in the program as supplying the musical entertainment of the night. She was one of four students to receive a diploma at the fourth-annual Baker High School commencement. Lentz was involved in the commencement entertainment in 1919. The Baker Sentinel noted: “While the class was small, only four graduating this year, it is one the city and school may well be proud of. The war was the cause of the small class as several boys who were seniors tendered their services to Uncle Sam and joined the colors.” The large auditorium “was packed to the doors.” The reverend from the Methodist church gave the invocation, which was followed by “Miss Irene Lentz with the Salutatory and Presentation of Memorial.” A move to California Planning to be a concert pianist, Lentz traveled to California and enrolled in the music class at the University of Southern California, where she also dabbled as an actress. 7 montana55.com
In September 1923, The Baker Senti- Fresh” in the press. It was reputed to One magazine touted her “as the nel noted that Lentz would be supbe the first boutique committed to West’s most sought after designer.” porting leading comedian Ben Turpin a single designer inside a major U.S. Another fashion magazine wrote in a fast two reel farce, to be known as store. that during this period Lentz’s “frugal “Ten Dollars Or Ten Days.” She began dressing some of HolMontana background proved some“Miss Irene Lentz, a former Baker lywood’s biggest female stars in 1933, thing as a handicap.” She could never girl, is making a name for herself in and, credited only as “Irene,” she look customers in the eye and tell the Mack Sennett Film Company and began working for United Artists and them the elevated price so she hired “a is under the direction of Del Lord apColumbia Pictures. stooge” to follow her around on openpearing in a new two reel comedy.” Lentz amassed a following among ing day and “answer the embarrassing In 1923, when Baker’s Lake Theatre the wealthy wives of studio executives, questions about price.” advertised “A Tailor Made Man,” the including MGM chief Louis B. Mayer’s In 1947, a group of about 25 stores, ad noted that the all-star cast featured daughters Irene and Edith. In 1942, including Bergdorf Goodman and “one of our home girls, Irene Neiman Marcus, provided Lentz, as the leading lady half the capital for Lentz with Charles Ray.” to leave MGM studio to She spent time in Los set up her own enterprise. Angeles in 1925 working With the stores’ financas a movie extra. Around ing she made clothes this time, her college roomexclusively for them to sell mate, with ambitions to be a under her “Irene” brand designer of women’s clothes, name. planned a night course at a At this time, a widLos Angeles designing school, owed Lentz remarried but was too shy to go alone screenwriter Elliot Giband persuaded Lentz into bons, brother of MGM accompanying her. After the art director Cedric Gibfirst lesson, Lentz decided to bons. According to most design clothes. accounts, their marriage Shortly after completing was unhappy and after the course she opened a dress he left she moved into an shop on the USC campus. Inapartment with her most expensive numbers were her faithful companion being specialty, with the top price Michael, her husband’s being $29.50. Irish setter. Her designs caught the Golden age designer attention of the “Hollywood Lentz’s permanent crowd,” including silent-film claim to history is that she director F. Richard Jones. costumed Hollywood’s Lentz and Jones were marGolden Age stars for the ried, and he financed her chic big screen, including a shop in Hollywood. Lentz scandalously-clad Lana was married to her husband Turner in 1946’s “The Postfor 11 months before he died man Always Rings Twice.” of tuberculosis at age 37. She also dressed them in Lentz closed the shop and real life and boasted a cecourtesy of MGM went to Europe. lebrity clientele that would While in Europe she studJudy Garland’s costume design sketch by Irene Lentz from come to include Marilyn ied her trade and became a Monroe, Ava Gardner and Easter Parade directed by Charles Walters, 1948. rare designer who could sew, Carole Lombard. Lentz pin, cut and, if she had to, turn was nominated for the out any garment single-handed. Mayer offered her a job as the head of Academy Award for Best Costume The Irene Salon MGM’s costume department, replacing Design, Black-and-White for “B.F.’s Shortly after her return to Califorthe famed Adrian (Connecticut-born Daughter” (1948) and Best Costume nia she was asked to head the ultraAdrian Adolph Greenberg), who was Design, Color for “Midnight Lace” swank, custom design shop at Bullocks leaving to start his own fashion line. (1960). On Nov. 15, 1962, a few weeks prior Wilshire. The Irene Salon opened at “I thought maybe he wanted me to to her 62nd birthday, under an assumed 9000 Sunset Blvd. and her designs in design wardrobe for some pictures,” name, Lentz checked herself into the 1930s were hailed as “California Lentz once said. 8
photo courtesy of MGM
Judy Garland, wearing a costume designed by Irene Lentz, and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade, 1948.
