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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control: A look at voters and turnout, by the numbers

Political geeks might rejoice in a new page on the Washington secretary of state’s website that provides a plethora of political numbers that can be fed into a spreadsheet and sliced and diced as though they were in a Bass-o-Matic.

Graying of suburbia: Can suburbs adjust to aging boomers?

The American suburbs, built for returning GIs and their burgeoning families, are already aging. In 1950, only 7.4 percent of suburban residents were 65 and older. By 2014, it was 14.5 percent. It will rise dramatically in the coming decades, with the graying of 75.4 million baby boomers mostly living in suburbia.

Alzheimer’s takes ultimate toll on emotional boundaries

WEST ALLIS, Wis. – It isn’t at all clear the time, or even the day, that Paul and Virginia Wilcox died, seated beside each other in the silver Ford Econoline he had parked in their driveway. On Wednesday, May 4, around dinnertime, Paul called their neighbor and longtime friend, Jeanine Sonntag. He told her that Virginia, his wife of nearly 48 years, once again couldn’t remember who he was.

Many opt to take early, reduced Social Security benefits, poll finds

CHICAGO – Taking Social Security benefits early comes with a price, yet more than 4 in 10 Americans who are 50 and over say they’ll dip into the program before reaching full retirement age. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Thursday found that 44 percent report Social Security will be their biggest source of income during their retirement years.

‘We’re about helping people’

REPUBLIC, Wash. – The power of a tiny rural town is that a spark of an idea can ignite into a large triumph in just a few weeks, without much fuss or formality. That’s what happened in Republic, where dwindling membership at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer jeopardized the historic building. Volunteer Nancy Morris hatched a plan to turn the hand-cut stone building into a senior center.

A voice for the voiceless

From chewy bacon and hard-to-cut biscuits to encouraging a family to put their mother in a memory care unit, Michal Rosenberger has done it all in her year as a volunteer long-term care ombudsman. Several times a week, Rosenberger, a retired teacher and school counselor, visits residents at Brookdale Place at NorthPointe, the 120-bed assisted living facility around the corner from her house in north Spokane.

Guidance through the health coverage maze

Before stumbling upon the free Medicare workshop last week, Toni Mastronarde spent three years feeling ashamed and beaten down because she couldn’t figure out her Medicare coverage and didn’t have enough money from Social Security to pay for medications and basic needs like food and heat. She carried so much stress in her muscles, her neck could hardly turn. The 69-year-old diabetic said she had mostly gone without insulin for months, canceled appointments with specialists and only eaten beans and split pea soup – never fresh fruits or vegetables. Her apartment is always cold because she fears the cost of heat.

Master strokes

Underwater, anything is possible. Just ask the members of the Salvation Army Kroc Center masters swim club. For two of the oldest members, water is life. “I am water,” said Lorna Henry, 74, while taking a break from the 5 a.m. practice last week. “That’s who I am.”

In brief: Craft fair comes to CenterPlace

The Spokane Valley Senior Center is having a craft fair Oct. 16 at CenterPlace Regional Event Center. Admission is free and the public is invited to shop the 20 tables of crafts and goodies. The fair is in the center’s Fireside Lounge, 2426 Discovery Place in Spokane Valley, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (509) 926-1937. Big Band Dance trip planned

Front Porch: Aging’s rough, but it could be worse

We baby boomers know all too well that aging can do unkind things to our bodies. Some of it is just normal stuff – maybe a slight hearing loss, slower gait, sluggish GI tract. Or maybe a little more impactful – high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease. Or some of the big guns – stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s. And maybe worst of all is the feeling of vulnerability, sometimes depression, that comes along sneakily as we see our strong selves being diminished.

‘Sit and Be Fit’ star continues to inspire nationwide audience

When you meet Mary Ann Wilson, it’s hard to believe this shy woman has for nearly 30 years led a fitness revolution from a chair in the KSPS public television studio on the South Hill. Wilson, a registered nurse, is the creator of “Sit and Be Fit” – a half-hour medically based exercise program focusing on slow, gentle movement for older adults. All the exercises can be done from a chair.

Conference gives boomers primer on retirement

Sorry baby boomers. Getting old will happen even to you. That’s why a local nonprofit is having a one-day conference Saturday in Spokane to help navigate the descent into old age and make it as easy and enjoyable as possible. The Senior Assistance Fund of Eastern Washington puts on the annual conference “Planning for Retirement and Successful Aging: Boomers and Beyond” to raise money to support local senior services that are struggling to meet needs with the influx of baby boomers. It also wants people in the region to know about resources and options before a sudden accident or medical emergency.