aging

Investing for retirement doesn't have to be hard. You read up on how to put together a diverse mix of low-cost index funds, bonds, etc. Then keep setting aside all you can into that retirement account. Easy.

But when you actually retire and start spending that money, that's like going from playing checkers to playing chess. It can get a lot harder.

The lobby at Exeter House, which was built as a luxury, live-in hotel in the 1920s.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Exeter House in downtown Seattle was built as an apartment hotel for elegant living in the 1920s. It was part of a construction boom downtown at the time.

When Architect Matthias Hollwich was approaching 40, he wondered what the next 40 years of his life might look like. He looked into the architecture that serves older adults, places like retirement communities and assisted living facilities, and didn't like what he saw. But what if we changed our habits earlier in life so we could stay in the communities we already live in?

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation last October that would allow terminally ill people to request life-ending medication from their physicians.

But no one knew when the law would take effect, because of the unusual way in which the law was passed — in a legislative "extraordinary session" called by Brown. The bill could not go into effect until 90 days after that session adjourned.

If you’ve seen the White House video of the 106-year-old dancing with President Obama and the First Lady, then you already know Virginia McLaurin.

Born in 1909 to a sharecropping family, she was married at the age of 14 and widowed with two children at 17. She’s lived through the Great Depression, segregation and the civil rights movement.

I'm a retinal specialist, an ophthalmologist who specializes in the back of the eye. I see a good number of patients with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, a disease that limits central vision. It affects at least 6 percent of the population, and the more severe form with significant vision loss will affect about 3 million people by the year 2020.

Carin Mack (center right), a geriatric social worker, leads a discussion on avoiding loneliness, like volunteer work.`
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

At the Greenwood Senior Center in Seattle, about two dozen older adults are gathered around a large table.

There’s homemade bread being passed around, and some handouts related to today’s discussion. The people in this group are mostly over age 65. Some are widowed, some are divorced, and some have never married. All live alone.

Toddlers born in Washington state between 2012 and 2014 (like this North Seattle kid above) are expected to live, on average, to 80. But where you live could predict if you live longer or shorter than that average.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Washingtonians born between 2012 and 2014 are expected to live, on average, to 80 years old.

But where you live in Washington state could indicate if you reach this ripe age.

A photo from a 2011 project by the Daily Kent Stater. "A chaplain came to say a prayer for Rene when she was moved to hospice Monday morning, September 19. John and a few of his children were present at this time."
Flickr Photo/Kristin Bauer Photography

Dying patients in hospice and nursing homes aren’t always getting the care they need during the last days of their lives.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum wants state lawmakers to fund a new set of investigators specializing in elder abuse cases. It comes as more than 150 prosecutors, attorneys and law enforcement officers meet to discuss elder abuse in Salem Tuesday.

Losing your ability to think and remember is pretty scary. We know the risk of dementia increases with age. But if you have memory lapses, you probably needn't worry. There are pretty clear differences between signs of dementia and age-related memory loss.

After age 50, it's quite common to have trouble remembering the names of people, places and things quickly, says Dr. Kirk Daffner, chief of the division of cognitive and behavioral neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

I'm often asked for medical advice by friends, family members, even new acquaintances: What about this diet? What should I do about this symptom? What about this medication?

car keys
Flickr Photo/walknboston (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1O4LD7v

Seattleite Else Driflot kind of knew when it was time to give up her keys. Her eyesight had declined and she was having trouble seeing. It made sense to give up her keys, but that doesn't mean she liked it. 

"It was totally miserable. You know, because I lived alone, I had a good car, I loved my car. So it was hard," Driflot said.

In some ways, Driflot was lucky because giving up driving was a pretty cut-and-dried decision. That's not the case for many seniors and that can lead to some tough conversations.

KUOW's Bill Radke spoke with Laura Fraade-Blanar, a graduate student at the University of Washington studying the link between aging and crash risks, about when and how to have those tough conversations. 

Being older than 65, single and looking for romance has never been easy, and for women, who outnumber single men, it's especially challenging. The Internet is making it easier for older women, who didn't grow up with the Web, to get outside their social circles for dating and romance, but it can make them more vulnerable to deception.

Kimberly Bodfish, who's single and 65+, has discovered what many people already know about dating online: People are a little generous about themselves in their profiles.

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