Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 46° Partly Cloudy
News >  Features

Homes are where our hearts are

Jan Polek The Spokesman-Review

The luncheon discussion at the Park Bench in Manito Park centered around the desire of many seniors to remain in the family home as long as possible. Over curried chicken salad sandwiches, we talked about the need to keep our “problem solving skills.” These women are used to making decisions and they fear losing that skill could be the first step toward dependence.

If everything is decided for you — what to eat and when — you may lose the confidence to make bigger decisions. Because of their concern and love, family members are often the ones recommending retirement homes or other supervised settings.

But across the country, a growing number of agencies are aimed at keeping seniors independent at home by providing nonmedical services such as light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation and respite care. In Omaha, Neb., an agency called Home Instead Senior Care has caregivers who provide an average of 15 hours per week at a cost of approximately $1,000 per month. Most seniors pay for the services themselves, although sometimes family members chip in.

“A lot of trends have converged,” said Sheila McMackin, president of Wellspring Personal Care Services in Chicago. “People are living longer; they’re staying healthier and they’re saying ‘I want to stay in my own home.’ “

In Spokane, Holy Family Adult Day Health Centers, (509) 482-2475, and the Area Agency on Aging and Long Term Care, (509) 458-2509, have resources to suggest.

Our lunch group didn’t reach any conclusions, but eating our peanut butter cookies, we agreed that this is the No. 1 issue for many of our friends, and we need to be talking about it … sooner, rather than later.

I’m almost as old as a Twinkie

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Twinkie — no, that doesn’t indicate how long they have been sitting on the shelf. The celebration marks their creation in Chicago in 1930. The cakes (named for “Twinkle Toe” shoes) are baked for 10 minutes and then the filling is injected through three holes in the top. The cakes are flipped over before they are packaged, so the rounded bottom becomes the top, at the rate of 1,000 per minute.

According to Theresa Cogswell, vice president of Interstate Bakeries Corp., the shelf life of a Twinkie is approximately 25 days (although I think I have gotten hold of some “elder” Twinkies over the years). Approximately 500 million are baked each year, and one has been included in the nation’s millennium time capsule as an “enduring American icon.” Now that will be a real shelf-life taste test.

Senior wellness

On Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the 11th annual Inland Northwest Senior Wellness Conference will be held at Spokane Community College’s Mission and Greene campus. Advance registration is $15 ($20 at the door) and includes lunch, parking, health screenings, 150 outstanding exhibits, entertainment, presentations, and keynoter Karen Kaiser Clark. For information, call (509) 326-1471.

New book, old poem

In a new collection, “101 Poems to Get You Through the Day (and Night),” I found this old, familiar poem:

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;

It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and o, my friends—

It gives a lovely light.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.