Hollywood’s Knickerbocker Hotel. She went to her room and downed two pints of vodka. She purportedly “slashed her wrists” and then jumped out of an 11th-floor window. She landed on a suspension awning and her body was discovered later that night. A suicide note read: “I’m sorry. This is the best way. Get someone very good to design and be happy. I love you all, Irene.” She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, with first husband, F. Richard Jones. A few weeks before her death, Lentz had allegedly confided in her friend, actress Doris Day, that “she had been in love with Gary Cooper” and he was “the only man she had ever loved.” (Cooper had succumbed to cancer the year before.) “Thinking about it now,” Day wrote in “Doris Day Her Own Story,” “I cannot honestly say whether Irene’s love was one-sided or whether she and Cooper had actually had or were having an affair.” In her 1998 book “Cooper’s Women,” author Jane Ellen Wayne wrote that Cooper and Lentz would “become involved in a relationship” that continued over the years. It’s plausible that
their affair was real, considering that Cooper had a powerful clutch over the many women he came to know and love, and even those he left behind. (Some have theorized that it’s entirely unlikely that Lentz killed herself over Cooper, because, they’ve claimed, she and Marlene Dietrich were lovers.) Although she had earned large sums of money, she was busted financially, and in ill-health. In the book “Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank,” Barbara Sinatra wrote that one night, toward the end of her life, Lentz fell asleep with an electric blanket covering her head and woke up with her face paralyzed. “I don’t know much about the private Irene,” said fashion designer Edith Head in an interview in the late 1970s. “She was not a happy woman … I know she liked hunting and guns and the great outdoors. Deduce from that what you will.” In a 1983 article in the Seattle Times, the author writes of the designer, “Irene reads like a Greek tragedy. … She had an unhappy marriage, a bad drinking problem, there were rumors of a romance with Gary Cooper that fell apart, and she never felt that the fashion press appreciated her.”
In the October 1937 Cosmopolitan, there is an article on “Irene” of Hollywood, which stated that Lentz “was born on a Fallon County homestead” and received her education in Baker. Perhaps it’s that very issue of Cosmopolitan that perfectly figures out the status and the glory and the important achievement of the former Irene Lentz, daughter of Emil Lentz, one time county clerk and also county treasurer in Baker. “Irene, at 35, is responsible for every costume in every film produced by the largest moving picture company in the world (MGM). So far as her studio is concerned, Irene has no last name. Very few people get along like that. I can think of only two who did – Topsy and Cleopatra.” MT55 Brian D’Ambrosio is the author of numerous articles and several books, including “Warrior in the Ring: A Life of Native American Boxer Marvin Camel,” and “Rasta in the Ring: A Life of Rastafarian Boxer Livingstone Bramble,” and “Warriors on the Ice: Hockey’s Toughest Talk.” He may be reached at dambrosiobrian@ hotmail.com.
photo by Amy Grisak
AMY GRISAK for Montana 55
ardens are a natural gathering place, so it’s no surprise community gardens are gaining popularity throughout Montana. From group efforts where friends share a garden to individual plots, these neighborhood growing spaces give everyone a chance to raise their own healthy food. And though the ground may be hard now, it’s never too early to think about where to garden in the spring and summer. There is nothing new about the community garden concept. Earlier versions were known as victory gardens during World War II. Community gardens experienced a resurgence within the past 20 years, as more people became conscientious of the benefits of locally-grown food. There are now gardening opportunities in every large town in Montana, as well as many of the smaller ones. Susie Watson, who manages the Electric City Conservatory community garden with River City Harvest in Great Falls with her husband, Doc, said at least half of their 12
gardeners are over 60 years old. Community gardens are ideal for those who are downsizing. At that stage in life, some may no longer need an entire bushel of tomatoes each fall. A community garden plot allows people to grow more than they can in containers while also enjoying the camaraderie of the garden. And it’s convenient for those who travel since garden neighbors often share watering and care duties. Most importantly, it’s place for all ages and skill levels. “We have some first time gardeners and we mentor them,” Watson said of the Electric City Conservatory. “The younger people look up to the seniors for advice.” She said new gardeners often ask questions or run gardening plans by more experienced gardeners to work out the basics before planting. Watson also appreciates having younger gardeners nearby since they are more than willing to lend a hand whenever needed. She said it’s helpful to have additional muscles on garden projects. And beyond fresh vegetables, Watson appreciates how tending gardens keeps her moving and allows her to spend time outdoors.
DENTURES “We go out every day,” she said. “It’s a good activity. It gets you up and gets you out.” The community garden is also an important part of the Watsons’ social life. She said they are at the garden practically every day, and often visit with other gardeners. They often share more than what is happening in the soil, like what is new in their daily lives. Time in the garden can truly cultivate meaningful friendships. “I try to do a gathering with all of the gardeners at the beginning of the season,” Watson said. It’s an opportunity to swap seeds, discuss gardening plans and catch up with fellow gardeners. They wrap up the season with a barbecue in the garden where everyone brings a garden-inspired side dish. Ultimately, it’s a place to share. Watson said besides supplying the needs of individuals and families who rent garden plots, excess produce is donated to Meals on Wheels and other local, charitable organizations further benefiting the entire community. Community gardens are where food and fellowship wrap into a practical and meaningful experience, regardless of age or experience level. MT55
