Page 1

April 2012

the magazine for montanans in their prime

getaways

discovering spring in montana

fly fishing tied together

rightsizing enriching your life


55 April 2012

montana

inside getaways

discovering spring in montana

by sherry devlin, brett french & michael moore

www.montana55.com

triangles and a crowning mohawk of burnished red. They give the species its many names: circus duck, painted duck, totem pole duck, blue streak, squealer, squeaker, mountain duck. They’ll give you a memorable day trip.

W

KURT WILSON The arrival of harlequin ducks on McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park is one of the first signs of spring in the park.

What better way to spend a spring day than afield? A grandchild in tow, a friend at your side, and the outing is complete.

And you’ll never go wanting for inspiration: Montana’s natural wonders abound, from east to west. What follows is a starter list of getaways, a sampling from the hundreds you’ll encounter around every corner. The rest is up to you ...

8

WEST GLACIER – Spring in Glacier

National Park is the roar of snowmelt and the squeak and whistle of a painted duck that loves the water’s trembling cold. When the harlequins come to McDonald Creek, winter has started to take its leave. Walk or bicycle up Goingto-the-Sun Road in April and May for a glimpse of one of the park’s rarest species: the harlequin duck. Barely larger than jays, colored and marked like clowns, these ducks come to

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LARRY MAYER Fort Peck Dam, the second largest in the United States, will mark its 75th anniversary on June 23.

Glacier from their wintering grounds on the rocky shorelines of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. They are enigmas of the waterfowl world: ducks that migrate east and west, rather than north and south, choosing tumbling water over the quiet of a lake or pond. On McDonald Creek, they feed on the larvae of stoneflies stored beneath the cobbles. They breed there, nesting in tall grasses and tree hollows near the creek’s edge, carefully tending the

tiny puffballs that emerge from their eggs. Harlequins are shy ducks, quick to hide in the willows at creek’s edge, quick to take flight, quick to dive into the icy tumult in search of insect larvae. But you’ll spy them nonetheless – a male preening atop a cobble, a female bobbing in the eddy. Female harlequins blend in with the river rocks. Males are marked with white stripes and spots, blue-gray

FORT PECK DAM – Looming above the plain like a great grassy green berm, Fort Peck Dam impounded more Missouri River water last spring than ever before – enough to cover all of Yellowstone National Park with 6 feet of water. Nearly a mile wide at the base and four miles long, the compacted dirt behemoth is the second-largest dam in the United States. Last year, the dam made headlines as record amounts of rainwater and snowmelt were released downstream, flooding towns in North and South Dakota and Nebraska. On June 23, there will be a formal celebration of the dam’s 75th anniversary, with special events throughout the day. Located in northeastern Montana more than 1,700 miles from the Missouri River’s mouth, Fort Peck Dam and its powerhouses stand as a testament to engineering prowess. Construction was authorized by President Roosevelt on Oct. 24, 1933, as part of the Public Works Administration’s efforts to employ workers during the Great Depression. Work began in 1934 and was completed in 1940. Everything about Fort Peck Dam and reservoir is massive. Backed up behind the earthen structure, when the water level is at an elevation of 2,250 feet, are 18.6 million acre-feet of water. And that’s still 30 feet below the top of the dam. And when the lake elevation is at just 2,234 feet above sea level, the reservoir has 1,520 miles of shoreline, more than the state of Florida. The Fort Peck Dam Interpretive Center and Museum provides an up-close look at the powerhouses, with daily tours as well as information on the history of the dam’s construction and the paleontological history of the area. April 2012 9

34 reverse mortgage 42 continuing education 44 technology answers from an expert

keeping the mind and body fit

stay connected

technology

8 14 fly fishing 18 boomer

stay connected

by donna healy

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getaways

When web surfing grew into America’s passion, baby boomers were already well into adulthood. But that hasn’t stopped some boomers from plunging into the world of texting, posting and tweeting.

discovering spring in montana

Dayle Hayes, a Billings registered dietitian, does nutritional consulting with school districts across the country. She has a Twitter following, Skypes with her daughter in New Zealand, blogs on nutrition and speaks to Siri, her new iPhone’s virtual personal assistant. She administers three Facebook accounts. Make that four, if you count the Facebook page she is temporarily updating for Rok, her daughter’s dog. One Facebook page is for family, another for colleagues. She also established a Facebook group, “School Meals That Rock,” to promote healthy school lunches. “The only thing I refuse to do is Pinterest, which is the most screen-sucking activity on the planet,” Hayes said. Pinterest, an online pin board, allows individuals to artfully organize and share their likes. After a recent flight to Phoenix, she asked Siri to find a restaurant.

tied together

The fact that my phone knows where I am, even though I may not, I’ve decided is a comforting thing. CASEY PAGE Dayle Hayes looks up a video on her iPhone as she prepares to upload it to her dog Rok’s Facebook page.

whitewater philosophy

boomer

whitewater philosophy

by michael moore

44

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www.montana55.com

When Doug Ammons stares at a river, he senses the flow of time, the movement of past through present and into the future.

Although he has been a worldclass kayaker for more than 20 years, Ammons is never less than awed by a river, regardless of its whitewater rating. “I think it’s very easy for us to view rivers as things to conquer, and the more difficult the river, the greater our sense of having conquered something major or important,” Ammons said. “And I totally reject that. The river is a gift to us. Any river is. Water is a metaphor for the flow of time, and for your place in that flow.” If you’ve read many paddling magazines, you know that there’s not a lot of paddling writing that embodies Ammons’ line of thinking. Instead, there’s plenty of selfpromotion, a boatload full of hucking off ever-higher waterfalls and a river’s worth of what Ammons refers to as “radical dudism.” A decade or so ago, Ammons might have simply skewered such sentiments with the sharp pen of satire. But as the Missoula scientific journal editor has grown into middle age, he’s opted for

the high road. “It’s too easy to just take that sort of stuff down, so I won’t do that,” he said. “What I want to do is to elevate the discussion. “Kayaking, or any other adventure sport for that matter, can’t simply be for personal gratification. I want to learn from my experience, and take that knowledge into other aspects of my life. I want to use the profound nature of that experience to be better.” To foster just such a discussion, Ammons wrote a book, “Whitewater Philosophy.” Don’t be afraid of the title. While Ammons is, in fact, philosophical, the book is in no way an academic treatise. And it’s certainly not “Nietzsche Goes Kayaking.” Instead, the book is Ammons’ modest effort to take kayaking literature into the realm of literary work that accompanies other adventure sports, most notably climbing. “The great climbing books, like Herzog’s ‘Annapurna’ or Harrer’s ‘White Spider,’ are not simply adventure stories,” Ammons said. “They are journeys into the human spirit. There’s nothing like that in kayaking. And I mean nothing. I’m viewing this as something of a first step, but the effort needs a lot more people to take part.”

I want to learn from my experience, and take that knowledge into other aspects of my life.

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April 2012

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April 2012

24 home improvement 28 rightsizing 30 cosmetically speaking

answers to some unasked questions

living fracture free

women’s health

living fracture free

by dr. sarah faaborg

looking as young as you feel

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April 2012

O

Osteoporosis is a hot topic these days and there are many reasons for this.

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The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women age 65 and older undergo screening for osteoporosis.

accessible living

enriching you life

45

48 men’s health 52 women’s health

MICHAEL GALLACHER “The river is a gift to us. Any river is,” says kayaker Doug Ammons. “Water is a metaphor for the flow of time, and for your place in that flow.”

