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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Critical connections

Al Gilmour stumbled across a gem for bringing together professionals in the elder services industry while on a business trip to Olympia. Three years later, Spokane County has a similar group to network and build businesses and services that specialize in aging while also raising money to help local seniors in need. The Senior Action Network of Eastern Washington has about 55 members, most of whom braved a cold, stormy morning Tuesday for the monthly meeting. It’s a typical networking group with a variety of members from care facilities, home health and funeral homes to attorneys, financial planners and real estate agents specializing in senior transitions. So far this year, individuals have made nearly 300 referrals to other member’s businesses and services, said President Mendy Neff, who also works for Providence Senior and Community Services.

Recumbent cyclists gather for Tater TOT rally

To Ron Spiewak, it’s all about how he looks. That’s why it took some pride swallowing for the veteran and one-time bike racer to embrace a three-wheeled bike that looks more like a recliner on wheels. But today Spiewak, 65, of Spirit Lake, Idaho, knows he has a cool ride – one that he can pedal into old age without worry of losing balance and falling or stressing his neck, back and wrists. He brags about his trike at every opportunity and is excited to promote the Tater TOT (Tricycles Optional Tour) Rally – a gathering of hundreds of trikes and recumbent two-wheelers in Kellogg, June 28-July 2.

Boomers drive change in age structure

Fueled by baby boomers, the nation’s 65-and-older population is projected to reach 83.7 million in 2050, which is almost double in size from the 2012 level of 43.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This changing age structure has implications for families, health care, policymakers and businesses.

Caregivers receive honors for compassion, skills, dedication

Arlene Carver didn’t know she loved taking care of people until her mom needed her attention and assistance. Yet she needed a job to pay the bills, so she became a certified caregiver in addition to caring for her ailing mother during her off hours. When her mother died in 2007, Carver decided to keep helping the elderly because it was a connection she enjoyed.

Cyclists promote active lifestyles by embarking on cross-country trip

It’s a race for all time as dozens of elderly Spokane assisted living residents keep pace with three baby boomer women pedaling 4,305 miles across the United States – all in an effort to encourage senior activity and combat depression and apathy among the aging. The unique challenge is the brainchild of mental health counselor Melinda Spohn, who directs the Senior Retirement Project – a nonprofit that provides low-cost, in-home counseling to seniors and their family caregivers.

Free classes offer help for nonpaid caregivers

Family members who are caring for loved ones are invited to attend a six-week class on how to deal with stress, prioritization, family communication and planning. Participants must register for the free series that is Thursdays in Coeur d’Alene starting April 3. The classes are sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Area Agency on Aging of North Idaho.

Counselor gives seniors mental health attention they need

For many seniors who lived through the Depression, two world wars and the volatile 20th century, talking about their problems isn’t popular. These generations don’t blab every little detail on Facebook or tweet spontaneous feelings, hence the Silent Generation and the G.I. Generation.

Adventure-loving boomers give boost to motorcycle industry

Motorcyclists have their own gang: baby boomers. On a nice, sunny day this spring, when you hear a bike rev, it’s more likely to be an older white man who is a doctor or lawyer, not a young rebel outlaw with skull tattoos and a rap sheet. The sweet spot for the U.S. motorcycle industry is white men in their late 40s and 50s. They are older, wealthier and a lot more mainstream than those freewheeling hippies riding choppers, selling drugs and practicing free love in the iconic 1969 film “Easy Rider.”

Buyers beware of long-term care insurance

Vera Gunnarson sat in her Seattle-area home recently, pouring through a neat file of long-term-care insurance papers. The oldest was signed in 1994, when Gunnarson was 61. “I probably should have done more research,” the Seattle woman said. “I wonder if we really understood what we were doing.”

Turning 50: Keith Erickson hits birthday in stride

When the AARP membership application appeared in Keith Erickson’s Coeur d’Alene mailbox, he threw it in the trash. Another application arrived the next week, then another in the days before his 50th birthday.

Common bonds

As many men age, they realize something is missing in life. Often this epiphany is sparked by a collapsing marriage, unfulfilling career or shortage of friends. Perhaps the children are gone and there is nothing to fill the time once consumed raising kids. So what’s a guy to do? Silently suffer. Divorce. Quit. Join a poker group. Buy a sports car.

Phased retirement programs soften landing

MUSCATINE, Iowa – There is an oft-told story about what happens when a worker at the Stanley Consultants engineering firm decides to retire. “They say you have the retirement party one day and you come back to work the next,” said Mary Jo Finchum, spokeswoman for the Muscatine, Iowa-based company.

Julianne G. Crane exploring U.S. in RV

Where on the road is Julianne G. Crane? Outside Yuma in her RV of course, writing about her road trips exploring the United States and Canada. Last week the former Spokesman-Review columnist was enjoying the Arizona sun, before she snakes west to San Diego and then north to Spokane just leisurely enough to miss our cold, snowy season.

Annie’s Mailbox: Work on clutter hour at a time

Dear Annie: In the past five years, my parents, in-laws and an uncle passed away. My uncle lived in the same house for 40 years and kept everything. I took off a lot of time from work to go through his mountains of paperwork and paid a lot of money to have his place cleaned out. I’d like to offer some advice: If you are over 55 or in poor health, please start decluttering your home now. Even if you are in good health, you could have an accident or suddenly become ill. Start with one hour per week and work on one closet or room. Many charities will pick up your unused, serviceable things. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity desperately need clean, decent furniture and household items.