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Lucille Ball’s Montana roots BRIAN D’AMBROSIO for Montana 55
ven today, “I Love Lucy” is syndicated all over the invention known as the telephone. Inspired by the pioworld and new audiences are discovering the charm neer example of Alexander Graham Bell, he persuaded of Lucy’s slapstick antics. his father to finance him in establishing the first telephone Before she was Lucy, Lucille Ball was the dreamyexchange in Busti. This was in 1891, only one year after his eyed and easily frightened parents bought the farm. child of a telephone electriPeople came from nearby cal lineman, Henry Ball, towns just to see him, as the who worked gruelingly in younger Ball operated the Montana for several years. primitive switchboard with Putting telephones through great enthusiasm. AccordMontana in those days was ing to one of Lucille Ball’s brutal, even deadly work. The biographers, “He would state, with its mountainous gladly give the time of day territory and severe winters, to any caller who came called for ironclad nerves in through the board; a priits telephone linemen. vate conversation was quite Indeed, Ball’s family epitoimpossible with Jasper mized America’s progress eavesdropping, and anyone from the agrarian age to the making a telephone call era of industry, the telegraph would only criticize Jasper and the telephone. if he was very daring, as Her great-grandparents on Jasper would cut people off her father’s side, Clinton and at any moment if he heard Cynthia Ball, were farmers the critical words.” in Fredonia, New York; in Jasper married Nellie, 1890, they moved to the comthe daughter of the wellmunity of Busti. The rural paid superintendent of the New York town had been Brooks Locomotive Works the scene of early settlein Dunkirk, New York. The ments in the region, where young couple was able to the landowners had lived build a homestead rivalin log cabins amid forests ing Jasper father’s, which of maple and fir. The Balls boasted one of the largest made their money buying apple orchards in New and selling property. In Busti York. Unfortunately, Jasper photo courtesy of Anaconda Deer-Lodge County they bought a fine, beautiwas more of an expert at fully restored farmhouse set running a switchboard than Anaconda, the brief childhood home of Lucille Ball. on a hill with a road running cleaning the flues in his below it to a lake. The Balls house, and the property were popular and successful in Busti, enjoying their rural burned to the ground in 1906. existence and raising several children “with stern but loving Jasper promptly built another farm, installing the eleccare,” according to one account. tricity and telephone wires himself, and, restless and enerOne of their sons, Jasper, who was restless and bored getic, suddenly left the company in the hands of colleagues with life on the farm, became excited by the idea of the and took off for Missoula, where he started another firm, 15 montana55.com
photo courtesy of CBS
with a correspondent company in Anaconda. He and Nellie had five children; his second son, Henry, then in his late teens, shared his father’s enthusiasm for telephone work and learned the business from the ground up by acting as an electrical lineman. Jasper, Henry and the other men had to beat their way through the teeth of blizzards, leaning hard against the sleet and pushing against the wind. Icicles suspended from their mustaches; they had to carry shovels in front of their faces to allow them to breathe. The Montana snow packed hard as marble, and at distances of mere 12 feet, the Ball team couldn’t see each other. They had to follow their course by watching the tops of telephone poles that stuck out from the snow levels. At times, linemen would be found half frozen to death. The transmission lines were conveyed over storm-blackened wilderness, following the old trapper or cowpunching routes. There was always the danger that feet would be frozen, hands burned by the electrical current or eyes blinded by snow, but Jasper’s team was extremely resourceful. They could start a fire in a hard hat with a match, a candle and shavings, and they could make a snowshoe from willows. Sometimes, when they laid the wires on the snow, the wires were frozen solid. At times, the wind would take out miles of poles no sooner than they had been planted, and washouts, snowslides and blockades would disrupt the connections for months at a time. Several men were assigned to each section of the telephone lines. They made their daily inspections in relays, or sometimes in shifts if there was a short section; they worked a 24-hour schedule, regardless of weather, because the slightest break due to the weather could mean a loss of business between the East Coast and West Coast, or between individual towns, that could cost thousands of dollars. Often, the team would have snow up to their waists as they struggled through drifts, with gales sweeping down on them from the hills, guided only by the sharp glittering of the wires overhead. A slip could mean a fatal 50-foot fall; touching an electrical wire that ran along the telephone cable could kill instantly. Jasper grew weary of the work; he returned to Busti and then to Jamestown, New York, shortly before his granddaughter Lucy was born.
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Henry kept to the job and his base in Anaconda, headquarters of the famous Anaconda Copper Company, which supplied much of the wire that the Ball Company used. Henry lived first at 300 Hickory St., and then at 120 West Park Ave.; both apartments were located on thoroughfares filled with the sound of clanking streetcars and the cries of street vendors. Over 18
his shoulder was slung a coil of wire, plus climbing spurs, steel-tipped leggings used for scaling the poles. Around his waist hung 40 pounds of pliers, nippers, wrenches and other tools. In August 1910, Henry married Desiree (DeDe) Evelyn Hunt, daughter of Frederick and Florabelle Hunt of Jamestown.