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www.montana55.com

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54 looking back

In 2011, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) estimated that by this year 12 million people in the U.S. aged 50 and older would have osteoporosis, which causes bone fractures. Furthermore, half of all women will develop an osteoporosis-related fracture in their post-menopausal years. One quarter of these will be fractures of the vertebrae (the spinal bones) and 15 percent will be fractures of the hip. Almost one-third of people die in the year following a hip fracture, and many studies have found that people who survive have lower quality of life. Additionally, osteoporosis is costly. In 2002, the most recent data available, it is estimated that between $12.2 billion and $17.9 billion was spent on medical treatment of osteoporosisrelated fractures. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women age 65 and older undergo screening for osteoporosis. There are risk factors that can place women at increased risk of osteoporosis, such as low body mass index, cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use, and chronic steroid use. Women who have any one of these risk factors should be screened earlier. There is a tool that many medical providers use called FRAX (Fracture Risk Assessment). This tool uses many variables to help estimate the 10-year risk of an osteoporotic fracture. The risk can be estimated without a bone density test score and can be used to help determine who would benefit from early screening. It can also be used with a known bone density score to help decide who would benefit from treatment. Treatment for osteoporosis includes adequate supplementation with calcium and vitamin D, which have been shown

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to help improve bone density. Osteoporosis is also commonly treated with medicines called bisphosphonates, which include alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel) and ibandronate (Boniva). Many studies demonstrate that alendronate significantly increases bone density and reduces the risk of vertebral fractures compared to a placebo pill. There has been quite a bit of news regarding the side effects of the bisphosphonates recently and many of my patients express concern about osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a condition in which the bones of the jaw have died and are exposed in the mouth, causing pain and complications such as infection. Risk factors for ONJ include corticosteroid use, cancer, chemotherapy, and dental disease. The first concerns about bisphosphonate-related ONJ were noted in 2003. More studies on this condition and how it is associated with bisphonates are needed. However, cases of bisphosphonaterelated ONJ appear to be far more likely in cancer patients receiving high doses of intravenous bisphosphonate therapy. It is estimated that only 4-5 percent of cases of ONJ occur in patients with osteoporosis taking oral bisphosphonates; some studies estimate it occurs in 1 in 100,000 people without cancer who take these medications. Thus, the risk appears to be quite low. Here’s my advice: Women, be aware of your bones! Be screened if you’re the right age. If your risk of fracture is high, discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with your health care provider. We want to help you maintain healthy and fracture-free lives. Dr. Sarah Faaborg is an internal medicine physician with Community Physician Group in Missoula.

April 2012

53


the magazine for montanans in their prime

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montana

publisher jim mcgowan

editor sherry devlin

marketing manager allyn hulteng

regional sales coordinator jacque walawander regional sales assistant holly kuehlwein

art director mike lake graphic designer diann kelly

Montana 55 is a special publication of Lee Enterprises’ Montana newspapers: the Billings Gazette, Missoulian, Helena Independent Record, Montana Standard and the Ravalli Republic. Copyright 2012. For advertising information contact Jacque Walawander 406-523-5271, 800-366-7193 ext. 271 or email jacque.walawander@lee.net www.montana55.com

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getaways

discovering spring in montana

W

KURT WILSON The arrival of harlequin ducks on McDonald Creek in Glacier National Park is one of the first signs of spring in the park.

What better way to spend a spring day than afield? A grandchild in tow, a friend at your side, and the outing is complete.

And you’ll never go wanting for inspiration: Montana’s natural wonders abound, from east to west. What follows is a starter list of getaways, a sampling from the hundreds you’ll encounter around every corner. The rest is up to you ...

8

55

montana

WEST GLACIER – Spring in Glacier

National Park is the roar of snowmelt and the squeak and whistle of a painted duck that loves the water’s trembling cold. When the harlequins come to McDonald Creek, winter has started to take its leave. Walk or bicycle up Goingto-the-Sun Road in April and May for a glimpse of one of the park’s rarest species: the harlequin duck. Barely larger than jays, colored and marked like clowns, these ducks come to


by sherry devlin, brett french & michael moore

www.montana55.com

triangles and a crowning mohawk of burnished red. They give the species its many names: circus duck, painted duck, totem pole duck, blue streak, squealer, squeaker, mountain duck. They’ll give you a memorable day trip.

FORT PECK DAM – Looming

LARRY MAYER Fort Peck Dam, the second largest in the United States, will mark its 75th anniversary on June 23.

Glacier from their wintering grounds on the rocky shorelines of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. They are enigmas of the waterfowl world: ducks that migrate east and west, rather than north and south, choosing tumbling water over the quiet of a lake or pond. On McDonald Creek, they feed on the larvae of stoneflies stored beneath the cobbles. They breed there, nesting in tall grasses and tree hollows near the creek’s edge, carefully tending the

tiny puffballs that emerge from their eggs. Harlequins are shy ducks, quick to hide in the willows at creek’s edge, quick to take flight, quick to dive into the icy tumult in search of insect larvae. But you’ll spy them nonetheless – a male preening atop a cobble, a female bobbing in the eddy. Female harlequins blend in with the river rocks. Males are marked with white stripes and spots, blue-gray

above the plain like a great grassy green berm, Fort Peck Dam impounded more Missouri River water last spring than ever before – enough to cover all of Yellowstone National Park with 6 feet of water. Nearly a mile wide at the base and four miles long, the compacted dirt behemoth is the second-largest dam in the United States. Last year, the dam made headlines as record amounts of rainwater and snowmelt were released downstream, flooding towns in North and South Dakota and Nebraska. On June 23, there will be a formal celebration of the dam’s 75th anniversary, with special events throughout the day. Located in northeastern Montana more than 1,700 miles from the Missouri River’s mouth, Fort Peck Dam and its powerhouses stand as a testament to engineering prowess. Construction was authorized by President Roosevelt on Oct. 24, 1933, as part of the Public Works Administration’s efforts to employ workers during the Great Depression. Work began in 1934 and was completed in 1940. Everything about Fort Peck Dam and reservoir is massive. Backed up behind the earthen structure, when the water level is at an elevation of 2,250 feet, are 18.6 million acre-feet of water. And that’s still 30 feet below the top of the dam. And when the lake elevation is at just 2,234 feet above sea level, the reservoir has 1,520 miles of shoreline, more than the state of Florida. The Fort Peck Dam Interpretive Center and Museum provides an up-close look at the powerhouses, with daily tours as well as information on the history of the dam’s construction and the paleontological history of the area. April 2012 9


getaways WINIFRED – A replica of a 75-million-year-old dinosaur

skull Bill Shipp excavated from his property is on view at the Winifred Museum. The museum will be the new home for the replica, one of four created from the repositioned fragments of fossilized bone. The beaked, three-horned, frill-headed ceratopsian dinosaur is believed to be the most complete skull of this species ever found, according to Chris Ott, a paleontologist who authored a paper on the fossil. “We can look at every other horned dinosaur and say they are nothing like this one,” he said. How it mainly differs, Ott said, is that this dinosaur’s two horns near its eyes stick straight out instead of forward, and its frill – the large, rough-edged bony plate behind its eyes – is ornamented in a style never seen. When alive, the adult may have weighed around three tons, with a brain the size of a beer can. It ate plants, breaking off branches with its large, sharp beak. “It takes a lot to impress me with a dinosaur anymore, but I’m impressed with this one,” Ott said. Shipp, a semi-retired physicist, said he found the fossil in 2005 while walking on his property six miles from town with local fossil hunter Gil Patrick. “We paleontologists have a strong belief in beginner’s luck,” Ott said. “I know people who have been fossil hunting for 50 years and never found anything like this.”

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The fossil was embedded in a hillside with its rear end closest to the surface. The first sign of the beast was a hind leg bone. Although Shipp had to leave shortly after the discovery, he enlisted Patrick and his friend, George Fisher, to begin excavating the site. “We didn’t have a clue what we were into,” Fisher said. “It was fun. It’s pretty exciting.” The museum also features a Tonka toy collection of 3,000 pieces, a former claim to fame before the dinosaur arrived.

NATIONAL BISON RANGE

– In May 1921, President Teddy Roosevelt set aside a place for bison in the foothills of the Mission Mountains. It was the first land ever purchased by the U.S. government just for wildlife. The mission of the National Bison Range, Roosevelt said, was to provide a representative herd of bison, or buffalo, under reasonably

LINDA THOMPSON (Above) A bear cub watches visitors watching him at the National Bison Range in western Montana.

BRETT FRENCH (Left) Bill Shipp stands behind a replica of the ceratopsian dinosaur skull that he excavated from his property near Winifred.

April 2012

11


getaways

TIM THOMPSON Floaters on the Alberton Gorge roll through a series of rapids on the Clark Fork River.

Songbirds provide the background music, and migratory hawks and owls are back from winter’s sojourns. 12

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natural conditions, to help ensure the preservation of the species for continued public benefit and enjoyment. Which is why, at first, management of the National Bison Range was as simple as building a fence and turning the bison loose. Soon enough, range managers realized the foothills not only grew healthy bison, but also songbirds and raptors and bighorn sheep. And grass, the largest remnant of the Palouse prairie. In 1921, an executive order expanded the Bison Range’s purpose to include bird management. In the 1970s, the Endangered Species Act added another, rarer list of priorities. In all instances, the National Bison Range has been a success, helping to restore bison populations and prairie grasses and the humans who visit them.

Which is why, each and every May 23, range managers celebrate the day with free admission, cookies and lemonade, posters and coloring pages for the kids. It is the perfect season for a visit to the range, which is about a 45-minute drive north of Missoula. There are newborn bison to watch, and antelope and bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Songbirds provide the background music, and migratory hawks and owls are back from winter’s sojourns. The 19-mile Red Sleep Mountain Drive is a one-way gravel road which gains 2,000 feet. Visitors should set aside two hours for the trip, or longer if they want to hike the Bitterroot and High Point trails. Evening is also a good time for wildlife watching, but remember to start the longer Red Sleep drive by 6 p.m. to finish before the front gate closes at 9 p.m.


www.montana55.com

ALBERTON GORGE – It starts so easily. A smooth

drive west of Missoula on Interstate 90 to the Cyr exit, a deluxe site to set up your raft, kayak, riverboard or what have you. There’s even a nice staircase and boat ramp to ease your passage down to the inviting green waters of the Clark Fork River. For a few minutes, the quiet is interrupted only by what your companions have to say and perhaps the long-gone cry of an osprey or eagle. And then you hear it, the low, rolling roar of whitewater. Not to worry, as the first rapids are of so little consequence that they are called the Warm-Up Rapid. But the sound is a sign of the Class III water to come. For the veteran river rat, the Alberton Gorge is a place that makes the blood run just enough. It’s neither too hard nor too soft, a place that feels mostly like home but can also hold its share of surprises depending on the water level. For the summer season, the gorge is solid Class III, big enough to flip the unprepared, but easy enough to escape even if you flip. Rapids like Fang and Tumbleweed definitely get your attention, but they’re not terribly complex and can be run by a careful intermediate rafter. The same does not hold true during spring runoff. For much of the summer, the gorge runs at less than 5,000 cubic feet per second. But anytime after late April, flows can start spiking, reaching 25,000 cfs in June. It’s worth paying a guide to take you down the gorge in the spring, though, as the sights and sounds are a wonder to behold. Loads of commercial rafting companies tote hundreds of folks downstream on nice days, so you’ll have no trouble finding a ride. Sherry Devlin is editor of the Missoulian and can be reached at sdevlin@missoulian.com. Brett French is outdoors editor of the Billings Gazette and can be reached at french@billingsgazette.com. Michael Moore is the Missoulian’s city editor and can be reached at mmoore@missoulian.com.

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fly fishing

tied together

PERRY BACKUS For the last 14 years, Earl and Joan Little have learned everything there is to know about fishing on the Bitterroot River from local guides and anglers. Joan’s famous apple pie was often an incentive for people to share what they know with the Littles.

‘There’s fish up there waiting for us to catch them.’ 14

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Walter is waiting.

She has a favorite spot on the West Fork where the fish are like old friends. Walter is the oldest. Joan Little knows that trout measures at least 24 inches long. He could even be bigger. “Our son got into it with him last year,” Joan said. “I told him he was fishing in my spot.”


by perry backus

www.montana55.com

T

hey were a pair of 20-somethings in Wisconsin when their paths first crossed. Joan had an arrow that needed fixing. Someone in her archery club knew this guy who was clever with his hands. He was going to be at the next archery competition. “She pointed him out to me: ‘There he is. Standing over there in the doorway.’ I remember thinking: ‘Wow. He’s really a big guy.’ “ Fishing wasn’t included in their first few dates. Instead, they displayed their skills on the archery and trap ranges as a friendship grew into love. A stint in the military got in the way too. “I always out-shot him too,” she said, with a grin. “That arrow never did get fixed.” They married in 1962. Earl had a career with the Beaver Dam police department. Joan became a nurse. They raised two sons. Along the way, they fell in love with the idea of living in God’s Country. “We’ve been here in Montana for 14

years now this August,” Earl said. “We came for the trout fishing.” For most of that time, Earl has worked in Bitterroot Valley fly shops and befriended local guides who often invite both him and his wife on float trips. “It helps that Joanie brings along her famous apple pie,” he said, with a grin. “I really don’t think they want to take me. They want Joanie and her apple pie.” In a kitchen filled with the smell of fresh apple pie, she just smiles and nods her head. “I do make a good pie,” Joanie said. Their home on Hamilton’s Sixth Street is filled with reminders of their passion for trout. Pictures hang on the wall of smiling faces and hands filled with glistening fish. Bookshelves are crammed with fly-fishing books. There are wicker creels hanging on the walls and trout-stamped stone doilies on the table. “You have to be careful in here,” she smiles. “Sometimes the floor gets slippery.”

F

ishing has been part of their lives for what seems like forever. “My mother laid me on the boat seat when I was 9 months old,” he said. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to fish.” Earl likes to say that he’s lived in two outdoor paradises. Wisconsin boasts 8,000 lakes and 10,000 miles of trout streams - “but

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Walter slurped in her son’s fly on the very first cast. “Old Walter took him for a ride and then that was it,” she said, with a knowing smile. “The line snapped and he was gone.” It made for a good story, added to the long list that Earl and Joan Little have acquired over a half-century of life lived for the outdoors.

not one is as big as the Bitterroot,” he said. “In Wisconsin, we were overjoyed when we caught a trout that was over 12 inches long. It might take seasons to catch a 16-incher.” On his first outing after moving to Montana, Earl caught an 18-incher on a size-18 Adams. “Joanie and I have become dry fly snobs,” Earl admits. “We’ll fish for a couple of hours and if we can’t catch them on dry flies then we just go home.” Neither stray far from fly-fishing’s roots. “We’re both traditionalists in every sense of the word,” Earl said. Most of their fishing is done on their own two feet and they certainly don’t believe in adding a brightly colored strike indicator to their lines. “It’s a bobber for goodness sakes,” Joan said. “Those guys who use those are just fishing with a fly rod. They’re not fly fishing.” “It’s not fly fishing when you start throwing all that other stuff in there,” she said. “We like the pureness of it all. We love to wade. We think you can cover the water much better that way.” With spring in the air and that first hint of warmth settling down across the valley, both can’t help but feel excited about the possibilities yet to come. Earl has been keeping a diary of his fishing exploits since 1960 that records water and air temperatures and the number of fish that were caught.

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April 2012

15


fly fishing It’s been wonderful to spend a life together with someone who loves the outdoors as much as you do.

PERRY BACKUS Joan and Earl Little have been fishing together for more than 50 years. When the going gets a little difficult, they just put their hands together and help each other get to their favorite fishing hole.

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www.montana55.com

The skwala hatch is already beginning in fits and spurts. The lesser known, but equally important, capnia and nemoura hatches are starting to happen too. The water needs to be 42 to 44 degrees for the hatch to begin. “I’ve caught a couple on a skwala pattern when the water was 40,” he said. “They were shivering,” she added. Spring fishing on the Bitterroot River can be a wonderful time of year, even if the waters can become a bit crowded. The skwala hatch brings fishermen from as far away as Japan, England and Australia. “Skwala strikes are impressive. That’s what brings people here,” he said. “The fish are splashing on top of the water. Their strike is strong.” “We both love this time of year.”

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ooking toward the top of the snow-capped Bitterroot Range, Joan smiles as she shakes her head. “We should have moved here 20 years before we did,” she said. “We can’t get to the mountaintops any more. You know, we’re starting to slow down a little bit these days.” Earl will turn 73 this year. Joan will be 71. “I’m a fortunate man,” he said. “It’s been wonderful to spend a life together with someone who loves the outdoors as much as you do. “She still laughs at my jokes and lets me tell the same stories over and over again, even when she knows I’m lying.” “Be careful,” she said. “It’s getting a little slippery in here.” “We’re a team,” Earl said. “We always have been. Once in a while, we find ourselves needing a little help getting to the next fishing hole.

“So we go hand in hand. If the hump gets a little big, then we help each other climb over it. It’s always been that way. That’s the way it always will be.” There’s one spot in particular on the East Fork that is a favorite for the two. “I think it might be getting a little too slippery for us now,” Earl said, his eyes dancing as they glance in her direction. “We got to go back there. We gotta,” she said. “There’s fish up there waiting for us to catch them.” They both look into each other’s eyes and grin. They know it’s about time to go fishing again.

And Walter is waiting. Perry Backus is a reporter for the Ravalli Republic. He can be reached at363-3300 or at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com

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boomer

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whitewater philosophy


by michael moore

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www.montana55.com

When Doug Ammons stares at a river, he senses the flow of time, the movement of past through present and into the future.