The couple had no honeymoon but left at once for Anaconda so Henry could resume work for Jasperâ€™s company. In November 1910, DeDe became pregnant. In the tradition of the time, DeDe wanted to have her baby in her hometown, and the couple returned there briefly. After Lucy was born, on Aug. 6, 1911, Henry, DeDe and their child moved back to Ana-
conda, “where they took an apartment on noisy, dusty Commercial Avenue in the downtown section” (on the southwest corner of Oak Street). At least one of Ball’s biographers went so far as to blame “ugly and commercial” Anaconda as the source of the famous entertainer’s lifelong issues with chronic nervousness and anxiety. “Lucy’s first impressions of life were of the cramped, flat, ugly little town dominated by the Anaconda Copper Company’s smoke-belching chimneys of blackened brick. The constant clanging of the streetcar was the dominant sound of her babyhood. Her mother’s tension over Henry’s dangerous work was another feature that influenced Lucy. Throughout her life, from childhood on, she was extremely tense, nervous, sensitive and vulnerable, filled with anxiety and fear.” Because Butte was the commercial center of that region, Ball for many years believed she was born there, a conviction that led many journalists to accuse her of inventing her birthplace. A number of magazines reported that she had decided that Montana was a more romantic place to be born than New York, and thus created a fantasy of a “Western childhood.” When Ball was 1 year old, the family moved to Wyandotte, Michigan, a few miles south of the industrial center of Detroit. The reason is unknown, but it is probable that the all-consuming Bell Company, snapping up one local telephone system after another, had consumed Jasper Ball’s struggling enterprises in its path, and was offering experienced linemen better wages in Michigan. Wyandotte, like Anaconda and Jamestown, recently had changed from a rural town into a grim industrial center. Her father died of typhoid fever when she was 3 years old, and she later became the victim of her stepfather’s parents, who literally would chain her to a leash in the backyard. According to one biographer, “she wrote to the Chamber of Commerce in Anaconda and Butte for informational pamphlets and then soon knew more about the towns than probably many people who actually lived there.” When Ball went to New York in the 1920s, she began telling people she was from Montana and continued to publicly state she was from Montana for many years. This unlikely candidate – the daughter of a lineman in Anaconda and elsewhere – would become one of the country’s most famous comedians and a television pioneer. On April 26, 1989, she died from a ruptured aorta following open-heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. MT55
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JUDITH GRAHAM Kaiser Health News
hat can be done about negative stereotypes that portray older adults as out-of-touch, useless, feeble, incompetent, pitiful and irrelevant? From late-night TV comedy shows, where supposedly clueless older people are the butt of jokes, to ads for anti-aging creams equating youth with beauty and wrinkles with decay, harsh and unflattering images shape assumptions about aging. Although people may hope for good health and happiness, in practice they tend to believe that growing older involves deterioration and decline, according to reports from the Reframing Aging Initiative. Dismal expectations can become self-fulfilling as people start experienc-
ing changes associated with growing older – aching knees or problems with hearing, for instance. If a person has internalized negative stereotypes, his confidence may be eroded, stress responses activated, motivation diminished (“I’m old, and it’s too late to change things”) and a sense of efficacy (“I can do that”) impaired. Health often suffers as a result, according to studies showing that older adults who hold negative stereotypes tend to walk slowly, experience memory problems and recover less fully from a fall or fracture, among other ramifications. By contrast, seniors whose view of aging is primarily positive live 7.5 years longer. Can positive images of aging be enhanced and the effects of negative stereotypes reduced? At a recent meeting of the National Academies of
Sciences’ Forum on Aging, Disability and Independence, experts embraced this goal and offered several suggestions for how it can be advanced: Become aware of implicit biases. Implicit biases are automatic, unexamined thoughts that reside below the level of consciousness. An example: the sight of an older person using a cane might trigger associations with “dependency” and “incompetence” – negative biases. Forum attendee Dr. Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer for AARP Services Inc., spoke of her experience after being struck by a car and undergoing a lengthy, painful process of rehabilitation. Limping and using a cane, she routinely found strangers treating her as if she were helpless. “I would come home feeling terrible about myself,” she said.
Decorating her cane with ribbons and flowers turned things around. “People were like ‘Oh, my God that’s so cool,’ ” said Yeh, who noted that the decorations evoked the positivity
associated with creativity instead of the negativity associated with disability. Implicit biases can be difficult to discover, insofar as they coexist with explicit thoughts that seem to contradict them. For example, implicitly, someone may feel “being old is terrible” while explicitly that person may think: “We need to do more, as a society, to value older people.” Yet this kind of conflict may go unrecognized. To identify implicit bias, pay attention to your automatic responses. If you find yourself flinching at the sight of wrinkles when you look in the bathroom mirror, for instance, acknowledge this reaction and then ask yourself, “Why is this upsetting?” Use strategies to challenge biases. Patricia Devine, a professor of psychology who studies ways to reduce racial prejudice, calls this “tuning in” to habits of mind that usually go unexamined. Resolving to change these habits isn’t enough, she said: “You need strategies.” Her research shows that five strategies are effective: Replace stereotypes. This entails becoming aware of and then altering responses informed by stereotypes. Instead of assuming a senior with a cane needs your help, for instance, you might ask, “Would you like assistance?” – a question that respects an individual’s autonomy. Embrace new images. This involves thinking about people who don’t fit the stereotype you’ve acknowledged. This could be a group of people (older athletes), a famous person (TV producer Norman Lear, now 95, who recently sold a show on aging to NBC) or someone you know (a cherished older friend). Individualize it. The more we know about people, the less we’re likely to think of them as a group characterized by stereotypes. Delve
into specifics. What unique challenges does an older person face? How does she cope day to day? Switch perspectives. This involves imagining yourself as a member of the group you’ve been stereotyping. What would it be like if strangers patronized you and called you “sweetie” or “dear,” for example?