Although he has been a worldclass kayaker for more than 20 years, Ammons is never less than awed by a river, regardless of its whitewater rating. “I think it’s very easy for us to view rivers as things to conquer, and the more difficult the river, the greater our sense of having conquered something major or important,” Ammons said. “And I totally reject that. The river is a gift to us. Any river is. Water is a metaphor for the flow of time, and for your place in that flow.” If you’ve read many paddling magazines, you know that there’s not a lot of paddling writing that embodies Ammons’ line of thinking. Instead, there’s plenty of selfpromotion, a boatload full of hucking off ever-higher waterfalls and a river’s worth of what Ammons refers to as “radical dudism.” A decade or so ago, Ammons might have simply skewered such sentiments with the sharp pen of satire. But as the Missoula scientific journal editor has grown into middle age, he’s opted for

the high road. “It’s too easy to just take that sort of stuff down, so I won’t do that,” he said. “What I want to do is to elevate the discussion. “Kayaking, or any other adventure sport for that matter, can’t simply be for personal gratification. I want to learn from my experience, and take that knowledge into other aspects of my life. I want to use the profound nature of that experience to be better.” To foster just such a discussion, Ammons wrote a book, “Whitewater Philosophy.” Don’t be afraid of the title. While Ammons is, in fact, philosophical, the book is in no way an academic treatise. And it’s certainly not “Nietzsche Goes Kayaking.” Instead, the book is Ammons’ modest effort to take kayaking literature into the realm of literary work that accompanies other adventure sports, most notably climbing. “The great climbing books, like Herzog’s ‘Annapurna’ or Harrer’s ‘White Spider,’ are not simply adventure stories,” Ammons said. “They are journeys into the human spirit. There’s nothing like that in kayaking. And I mean nothing. I’m viewing this as something of a first step, but the effort needs a lot more people to take part.”

I want to learn from my experience, and take that knowledge into other aspects of my life. MICHAEL GALLACHER “The river is a gift to us. Any river is,” says kayaker Doug Ammons. “Water is a metaphor for the flow of time, and for your place in that flow.” April 2012

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boomer What does it mean that something formidable in a kayak is easy in an inner tube?

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t would have been easy enough for Ammons to make a living out of water. He accomplished nearly 50 first descents of rivers around the world, and soloed some of the hardest runs in the world. His run down British Columbia’s Grand Canyon of the Stikine is unrepeated and considered one of expedition kayaking’s greatest feats. Ammons has had numerous sponsorship offers from kayaking companies. He’s been in numerous films, and won an Emmy award as a cinematographer for a film shot in Bolivia. The sports network ESPN once offered him a show based on a big-water kayaking race he’d founded. He declined. “I know a lot of people are in it these days with a sort of ‘paid to play’ attitude, but that’s just not me,”

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Ammons said. “In fact, I feel just the opposite. I want my play to infuse the rest of my life with something that might not be there otherwise. I think what’s happened now with all these sponsorships is that we’ve trivialized the sport.” An example from the so-called cutting edge of kayaking makes Ammons’ point perfectly. The hottest ticket on the kayaking circuit now is “hucking” off tremendously high waterfalls, just short of 200 feet. “I have to say, that’s an impressive thing, but my question is, is that all there is to kayaking?” Ammons said. “These guys are throwing themselves off waterfalls and not even bothering to run the rivers they’re on. What’s important about that?” Years ago, a kayaker launched off a 100-foot-plus waterfall in Oregon.


www.montana55.com

The paddler, according to Ammons’ book, had spent weeks and weeks scouting the falls before running it. His resulting drop was big news in the kayaking world. Not long after, however, a man in an inner tube ran the same waterfall. “The kayaker who ran the falls originally scoped it out for months, but the tuber just glanced at the falls, climbed aboard, and shoved off,” Ammons wrote. “He made it fine, though he fell off his tube at the bottom.” That raises the question. “What does it mean that something formidable in a kayak is easy in an inner tube?” Ammons wrote. “Why is it that a waterfall requiring cuttingedge skill and daring in a specialized kayak can be run by somebody using a tube you can buy for $10 at a gas station?”

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oug Ammons has run rivers all over the world. Some were expeditions with some of the best paddlers in the world, men who say the same about Ammons. Some of those rivers were paddled solo. In some cases, Ammons told almost no one where he was going. And some of those runs have never been repeated, like the Stikine. While Ammons’ exploits have been chronicled in film, he has an uncomfortable and queasy relationship with publicity. “I understand in particular the films, because they’re being done in some of the world’s most incredible places and the paddling is really pretty exhilarating,” he said. “But I don’t go on rivers because there’s going to be a film made. I guess I’d say I go in spite of it.“

Ammons once turned down the chance to be featured in Outside magazine, primarily because he’d seen the magazine over-hype another story he’d taken part in. “I don’t want to be about hype,” he said. “I understand why it happens, but I don’t have to take part in it. I don’t mind things being portrayed as adventurous and thrilling, but I do object to the notion that what I’ve done or what anyone else has done outdoors is somehow as important as doing something like cure malaria.”

the river has tremendously restorative powers

April 2012

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boomer It would be easy at this point to think that Ammons is some sort of spoilsport ascetic who kayaks only as a form of paradoxical high-speed meditation. But it’s not true, at least not completely so. “Part of what I’m doing out there is having fun, for sure,” Ammons said. “I think we definitely use adventure sports as an escape from some of the pressures of regular life. And I think the river has tremendously restorative powers. My thing is that it can be both fun and profound.”

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ayaking can also be important, but only in context. For instance, Ammons recently heard a young kayaker traveling deep in the impoverished Third World say that what he’d learned among the people there was to really enjoy his

own good life. “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t get it for me,” he said. “Kayaking offers some of us the chance to see the world. I don’t see how you could just turn away from what you find out there. That’s missing what’s important.” In 1995, Ammons and others did first descents on the Thule Bheri River and its tributaries in a remote area of Nepal, near its border with Tibet. Ammons was deeply affected by the people of the region, and that connection lingered. “For the last 15 years, any money I make from kayaking on books or talks goes to support two small schools in that region,” he said. “I’m no great person for doing that, because I think anybody who experienced that would want to give something back.” And that, perhaps, is the crux of “Whitewater Philosophy.”

A great kayaker is simply that. But the ability to paddle Class VI whitewater doesn’t necessarily make a good person. And the person who paddles Class II on the Blackfoot is engaged in something just as meaningful. “I think in the adventure sports we too often transfer meaning from one area of life to another,” Ammons said. “You can be the greatest climber in the world and still be a selfish jerk who doesn’t take care of his family and friends. Or you can be someone who learns something from the rivers and mountains, who makes relationships that matter, and who comes back a better person for having been there. I’m trying to be that person.” Michael Moore is city editor of the Missoulian. He can be reached at 523-5252 or at mmoore@missoulian.com.

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home improvement

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accessible living


by lindsey galipeau

www.montana55.com

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Though humans can’t be ageless, our homes can be. All it takes is a little planning ahead and creative thinking. Accessible Design, a building and remodeling company created by Missoula’s Garramone Builders Inc., does just that. “We have the technology. We have the products out there to make it easier for people to continue living in their homes,” said the owner of the two companies, Don Garramone. Garramone’s concept is called “universal design,” which simply means arranging a home, or rooms in a home, so that they are accessible despite any physical disabilities. But Garramone won’t stop at accessible. His designs must be beautiful and livable for anyone who enters. “Ideally, when you’re incorporating the universal design, what you’re trying to do is design the products so that everybody can use it, so it doesn’t scream industrial,” he said. Garramone remodeled a bathroom

for longtime friends Jace and Lou Laakso. Jace needs a crutch to help him get around, so the former bathroom, complete with a lipped shower, was hard to maneuver. “For me to be able to get in and out of the bathroom, out of the shower, that was a big issue,” Jace said. “And to have something to hold onto while I’m in the shower, that was an issue.” So the Laaksos asked Garramone to design them a bathroom. He accepted the challenge and executed it with grace. The finished bathroom is bigger and features a large glass shower, radiant floor heating, soft green walls, grab bars and an added surprise. “When you’re inside the shower and it starts to heat up, the pattern of it dripping down the wall makes it almost Asian-looking,” Jace said. “It’s just really sort of three dimensional.” Garramone said the Laaksos’ bathroom is a perfect example of how building for the future can be both practical and attractive. And it doesn’t cost much more. Garramone estimates that, if you’re already remodeling or building a new home, incorporating universal design costs only 2 to 3 percent more. Some simple steps to accessibility are making light switches low enough to reach from a wheelchair, and having smooth floors and grab rails.