The messages were embedded in word blocks that flashed quickly across a screen, including descriptors such as wise, creative, spry and fit. The weekly sessions were about 15 minutes long, proving that even a relatively short exposure to positive images of aging can make a difference. At the forum, Levy noted that 196 countries across the world have committed to support the World Health Organization’s fledgling campaign to end ageism – discrimination against people simply because they are old. Bolstering positive images of aging and countering the effect of negative stereotypes needs to be a central part of that endeavor, she remarked. It’s also something older adults can do, individually, by choosing to focus on what’s going well in their lives rather than what’s going wrong. Claim a seat at the table. “Nothing about us without us” is a clarion call of disability activists, who have demanded that their photo by atira /Fotolia right to participate fully in society be recognized and made possible Make contact. Interact with the by adequate accommodations such people you’ve been stereotyping. Go as ramps that allow people in wheelvisit and talk with that friend who’s chairs to enter public buildings. now living in a retirement commuSo far, however, seniors haven’t nity. similarly insisted on inclusion, makDevine’s research hasn’t looked ing it easier to overlook the ways in specifically at older adults; the which they’re marginalized. examples above come from other At the forum, Kathy Greenlee, sources. But she’s optimistic that the vice president of aging and health basic lesson she’s learned, “prejudice policy at the Center for Practical is a habit that can be broken,” apBioethics and formerly assistant secplies nonetheless. retary for aging in the U.S. DepartEmphasize the positive. Another ment of Health and Human Services, strategy – strengthening implicit called for a new wave of advocacy positive stereotypes – comes from by and for seniors, saying, “We need Becca Levy, a professor of epidemore older people talking publicly miology and psychology at Yale about themselves and their lives.” University and a leading researcher She explained: “Everybody is batin this field. tling aging by themselves, reinforcing In a 2016 study, she and several the notion that how someone ages is colleagues demonstrated that expos- that individual’s responsibility” rather ing older adults to subliminal posithan a collective responsibility. MT55 tive messages about aging several times over the course of a month Kaiser Health News is a national improved their mobility and balhealth policy news service. It is an ediance – crucial measures of physical torially independent program of the function. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Access your benefits on the go
photo by WavebreakmediaMicro/Fotolia
NICOLE TIGGEMANN Tribune News Service
martphones have been in our lives for over a decade and have changed the way we interact with each other. Social Security is at the forefront of technological advancements, making online business easier and more secure. About a third of the visitors to SocialSecurity.gov use their smart phones to learn about the programs, find answers to their questions and 22
access online services. Now you can access your personal my Social Security account on the go or from the comfort of your home. By visiting socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount, you can: Check the status of your application or appeal. Get your Social Security Statement to review estimates of your future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; Check your earnings every year to verify the amounts that we recorded are correct; and
See the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes youâ€™ve paid. There are even more things you can do with my Social Security if youâ€™re receiving benefits. You can get a letter that verifies your benefit amount, check your benefit and payment information and your earnings record, and change your address and phone number. You also can request a replacement Medicare card, confirm changes to your direct deposit information, and even get a replacement SSA-1099 for tax season. MT55
Online tools help screen for eligibility NICOLE TIGGEMANN Tribune News Service
ocial Security has a toolbox full of resources on its website, socialsecurity.gov, to help you with your financial planning. With so many resources, maybe it’s easier if we highlight one of their “best.” B.E.S.T. is the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, available at ssabest. benefits.gov. It can help you find out if you might be eligible for retirement, disability, survivors, Supplemental Security Income or Medicare benefits. Although B.E.S.T. asks you a series of questions to determine your eligibility, they are not personal in nature and the answers are not stored. On average, it takes only about 10 minutes to complete the B.E.S.T. questionnaire. First, it guides you through the questions needed to find out if you
to e crib
If you are eligible for benefits, you must file an application for benefits with Social Security because B.E.S.T. is not an application. The best way to do this is by visiting the website socialsecurity.gov. You can go back and narrow your resource responses by answering additional questions. After you have reviewed the results, you can print a copy for your records or email yourself a copy. B.E.S.T. doesn’t screen for the Extra Help program, which helps with Medicare Part D prescription drug plan costs. You can see if you qualify for that at socialsecurity.gov/medicare/ prescriptionhelp. The results couldn’t be clearer – investing just ten minutes can yield all the possible resources available to you from Social Security. Now, that’s a tool worth using. MT55
could qualify for benefits. Just to the right of each question is an information icon (a white “i” in a blue circle) that gives you tips on how to answer each question.
The “results” section appears automatically after you have completed some basic questions. B.E.S.T. lists each program for which you might qualify. By clicking on the “read more” tab, you’ll find a description of the benefits program, its requirements, and what your next steps should be.
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Jerry Morin works to clear the walk in front of his home on South Avenue as a grader works down the road behind him in January 2017.
Snow blower safety Keep best practices in mind this winter TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE Winter is here – and clearing driveways, sidewalks and parking lots is no small job. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is offering tips for safe and correct use of snow throwers, often referred to as snow blowers. Winter 2018 24
“Weather today is more unpredictable than ever, and you need to have your snow thrower serviced and ready to power up,” says OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser. “You want to have the right fuel on hand and review your owner’s manual now so you can use your equipment safely.”
Kiser says preparation is key and that home and business owners should consider the following tips: PREPARE BEFOREHAND Review your owner’s manual. Check your owner’s manual for safe handling procedures. If you lost your manual,
you can look it up online (and store a copy on your computer so you have the manual available to reference in the future). Review how to operate the controls. You should be able to shut off your equipment quickly. Check your equipment. The snow thrower should be completely powered off when you are checking it over. If you forgot to drain the fuel last winter before storing your snow thrower, drain the gas tank now. Adjust any cables. Check the auger. Put your equipment where you can get to it easily. Move your equipment to a convenient and accessible location, so you can get to it easily when you need it. Purchase your fuel. Often gas stations are closed after a storm. Be sure to use the correct fuel, as recommended by your equipment’s manufacturer. Fill up the fuel tank outside before you start the engine and while the engine is cold. Never add fuel to a running or hot engine. Store your fuel properly. Place fuel in a fuel container and label it with the date purchased and the ethanol content of the fuel. Fuel that is more than 30 days old can phase separate and cause operating problems. It’s important to use fresh fuel in your snow thrower. Make sure fuel is stored safely and out of the reach of children. Tidy the area you intend to clear with your equipment. Snow can sometimes hide objects. Doormats, hoses, balls, toys, boards, wires and other debris should be removed from the areas you intend to clear. When run over by a snow thrower, these objects may harm the machine or people. Plan to dress for winter weather. Locate your safety gear now, and place it in an accessible closet or location in your home. Plan to wear safety glasses, gloves and footwear that can handle cold and slippery surfaces. OPERATE SAFELY Never put your hands inside the auger or chute; use a clean out tool (or stick) to unclog snow or debris from
your snow thrower. Your hands should never go inside the auger or chute. Turn OFF your snow thrower if you need to clear a clog. If you need to remove debris or unclog snow, always turn off your snow thrower. Wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs or debris. Only use your snow thrower in visible conditions. Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light. Aim your snow thrower with care. Never throw snow toward people or cars. Do not allow anyone to stand in front of your snow thrower. Keep children or pets away from your snow thrower when it is operating. Use extreme caution on slopes
and hills. Use caution when changing directions on slopes. Do not attempt to clear steep slopes. Know where your cord is. If you have an electric powered snow thrower, be aware of where the power cord is at all times. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord. Keep pets and children inside. Kids and pets may love to play in the white stuff, but it’s best to keep them inside your home and under supervision while you are using your snow thrower to clear a path or drive. Do not allow them to play in the snow as it is tossed out of the snow thrower’s chute. MT55 More safety tips and information are available at opei.org.