We can design and build a beautiful bathroom that you can continue to use and live in the house for a lot longer. LINDSEY GALIPEAU Don Garramone remodeled Jace and Lou Laakso’s bathroom to make it more accommodating for the couple as they age. Using a crutch to walk, the small size of the former bathroom and lip on the shower made it difficult and unsafe for Jace. April 2012

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home improvement A

ccording to the 2010 Census, nearly 15 percent of Montanans are over the age of 65. The Administration of Aging said over 95 percent of those older adults live at home. “The trend now is to stay in your house and age in place,” Garramone said. Even so, universal design hasn’t quite caught on. Garramone said most of his work comes from immediate need rather than homeowners looking ahead. But he’s trying to change that. Upon hearing “I don’t need that” at a recent trade show, Garramone offered a simple response. “I said, ‘Well, but think down the road. If you’re going to do the remodeling, if you’re going to incorporate this now, then we can design and build a beautiful bathroom that you can continue to use and live in the house for a lot longer.’ ”

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Plus, Garramone takes great care to design a home or room that fits his clients’ wants and needs. “We’ll come in and do a design consultation,” Garramone said. “Just initially, we’ll walk through the house. Sometimes we’ll do a follow through, see how they pattern, what they do in there, and we can design some of the remodeling around their usage.” Once the owner decides to incorporate universal design, the next step is working around the home itself. Missoula homes are notorious for having stairs before you even get into the house. “And then most of the houses, especially in the downtown area, are all very small,” Garramone said. “So in order to make it big enough for accessibility issues, we have to start moving walls and doing different things.”

But everything is possible, especially when Garramone has over 25 years of experience building and remodeling. “It just a takes a little design thought up front so that you can age in place and stay in your home a lot longer,” Garramone said.

Building for the future can be both practical and attractive.


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rightsizing

enriching your life

Focus on your life and enrich it with the appropriate living space. 28

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Recently our friend’s daughter had a baby.

My friend was helping the young couple shop for condominiums because their apartment was too small. They started looking at condos, rather than houses, because the purchase price fit their budget. As they looked, my friend admired the new construction, appliances with handy features and proximity to downtown. They learned that the condo fees covered ground maintenance, outside painting and window washing. While her daughter said she would rather do the work herself, save money and go out to dinner more often, my friend smiled at the thought of all those services. Wouldn’t life be easier without some chores? My friend and her daughter began talking about switching places. Why not? The daughter could buy my friend’s home and do all the work she wanted to do, while my friend could use her time to enjoy more leisure.


by joy earls

www.montana55.com

Homes are now being built for ease of living, safety and aging in place. Until looking at condos with her daughter, my friend did not realize how lucky it was to have an opportunity to think about a possible change in her life. She was unconsciously learning about “rightsizing” her life. I can tell you, with certainty, that your home needs are changing. I can say this because it is true for most people at each phase of their lives. But what makes us move forward? There are the easy decisions. College graduation arrives and lives progress onward. A new job in another town dictates a move. Children arrive, enrich our lives and demand their own space (or we encourage it). Our hobbies and interests excite us to buy a horse, build a house in the woods, or cultivate a one-acre strawberry patch. When we are younger, it seems easier to make the necessary decisions that help us settle into daily patterns. As we age, it also seems like most of us follow life’s routines. We don’t actively think about these things, but gradually adjust. No one can deny that slowly, life’s daily activities keep evolving. It is just easier to avoid thinking about it than doing something differently. “Downsizing” is a term that people associate with growing older. It connotes aging, living with less, getting rid of life’s treasures and frankly narrowing choices.

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ightsizing is a more appropriate description. That is what this article is about. Focusing on your life and enriching it with the appropriate living space. Today, boomers have many more choices concerning their living arrangements than our parents did. We just need the confidence (and a little burst of energy) to act on them.

The reward for planning ahead can mean the difference between a comfortable, enjoyable retirement or an uncertain one. First, have fun with this process; sit down and brainstorm any and every idea about your home needs. For you, the necessary change will depend on your age, income, lifestyle, health changes, employment, family and all the factors that make your life unique. Objectively look at your current home and ask yourself if it could use a facelift, an addition, an energy audit, much-needed repairs or accommodations for health reasons. Then consider how a different home may better suit your needs. Perhaps another house would be smaller, newer, incur less costs and lower maintenance. New construction can simplify your life. Boomers who buy new homes quickly realize that not only will the roof outlive them, but also the wiring and the plumbing. Homes are now being built for ease of living, safety and aging in place.

A

lternative living arrangements can offer even more choices. Discuss living with family members part- or full-time. Learn about cooperative living arrangements. This concept has been around for a long time, and it takes coordinating, but can lead to a fulfilling lifestyle. We can enrich our lives and those around us by collectively sharing our hard-earned skills and talents. Consider moving closer to town for services and fun. Think about public services that can enhance your life such as bus lines, parks, urban trails and continuing education programs. Maybe you are in a position to see if it is a reality to buy additional real

estate for retirement income or for a getaway. Options and choices are everywhere. As we age, we are hopefully gaining experience. We know our needs, whether we want to admit this consciously. Walk around your home and ask yourself if your surroundings are really what will support your changing lifestyle. Does the sun shoot into your bedroom first thing in the morning, while your kitchen is dark and dreary? Do you love dogs, but their entrance is directly through your living space, muddy paws and all? Are there rooms you never use anymore, filled with stuff you don’t need? Are you tired of running up and down the stairs to do your laundry? Can you even park in your garage?

T

ake the first step. Make a conscious decision to move forward. For you, it may be cleaning the garage and for someone else it may be visiting a new home and seeing how well it would accommodate a changing lifestyle. Think about “rightsizing,” not downsizing. Each and every option can make sense financially and emotionally. The most important step right now is to think ahead and work towards that goal. Perhaps reading this article is your first step and then later this afternoon, have a casual conversation about it with a friend, a spouse, a co-worker or a child. The next step won’t be as hard as you may imagine. And it will probably bring a smile to your day. Joy Earls is a real estate broker/owner of Joy Earls Real Estate in Missoula. Contact her at joyearls@joyearls.com or 406-531-9811 April 2012

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cosmetically speaking

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looking as young as you feel


by jenna cederberg

www.montana55.com

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Baby boomers are working longer, staying active longer, living longer – and feeling good while doing it all.

Many nonsurgical procedures can be done over time and require little downtime for patients.

When it comes to helping the outside match the ever-youthful inside, more and more baby boomers are turning to cosmetic surgery. The National Association of Baby Boomers recently published a report noting the increase in boomers who are getting work done. American Society of Plastic Surgery statistics show that in 2010, 3.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed for patients age 55 and older. That’s a 4 percent increase since 2009, the article said. In Montana, cosmetic surgeons say their patients are following the national trends, but increasingly choosing from an ever-growing number of less invasive options to help them look younger. Missoula surgeon Dr. John Harlan sees his customers turning to nonsurgical cosmetic procedures to reduce signs of aging. “They say, ‘I don’t want invasive surgery,’ ” said Harlan, who runs Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Center P.C. in Missoula. “Botox is temporary, but

it helps. Frown lines, we can take care of those at the same time. They’ll go for that because it doesn’t seem like it’s as much time.” Instead of facelift surgery, patients can opt for injections or ultrasounds. Reducing wrinkles, age spots and redness on the face can restore a youthful look. “Fillers” like Juvederm, also work well, Harlan said. Harlan often uses combinations of the nonsurgical methods to achieve desired outcomes. Dr. Lisa Lya Pacheco recently began work as the medical director of Cosmetic Surgical Arts Centre’s Facial Rejuvenation Clinic in Missoula. She says nonsurgical options for improving looks, especially when it comes to skin, are ever-expanding. Botox is very popular among baby boomers. But things like lasers, peels and ultrasound techniques also give great results, said Pacheco. Exfoliation techniques can not only offer a younger look, but also can help get rid of damaged top layers of skin more prone to producing cancer, Pacheco said. Many nonsurgical procedures can be done over time and require little downtime for patients, Pacheco said. All procedures done by Pacheco are outpatient.

April 2012

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cosmetically speaking isn’t an option for those Exfoliation Downtime baby boomers still in the work force. Pacheco treated a patient techniques can inRecently, her 50s who was laid-off from her job. not only offer a previous “She was going out to compete for a job with 30-year-olds. We younger look, but receptionist did a nonsurgical procedure. She got a Pacheco said. also can help get job,”If people look better, they feel better around the young guns in a workplace, Dr. Alan Muskett, a boardrid of damaged said certified plastic surgeon at Billings Surgery. top layers of skin. Plastic “Here they are running marathons and working like dogs, but people go, ‘Oh you’re old,’ ” Muskett said. When it comes to cosmetic surgery, Muskett said blepharoplasty, or removal of excess skin around the eyes, is a popular surgical option to erase signs of aging.

Having the upper eyelids done isn’t a very painful process to go through and results are really pretty good, Harlan said. Many men are opting for surgeries like blepharoplasty. “It’s the executive in an office, a bank vice president, saying, ‘I’ve got to look a little better. I’m 52 and here’s this guy who they’ve hired, he doesn’t have the wrinkles. I don’t want to look tired in meetings.’ It’s an investment in employment and advancement,” Harlan said.

W

hen exploring cosmetic options, patients should first choose the right doctor. Any surgeon or physician offering cosmetic surgery should be board certified. Board certification means the physician has gone through rigorous medical school and residency training, Harlan said.

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Muskett suggests using doctors certified with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “They are the ones who have been trained and tested. There are a lot of people who are doing plastic surgery that are not trained,” Muskett said. The doctors recommend even nonsurgical procedures be performed by a physician. “People can get in trouble by going to some place where they get injections from someone who’s not really a doctor,” Harlan said. Pacheco noted patients don’t need to know exactly which procedure they want before setting up a consultation. “Just go in open-minded, in terms of having options available. Not all options fit for all people,” she said. Muskett emphasized cosmetic surgeries should be about making a patient look cleaner and fresher, not necessarily younger. “If it’s done properly, most people don’t even know you’ve had it. People think you look better – they don’t know why. The thing to emphasize (about cosmetic surgery) is these people don’t look strange or different, they look better,” he said.

We are proud to welcome Bill Feaster, our new pre-arrangement specialist. Please feel free to call Bill today with any questions — he is happy to help!

Jenna Cederberg is a reporter for the Missoulian. She can be reached at jcederberg@missoulian.com.

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reverse mortgage

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answers from an expert


by betsy cohen

www.montana55.com

S

Say the words “reverse mortgage” at a social gathering and expect a wide range of responses.

learn the Truth... • How much $$ can you get • What are my options and the costs • What are the benefits and risks 406-237-0127, 800-669-5138 490 n. 31st st., ste. 130, Billings, MT

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Faces might cringe in a sour pucker, others may look at you with a blank expression and some might even give a sigh of relief. Whatever you might think when you hear the words, we’ve turned to an expert to clarify the facts and debunk the myths. Terry McCarthy is full-time reverse mortgage specialist at the Guild Mortgage Company in Billings. She is vice president of the board of directors for Big Sky Senior Services, a nonprofit in Billings. McCarthy is also on the Advisory Counsel for Partnerships for Elder Protection (PEP), which is a community coalition that advocates of Elder Abuse awareness and prevention. Hopefully, the following information will give you more confidence about how reverse mortgages work – and if this FHAinsured program might work for you. And McCarthy not only knows what she’s talking about, but she also has a reverse mortgage.

Terry McCarthy ReveRse MoRTgage ConsulTanT Servicing Montana & Wyoming nMls# 140308

April 2012

35


reverse mortgage What is a reverse mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a special loan for senior homeowners 62 years of age and older. Like a normal or forward mortgage it is ONLY a lien on the property. This loan allows the senior homeowner to tap their equity, but unlike a forward mortgage, there is no monthly repayment required. Repayment comes when the home is no longer the primary residence of the senior borrower or their spouse.

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What are the common misperceptions/myths that people have about reverse mortgages?

The most common misconception is that the bank owns the house. Banks are not in the real estate business and do not want your home. Ownership does not change. Another misconception is that these loans are too expensive. Compared to what? The changes in the program over the past few years have cut the costs of many of the loan options by thousands of dollars. Many times the only other option a senior might have is to sell their home, which can cost up to 8 percent of the sale price. A reverse mortgage costs around 5-6 percent of the value, and the homeowner gets to stay in their home. One of the greatest concerns of the

senior is that they might owe more than the value of the home and would then leave a debt to their heirs. All reverse mortgages are non-recourse loans which means the borrower can only owe the balance due OR the value of the home, whichever is less at the time of settlement. The HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) is insured by HUD to protect the lender and the borrower against any deficit at settlement. A majority of adult children are not concerned about an inheritance, but are concerned about the well-being of their parents and would rather their parents use the equity in the home for the parents’ benefit rather than the heirs’.


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When is it a good tool to use?

The original purpose of the reverse mortgage was to help senior homeowners stay in their homes for as long as their health will allow, or until they choose to leave. This is still the main reason for doing a reverse mortgage along with maintaining or creating a lifestyle. John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to us while we are busy making other plans.� A reverse mortgage can be the lifeline when life happens – such as decrease of income due to decline in investment value, loss of spouse or

When should it be avoided?

loss of a job, health issues, home repairs, unexpected expenses, etc. Currently no income and only minimal credit qualify, unlike traditional loans. Recent studies have shown that the reverse mortgage is not just a loan of “last resort� but a valuable retirement tool and can extend the availability of retirement funds by years when used along with IRA or 401(k), etc. A recent article in the “Journal of Financial Planning� outlines the research and strategies of using reverse mortgage funds in combination with retirement funds.

the best choice.

The homeowner will be required to continue to keep the home insured, taxes paid and home maintained. If this is not going to be possible, then it is unwise to do a reverse mortgage. If a spouse is not yet 62 years of age it is unwise to remove them from the title in order to do a reverse mortgage. Or, if the plan is to sell the home and move within five years, as there will be the addition of the costs of the sale added to the costs of the reverse mortgage.

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reverse mortgage What are some of the key things people should know about reverse mortgages?

The home must be the primary residence of the borrower. A 1-4-family, owner-occupied residence qualifies. It cannot be a vacation home or investment property and manufactured homes are difficult to place. All reverse mortgages are non-recourse loans so the repayment will be the lesser of the balance due OR the value of the home at the time of settlement. The HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) is insured by HUD to protect the lender and the borrower against any deficit at settlement.

How does one go about getting more information about this topic?

The proceeds of a reverse mortgage are tax-free; they do not affect Social Security, Medicare, and in most cases Medicaid. (Consult an expert for details.) This is a safe financial tool and highly regulated by the federal government. The Line of Credit option creates an emergency fund that grows no matter what the stock market is doing and even if the real estate market is in a decline. And the growth is tax-free, unlike interest earnings on other investments. Having this in place before you need it is financial security.

Leave your legacy...

For independent information, you can go online to www. reversemortgages.org. Also, feel free to contact me for general information or information specific to your needs. The information is always given without obligation and will include all available loan options. Once homeowners are pretty sure this is the direction they want to go they will need to set an appointment to visit with a HUD-certified HECM counselor who will go through all their options with them.

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Dr. Martini

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What are some of the key things people should avoid, or the most frequent mistakes people make when they are thinking about a reverse mortgage?

• Beware of insurance and investment sales people who encourage a senior to take all the funds of a reverse mortgage and purchase products from that sales person. This could be elder abuse through financial manipulation and should be reported to the Montana Department of Banking and Finance or the Montana Department of Justice.

How do you know it is the best option for you?

Everyone should know ALL their options before making a decision regarding their financial situation. Once researched, people will generally know if a reverse mortgage is a good fit for them or not. Seniors are encouraged to talk with family members and trusted financial advisors.

• Advertising can be misleading. A reverse mortgage is NOT a government benefit or entitlement.

April 2012

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reverse mortgage

The following are more reverse mortgage myths: Myth 1: I cannot get a reverse mortgage if I have an existing mortgage. FACT: This is false. If your house isn’t paid off, the proceeds you receive from the reverse mortgage must first be used to pay off any existing mortgage. This is the most common reason most homeowners 62 years and older take out a reverse mortgage.

Myth 2: If I take out a reverse mortgage the lender will own my home. FACT: This is false. Homeowners still retain title and ownership to their home during the life of the loan, and can choose to sell the home at any time. As long as the borrower continues to live in and maintain the home and property taxes and homeowners insurance are paid, the loan cannot be called due.

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Myth 3: There are restrictions on how reverse mortgage proceeds may be used. FACT: This is false. There are no restrictions. The cash proceeds from the reverse mortgage can be used for virtually any purpose and borrowers should be cautious of lenders attempting to cross-sell other products. Many seniors have used reverse mortgages to pay off debt, help their kids, make ends meet or to have a financial reserve.

Myth 4: Only low-income seniors get reverse mortgages.

Myth 5: If I outlive my life expectancy, the lender will evict me.

FACT: This is false. Although some seniors may have greater need than others for the monthly proceeds or lump sum funds reverse mortgage offer, most simply prefer to be free of monthly mortgage payments. Without monthly mortgage payments, many homeowners find they can maintain their existing quality of life and build their savings to help with future expenses. A growing number of people who have no immediate need are taking out these loans so that they have a financial cushion for future expenses.

FACT: This is false. Reverse mortgage lenders put no time limit on how long the borrower(s) can stay in their homes. Since homeowners sill own the property, lenders cannot evict them as long as the borrower continues to live in and maintain the home, and property taxes and homeowners insurance are paid.

Terry McCarthy can be reached at (406) 237-0127 or by calling 800-669-5138. Betsy Cohen is a Missoulian reporter; she can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or by email at bcohen@missoulian.com.