photo by evgeniykleymenov/Fotolia
60 is the new 40 Cosmetic procedures for boomers and beyond are on the rise SARA BAUKNECHT Tribune News Service
f age is said to be a state of mind, then why not match your look on the outside to the way you feel on the inside? A rising number of boomers and beyond are trying to achieve just that, with help from cosmetic procedures– especially nonsurgical ones with little or no downtime. In the past five years, nonsurgical cosmetic procedures (think injectables such as Botox and Juvederm Ultra) have increased by 93 percent for those 65 and older, reports the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. For surgical procedures, there’s been a 58 percent spike. In just two decades, the total number of procedures for this age group is up 1,263 percent. “People are living longer and working longer. That is what I think really is driving this,” said plastic surgeon Leo McCafferty. Ample information on TV and the internet has helped fuel curiosity, too. Plus, because of selfies, people have a heightened awareness of what they look like as the years tick by – particularly around the eyes and neck. In 2016, eyelid surgery (to correct drooping)
Five natural things you can do to look more youthful
and facelifts were among the top three surgical procedures for both the 51- to 64-year-olds and the 65-plus age groups, according to the ASAPS. (The other one was liposuction.) For nonsurgical options, Botulinum Toxin injectables (including Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) and Hyaluronic Acid injectables (Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, Voluma, Perlane, Restylane and Belotero) were popular for both age groups, as well as nonsurgical skin-tightening procedures for 51- to 64-year-olds and skin-rejuvenating chemical peels for the 65-plus demographic. More research and a better understanding by doctors of how the face ages has allowed for more naturallooking results. “We used to think gravity was pulling everything down, so we pulled everyone tight. We saw all of the consequences of that – people looked pulled or really tight,” says Suzan Obagi, the president-elect for the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. What actually happens with age, she says, is the face loses bone. At the same time, fat tends to diminish around the cheeks, temples and jawline. This combination gives skin a sagging, deflated look and can make the eyes appear more hollow. The key to addressing these
Going under the knife isn’t the only way to age gracefully. Here are some steps to incorporate into your daily routine to help keep your body looking and feeling sharp. 1. Practice good posture: Slouching can cause headaches, tension and a slew of other health problems. Hold your head up, roll your shoulders back and face the golden years with a smile.
features is through a treatment plan that targets multiple areas of the face. “If you look too full in one area, you’ll look out of balance with the rest of the face,” Dr. Obagi says. “If things are done correctly, nobody should know what’s been done on a patient.” Beyond more traditional surgical and noninvasive procedures, one of the fastest-growing fields of surgery for women 50 and older is genital rejuvenation. Using lasers for vaginal tightening has aesthetic and medical impacts, Dr. Obagi says, such as aiding with urinary incontinence. No matter what procedure a person selects, though, it’s important to do your homework. “It’s important that people check credentials and make sure a doctor is board-certified and has privileges in the hospital,” even if the procedure isn’t being done in one, McCafferty said. Also, be cautious about receiving nonsurgical procedures at home parties or salons, where it can be more challenging to control the sterility of the environment and how products are stored. “The key is don’t cut corners,” Obagi said. “You have the luxury of electing whether you want to do this or not, so you must do a good job of selecting who does this for you.” MT55
2. Stay hydrated: Water helps flush toxins, supports healthy cells and helps make your skin glow. Although the recommended amount to drink per day varies per person (depending upon body size, amount of exercise, etc.), a good rule of thumb is eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day. Add some fresh fruit such as a lemon or orange slice to a glass of water for an extra jolt of vitamins and flavor.
photo by Pam Panchck/TNS
3. Pamper yourself: Look no further than your pantry for some DIY TLC. For instance, mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a couple cups of water to cleanse and tighten skin after a shower. Another option: unclog pores with a homemade oatmeal mask made with one-third cup of oatmeal steeped in warm water, two tablespoons of honey, a small egg white
and some plain yogurt. Mix and apply a thin layer to the face and neck for about 15 minutes. 4. Bend and stretch: Regular exercise – even just 20 minutes a day – can aid with weight maintenance and reduce aches and pains. Going for a walk, a bike ride or even simply stretching at home in a chair can do the trick.