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continuing education

keeping the mind and body fit

CARMEN WINSLOW Mary D’Arcy, 91, of Butte has been taking an English smocking class for at least 20 years through an evening adult education program at Butte High School. D’Arcy and other students, who include three of her daughters, in the class work on different projects each semester.

Photography, Zumba dance and yoga classes are always popular. 42

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One night a week for more than 20 years, Mary D’Arcy, 91, has driven to Butte High School for a class in English smocking.

“I don’t read (for recreation), so what am I going to do?” D’Arcy said about her loyalty to the adult education class. D’Arcy, who lives only a few blocks from the house where she grew up, knows the way well. She was in the first Butte High class graduating from the school when it was new in 1938. Butte School District 1 offers the class in English smocking, which is the craft of embroidering pleated material.


by mary pickett Over the years D’Arcy has smocked baby bonnets, dresses, Christmas ornaments, Easter decorations, aprons and pillows. “You name it, we could probably do it,” D’Arcy said. Three of D’Arcy’s five daughters – she has two sons, too – also take the class along with several other ladies who return to the class again and again. “It keeps her going, it keeps her young,” said smocking instructor Gayla Jozovich, who is delighted to have D’Arcy as a student. D’Arcy is among 370 people taking a class through adult education in Butte this session. More than half of those students are 62 or older, which qualifies them to take class for $10 instead of $55, said Linda Baker, secretary in the adult education office of Butte School District 1. Classes range from accounting to the history of rock ’n’ roll. One of the most popular – with 90 people enrolled this session – has been a class in Butte history that tours older buildings around the city. Seniors usually outnumber nonseniors by three to one in that class, Baker said. Butte is one of many public school districts across the state offering recreational and educational classes for adults. Between 25 to 30 percent of people enrolling in Billings School District 2’s community education and career enhancement classes are in their 50s and older, said Barbara Gustafson,

www.montana55.com

community education coordinator. People laid off from jobs as well as retirees wanting to return to the workforce are among those taking classes that train people for jobs. Someone wanting to work for their church or take a part-time bookkeeping job might take accounting classes. A parent wanting to create a website for his daughter’s business might take a web-design class. A wife caring for a sick husband or someone wanting to work as a home companion might take certified nurse assistant classes. Older adults also like hobby, craft and fitness classes, Gustafson said. Photography, Zumba dance and yoga classes are always popular.

M

ore offbeat classes attract students as well. Adult learners can learn basic circus tricks in Helena, Moroccan cooking in Missoula and rock painting in Billings. Language classes are a regular part of most adult education programs. Arabic is taught in Billings, French in Helena, sign language in Butte and Mandarin Chinese in Missoula. Some older adults also enroll in adult basic education programs offered around the state to help students, aged 16 and up, get their GEDs as a step toward going on to college or getting or keeping a job, said Carol Flynn, program specialist for adult education and GED in the Office of Public Instruction.

About 10 percent of the 500 people going through the Helena Public Schools adult basic education program are 55 or older, said Jake Gustin, director of adult education. “We preach, ‘It’s never too late,’ ” he said. Some older learners go on to higher education. Seven percent of students at the Montana State University Billings College of Technology are 50 or older. They make up higher percentages at COTs in Great Falls (8 percent), Butte (11 percent), Helena (12 percent) and Missoula (13 percent). Some community colleges offer classes specifically for older learners. Miles Community College in Miles City has a “Senior College” that offers computer classes, starting with its “Computerphobia” class for anyone who doesn’t know how to turn on a computer, as well as more advanced classes in Microsoft Word, Excel and Office, said Jan Hartmann, distance education and community outreach director. Students older than 50 also are part of other programs the college offers, from its registered nursing to commercial driver’s license programs. People 50 and older do well in classes because they may be more focused and disciplined than younger students, Hartmann said. Mary Pickett is a reporter for the Billings Gazette. She can be reached at 657-1267 or mpickett@billingsgazette.com

You’ve learned so much. How can you pass that on? Ralph Mitchell (Geological Engineering ’48) believed that by creating a scholarship at Montana Tech, current and future students would have the same life-changing opportunities he had. Through his thoughtful generosity, Ralph enriched Montana Tech not only with money, but also with students. He has enriched the world by passing on his values and his legacy. Will you have a legacy too? There are many ways to help students and shape the future. Call Julie Crnich at 406-496-4277 to talk about the way that works for you. Make your difference. Start today.

April 2012

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technology

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stay connected


by donna healy

W

www.montana55.com

When web surfing grew into America’s passion, baby boomers were already well into adulthood. But that hasn’t stopped some boomers from plunging into the world of texting, posting and tweeting.

Dayle Hayes, a Billings registered dietitian, does nutritional consulting with school districts across the country. She has a Twitter following, Skypes with her daughter in New Zealand, blogs on nutrition and speaks to Siri, her new iPhone’s virtual personal assistant. She administers three Facebook accounts. Make that four, if you count the Facebook page she is temporarily updating for Rok, her daughter’s dog. One Facebook page is for family, another for colleagues. She also established a Facebook group, “School Meals That Rock,” to promote healthy school lunches. “The only thing I refuse to do is Pinterest, which is the most screen-sucking activity on the planet,” Hayes said. Pinterest, an online pin board, allows individuals to artfully organize and share their likes. After a recent flight to Phoenix, she asked Siri to find a restaurant.

The fact that my phone knows where I am, even though I may not, I’ve decided is a comforting thing. CASEY PAGE Dayle Hayes looks up a video on her iPhone as she prepares to upload it to her dog Rok’s Facebook page. April 2012

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technology Students learn to get over the “fear factor” quickly.

CASEY PAGE Kathy Robins, left, and Lynne Puckett, center, from the Parmly Billings Library, show Cheri McNeiley how to download free e-books from the library on her Nook tablet. With a wireless connection and an e-book reader, Montanans can download e-books without leaving home. Through Montana Library 2 Go, patrons of more than 60 libraries in the state can choose from more than 9,000 different titles.

“The fact that my phone knows where I am, even though I may not, I’ve decided is a comforting thing,” Hayes said. Social media also allows frail adults, like Hayes’ 85-year-old father, to maintain friendships. “He has six times as many friends as I do,” Hayes said. “He was very connected in the world and is now not, because of physical abilities. But it’s a wonderful way for him to stay in touch with people all over the world.” With a wireless connection and an 46 montana55

e-reader, many homebound seniors in Montana can download e-books without leaving home. Through Montana Library 2 Go, patrons of more than 60 libraries in the state can choose from more than 9,000 different titles, said Elizabeth “Liz” Babbitt, statewide projects librarian at the Montana State Library in Helena. Baby boomers, like other booklovers, seem split into two camps, Babbitt said. “Some are really ready to embrace the latest Kindle or Nook. There are

others who just don’t want to go near it.” In Billings, retirees take free computer classes at the public library and can check out e-readers to use before they buy one. The library may launch an e-reader support group and offer classes at retirement homes. “There are people there who have the technology and are eager for instruction on how to use it,” said Dee Ann Redman, the assistant director of the Parmly Billings Library.


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dult education programs in Billings and around Montana offer classes for older adults who are timid about making the digital plunge. In Billings, Michelle Gasek teaches an introductory computer class for seniors. “I find that my seniors are really excited. They want to know how to email, how to communicate with their children and grandchildren,” said Gasek, who has taught the class for seven years. About 70 percent of her students have never touched a computer before entering the class, but they seem to get over the “fear factor” quickly, she said. At Dawson College in Glendive, the Senior Academy helps connect seniors. “We polled the community about classes and the biggest thing that came up was technology,” said Mary Ann Vester, the director of extended learning. Myrna Kintz, of Glendive, is on the Senior Academy’s advisory board. The 71-year-old expends a lot of effort to keep up with technology. Kintz, a widow, taught French at Dawson College before retiring. She hated computers until she bought her first Apple. She’s now on her third Apple computer. “I truly do think we are too young in my age group to quit on technology,” she said.

She posts on Facebook, texts on her smart phone and bought an iPad about two months ago. “I haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do, but it’s exciting,” she said. So far, she has downloaded e-books, photos, music, games and the New York Times crosswords to her iPad.

L

ike many rural Montanans, location limits the technology that Lillian Ostendorf can adopt. She and her husband, Ted, ranch at Powderville, 60 miles southeast of Miles City. The last 30 miles are along a gravel road. With no cellphone signal at the ranch, she cannot access the Internet from a cellphone or iPad. Their cattle ranch is just five miles from where Lillian Ostendorf was born, and she has been in and around cattle her entire life. As the western region’s representative on the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, she tries to use social media to educate city-dwellers about ranch life. “It gives us a chance to post pictures and tell our story,” she said. Last spring, some of the most memorable Facebook photos were of floodwaters moving through their corrals. Donna Healy is a freelance writer from Billings.