5. Just breathe: Channel your inner yogi and take some deep breaths. Try inhaling and exhaling for four counts each – all through the nose. Or take air in through the nose and release with a big lion’s breath with your mouth open wide and your tongue out and an audible “ha.” It might look silly, but the stress will melt away. MT55
photo by Halfpoint/Fotolia
photo by Jacob Lund /Fotolia
ERIKA ETTIN Tribune News Service
hen I started my business, A Little Nudge, I didn’t know who to expect as my client base regarding age. Part of me thought that I would work with a lot of 30-something women, looking to have children. Another part thought I would work with people who are simply too busy to put the time and effort into online dating. Was I right? Absolutely. But the group I wasn’t counting on was the 50-plus segment of the dating market. Thirty percent of my client base, which includes both men and women, are 50 or older, and, while many aspects of dating are the same at any age (the nerves, the anticipation, the awkwardness, the excitement), some things are unique to this age demographic. Based on my observations and those of my clients, let’s take a look at the five things to keep in mind when dating after 50: 30
Keep your expectations in check. While most of us may hope that each first date will also be the last first date, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if we go into dating situations with such high expectations. The best way to go about dating is to simply take each experience for what it is – meeting a new person. Maybe you’ll learn something about your date or even yourself that might help you in life. Perhaps you’ll hear a funny story. Or you’ll meet, chat, and end your night knowing that while this person may not be “the one,” you gave it your all. Know that everyone comes as a package deal. It’s not reasonable to assume that someone will come to the table without some form of baggage. Whether that baggage is in the form of a bad divorce, a strained relationship with a child, or a sick parent, there is something that is going to be a priority in this person’s life. No matter how much you may want to be No. 1, and no matter how much your date wants to make you No. 1, there are often other fac-
tors at play. A client of mine in her 60s, who has no children and thereby no grandchildren, was reluctant to date a man who was the caretaker of his young grandson. I encouraged her to give it some time because it showed his dedication to family. While they can’t take all of the weekend trips she was dreaming of, she’s grown very fond of the grandson and respects her beau for making that role a priority. Remember that everyone gets older. Almost all of my 50-plus male clients tell me that women don’t age as well as men. And you know what my female clients tell me? Men don’t age as well as women. The moral: We all age! It’s not true that a counterpart the same age as you is necessarily in worse shape or can’t keep up, despite what you may think. In reality, everyone gets wrinkles, everyone’s metabolism slows, and everyone isn’t the 20-year-old sports star that he or she used to be. But that’s OK. Please don’t make overarching assumptions. I know plenty of “old” 30-year-olds and “young” 70-year-olds. It’s all relative. Use common sense. People often tell me that online dating is scary. Their rationale is that you don’t know who’s out there, and most of the people are likely creeps. I hate to say this, but creepy people can be anywhere. Are there more of them online than offline? I have no idea. What I do know, however, is that if you avoid online dating to try to evade the “creepers,” then you’re also closing yourself off to meeting many wonderful people as well. If this rationale holds any water, then I’d say you might as well also avoid the subway, the supermarket, or anywhere people are. Instead, take precaution when meeting someone for the first time. Meet in a public place. Tell a friend where you’re going. Yes, scary things are everywhere, but common sense will take you further than you might think. It’s also important to note that no one person is representative of a whole online dating site. So, if you have a bad experience, shake it off and move on, without blaming the site itself for the bad date.
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Focus on yourself first. While it may sound cliché, I ascribe to the conventional wisdom that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Finding a partner will not create happiness. Will it add to happiness? Sure. But first, you need to find (or re-find) that happiness and confidence that you have in yourself. Treat yourself well, heal from the last relationship, and rediscover yourself. Only then can you add someone else to your world and know that he or she complements it, not completes it. It doesn’t sound so daunting anymore, does it? It’s OK – and encouraged – to take things one step at a time, one day at a time, and one date at a time. MT55
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Can hormone therapy decrease the risk of dementia? MAYO CLINIC NEWS NETWORK
ntroducing hormone treatment for women in early stages of menopause might help decrease their risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For women, a drop in hormones during midlife may have some influence on developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Also, general brain volume gradually declines with advancing age, but the decline is faster in people who experience more cognitive decline. “So, preserving brain volume during middle age, particularly in women as they transition into menopause, may protect against dementia and delay the occurrence of Alzheimer’s symptoms,” said Dr. Kejal Kantarci, a radiologist in the Division of Neuroradiology at Mayo Clinic. She studies how the brain changes with aging and how brain diseases affect Winter 2018 32
those changes. Kantarci says imaging can provide a window into the changes, decades before someone begins to show clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia. She said, “With hormone therapy in our study, we observed that the women who took the hormone therapy had a slower rate of brain changes, whereas women who did not take hormone therapy had a faster rate of brain changes; therefore, our conclusion was that perhaps hormone therapy given in the middle ages may slow brain volume changes and perhaps help prevent dementia in the future.” Kantarci added, “Certainly more time and research are needed before we know whether hormone therapy regimens are preventing dementia in women. In the meantime, imaging techniques can be used to determine whether women using hormone therapies during the menopausal transition are receiving any brain benefits.
“Hormone therapy is currently used to alleviate menopausal symptoms and it is not used as a therapy to prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia,” said Kantarci. “However, we have received a grant to look at changes in a larger group of women in multiple academic centers. When we complete that study, we may have more definitive answers about whether hormone therapy may be important in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes.” Kantarci said, “We can’t say that aging leads to dementia, just as we would not say menopause leads to dementia. Dementia risk depends on many different factors, family history, genetic makeup, what a person is exposed to during life, how healthy they live their life. All of these factors are important in the risk of dementia. But all women go through menopause, so we can’t say that it’s necessarily a dementia-causing factor.” Kantarci added, “We have been looking at the effects on the brain for different treatments and what we’ve been finding is that the patch formulation appears to have more favorable effects on the brain, but I would like to emphasize that the data is in a very small group of women, and we are now looking at a larger group of women to confirm our findings.” Kantarci concluded by saying, “We have seen, over and over again, that physical activity, cognitive enhancement through work or through education and regulating blood pressure, cholesterol, all of these factors are important for the health of the brain. It’s not just Alzheimer’s disease. Any form of cognitive or memory changes or decline in memory and all kinds of different dementias are influenced by those healthy lifestyle factors.” MT55
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High winds blow smoke from the Lolo Peak fire east over the Missoula valley, seen from Mount Jumbo, on Aug. 17, 2017.
LIZ WESTON NerdWallet
other Nature could be excused if she wondered, “How much more prompting do you people need?” This year delivered epic wildfires, devastating hurricanes, massive floods and horrific earthquakes. Yet many people still haven’t taken a few critical steps to protect their financial lives from such disasters. 36
Consider setting aside a few hours to take care of these four essential tasks: Review (and boost) your insurance. Most renters don’t have renters insurance, but they need it since their landlord’s policy won’t cover their stuff. The vast majority of homeowners do have homeowners insurance, but often not enough — especially if their policies haven’t been updated regularly to reflect rising construction costs or improvements. Ask your insurer to rerun the numbers to ensure you have
enough coverage to rebuild your home completely. United Policyholders, an advocacy group for insurance customers, recommends adding as much “extended replacement cost” coverage as you can afford. This add-on boosts the policy’s coverage limits by 20 percent to 100 percent if costs run unexpectedly high, as often happens in disaster zones when rebuilding costs soar. Another smart addition: “building code upgrade” or “ordinance coverage” to pay the higher costs of rebuilding to current standards.
Other key points: Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover floods or earthquakes, so consider buying those policies if your home may be at risk. You want “replacement cost” coverage for your home’s contents, not “actual cash value,” which will pay only pennies on the dollar to replace your stuff. You may need extra coverage if you have certain valuables, such as jewelry, collectibles, guns or computers and other home office equipment. Policies typically limit coverage to $1,500 to $2,500 for each of these categories. Opt for generous “loss of use” or “additional living expenses” coverage, since that will pay your rent and other costs while your home is uninhabitable. United Policyholders recommends having at least two years’ worth of additional living expense coverage.
If you’re concerned your coverage limits are too low and your insurer
Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover floods or earthquakes won’t let you upgrade, shop around for a better provider. Scan important documents into the cloud. You may be away from home or not
have time to grab your bug-out bag in your scramble out the door. Keeping documents or copies off site is one solution, but anything in your safe deposit box or lawyer’s office could be compromised by the same disaster that wrecks your home, said financial planner Leonard Wright. “You want it out of the area,” said Wright, a certified public accountant and personal financial specialist who contributed to a detailed disaster guide that the American Institute of CPAs created with the American Red Cross and National Endowment for Financial Education. Wright uses DropBox, a file sharing and storage site, for family pictures and Box, a similar site known for its security features, for financial documents. Other cloud services include Microsoft’s OneDrive, Apple’s iCloud and Google Drive. Documents can be scanned with
photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP
photo by Kurt Wilson/Missoulian
Flood water from Flint Creek flows through a wide swath of hay field and over a ranch driveway near Hall in June 2017.
mobile apps or desktop scanners, which typically cost $200 to $400. Disaster survivors say the following documents can be particularly important, according to United Policyholders: Insurance policies Passports and birth certificates Family photos Tax and loan documents Stocks and bonds Wills and trusts Home blueprints or surveys, if you have them Do a quick home inventory. This can be as simple as walking around your home, inside and out, recording your stuff with your smartphone’s video camera and storing that 38
video in the cloud. Or you can use an app, such as Sortly, MyStuff2 or United Policyholders’ UPHelp Home Inventory to photograph and itemize your possessions. Add emergency access to your passwords. Security experts recommend using a password manager to securely store unique, hard-to-remember logins for each account while only having to remember one master password. Password managers also can help a trusted person to take over for you if you die or become incapacitated — but that person needs access to the account. Some password managers let you offer emergency access to others. Another option is
to keep copies of your passwords, or your master password, with your estate planning documents. Services such as Everplans and Fidelity Investments’ FidSafe offer online storage with secure sharing options. Finally, make a note on your calendar to do all this again next year so all your important documents are kept up to date. Investing a few hours each year can pay off in an easier recovery if disaster ever strikes, and peace of mind even if it doesn’t. MT55 This column was provided to the Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.
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40 CLAREMONT STREET KALISPELL, MT 59901
Each day to the fullest.
The secret to happiness as we age is to stay as mentally, physically and socially engaged as possible. To feel a sense of purpose. And to be surrounded by those who truly care. Helping residents live each day to the fullest is our mission at Highgate. We offer a host of activities, nutritious and delicious meals, and full care for all in a lovely, homelike setting. If you or your loved one needs either a little or a lot of extra help with daily living, call today and schedule a tour of our Assisted Living or Memory Care community. Youâ€™ll see why a move to Highgate is one of the best moves you can make. Highgate at Great Falls 3000 11th Avenue South Call: 406-454-0991 Highgate at Bozeman 2219 West Oak Street Call: 406-587-5100
Highgate at Billings 3980 Parkhill Drive Call: 406-651-4833