CASEY PAGE Parmly Billings Library staff show Cheri McNeiley how to access free e-books from the library on her Nook tablet during a class.

Social media also allows frail adults to maintain friendships.

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Area VIII Agency on aging April 2012

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men’s health

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answers to some unasked questions


by rebecca morley

A

Are men concerned about aging healthfully? Yes!

Many men don’t know what questions to ask, or if they do, they aren’t comfortable asking them.

Do they confide these matters to their health care providers? In the majority of cases, no. Many men don’t know what questions to ask, or if they do, they aren’t comfortable asking them. Some of the information included here may help arm men to take control of their health. Thankfully, most men’s health threats are largely preventable. To optimize overall health and wellbeing for men who might be considered baby boomers, the most important, yet simple, step is to make healthy lifestyle choices. By this, I mean eating a healthy diet and including physical activity in your daily routine. It’s also important to manage risky behavior, such as drinking too much and engaging in casual sex. With the high rate of divorce, many men are finding themselves single and entering the dating world again. But this new adventure doesn’t come with a “how-to” manual. Of course, common-sense precautions to safeguard your health – such as using goggles around power tools, climbing ladders and wearing a seat belt – count, too. As men age, their health concerns are likely to change. Could a beer gut lead to health problems? Is male menopause a myth or a true men’s health issue? Could testosterone therapy help you feel young again? We all know we shouldn’t smoke or chew tobacco products. All but two of the six top health risks for men have as their No. 1 preventive measure elimination of tobacco use. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your health care provider to help you quit or call the quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).

www.montana55.com

Men, it’s also important for you to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke. Let’s look at the top health risks for men and some preventive measures.

Heart disease and stroke Heart disease is a leading men’s health threat. Take charge of heart health by making healthier lifestyle choices. You can’t control some stroke risk factors – such as family history, age and race – but you can control other contributing factors. For example: • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. • Manage chronic conditions. If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control. • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Choose sports or other activities you enjoy, from basketball to brisk walking. Don’t forget strength training at least twice a week. • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds increase the risk of heart disease. • Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. • Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under assault, your lifestyle habits may suffer. Take steps to reduce stress – or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.

April 2012

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men’s health Take a list and get your money’s worth by getting all your questions answered Cancer

Various types of cancer are of particular concern to men, including lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. To reduce the risk of cancer, consider these general tips: • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds – and keeping them off – may lower the risk of various types of cancer. Is weight gain with age inevitable? It can seem that way when your weight climbs despite dieting and even exercising. A

recent study suggests that a range of lifestyle choices – not just the number of calories in your diet – influence your weight as you age. • Get moving. In addition to helping you control your weight and maintain your muscle tone, physical activity on its own may lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Regular exercise is an excellent stress reducer. There are so many reasons to stay active. • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can’t guarantee cancer prevention, it may help reduce your risk. It can supply you with anti oxidants and phytonutrients that nourish all the cells in your body to help keep them functioning properly. And the added fiber does wonders for your digestive tract. • Protect yourself from the sun. When you’re outdoors, cover up and use

plenty of sunscreen. But don’t forget the vitamin D. In Montana, we are at a latitude that prevents us from producing vitamin D from the sun, and those sunscreens that are necessary to help prevent skin cancer also prohibit vitamin D production. Talk to your health care provider about how much vitamin D is right for you. • Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. The risk of various types of cancer – including cancer of the colon, lung, kidney and liver – increases with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly. • Manage chronic conditions. If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control. • Take early detection seriously.

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Consult your doctor for regular cancer screenings, especially prostate and colon cancer screenings.

Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of fatal accidents among men. To stay safe on the road, use common sense. Wear your seat belt. Follow the speed limit. Don’t pass unless you are certain it is safe. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances, and don’t drive while sleepy.

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

Chronic lung conditions – which include bronchitis and emphysema – are also a concern for men. To protect your respiratory health: • Steer clear of pollutants. Minimize exposure to chemicals and outdoor air pollution. • Prevent respiratory infections. Wash your hands often and get a yearly flu

vaccine. Ask your doctor whether you need a pneumonia vaccine as well.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes – the most common type of diabetes – affects the way your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to heart disease, eye problems, nerve damage and other complications. To prevent type 2 diabetes, get serious about your lifestyle choices. Eat a healthy diet. Include physical activity in your daily routine. If you’re overweight, lose excess pounds.

Suicide

Suicide is another leading men’s health risk. An important risk factor for suicide among men is depression. If you have signs and symptoms of depression – such as feelings of sadness or unhappiness and loss of interest in normal activities – consult your doctor. Treatment is available. If you’re contemplating suicide, call for emergency medical help or go the nearest emergency room.

T

he bottom line is prevention. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages, chips, processed and fast food. Watch portion sizes. Limit alcohol consumption. Reduce stress through physical activity. See your health care provider for checkups as well as acute or chronic illness. Take a list and get your money’s worth by getting all your questions answered. Taking personal action in your daily activities may grant you a feeling of empowerment. And being in control of lifestyle choices may have a greater influence on your overall health and well-being than you’ll ever know. Feeling young and healthy as we age may be even better than finding the fountain of youth! Rebecca Morley provides nutrition services through the Eat Smart Program at the Missoula City-County Health Department. She can be reached at 258-3827 or at rmorley@co.missoulian.mt.us.

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April 2012

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women’s health

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living fracture free


by dr. sarah faaborg

O

Osteoporosis is a hot topic these days and there are many reasons for this.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women age 65 and older undergo screening for osteoporosis.

In 2011, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) estimated that by this year 12 million people in the U.S. aged 50 and older would have osteoporosis, which causes bone fractures. Furthermore, half of all women will develop an osteoporosis-related fracture in their post-menopausal years. One quarter of these will be fractures of the vertebrae (the spinal bones) and 15 percent will be fractures of the hip. Almost one-third of people die in the year following a hip fracture, and many studies have found that people who survive have lower quality of life. Additionally, osteoporosis is costly. In 2002, the most recent data available, it is estimated that between $12.2 billion and $17.9 billion was spent on medical treatment of osteoporosisrelated fractures. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that women age 65 and older undergo screening for osteoporosis. There are risk factors that can place women at increased risk of osteoporosis, such as low body mass index, cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use, and chronic steroid use. Women who have any one of these risk factors should be screened earlier. There is a tool that many medical providers use called FRAX (Fracture Risk Assessment). This tool uses many variables to help estimate the 10-year risk of an osteoporotic fracture. The risk can be estimated without a bone density test score and can be used to help determine who would benefit from early screening. It can also be used with a known bone density score to help decide who would benefit from treatment. Treatment for osteoporosis includes adequate supplementation with calcium and vitamin D, which have been shown

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to help improve bone density. Osteoporosis is also commonly treated with medicines called bisphosphonates, which include alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel) and ibandronate (Boniva). Many studies demonstrate that alendronate significantly increases bone density and reduces the risk of vertebral fractures compared to a placebo pill. There has been quite a bit of news regarding the side effects of the bisphosphonates recently and many of my patients express concern about osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Osteonecrosis of the jaw is a condition in which the bones of the jaw have died and are exposed in the mouth, causing pain and complications such as infection. Risk factors for ONJ include corticosteroid use, cancer, chemotherapy, and dental disease. The first concerns about bisphosphonate-related ONJ were noted in 2003. More studies on this condition and how it is associated with bisphonates are needed. However, cases of bisphosphonaterelated ONJ appear to be far more likely in cancer patients receiving high doses of intravenous bisphosphonate therapy. It is estimated that only 4-5 percent of cases of ONJ occur in patients with osteoporosis taking oral bisphosphonates; some studies estimate it occurs in 1 in 100,000 people without cancer who take these medications. Thus, the risk appears to be quite low. Here’s my advice: Women, be aware of your bones! Be screened if you’re the right age. If your risk of fracture is high, discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with your health care provider. We want to help you maintain healthy and fracture-free lives. Dr. Sarah Faaborg is an internal medicine physician with Community Physician Group in Missoula.

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looking back

TOM BAUER

A

After retiring from a restaurant career at age 50, Michael Sharkey became a certified Swiss watchmaker and recently moved his business from Seattle to Stevensville. “This is my life,” he says. “Very focused. I enjoy this part.”

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visit www.Montana55.com

The online resource for Montanans in their prime Practical and inspiring stories about Montanans from current and previous print issues of Montana 55. An invaluable guide to Montana’s senior housing, searchable by city.

April 2012

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Montana 55 April 2012  

Montana 55 April 2012 issue

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