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Northwest Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

During the winter months, slippery sidewalks and cold weather can cause a wide range of injuries and illnesses, especially for seniors. The following tips will help prevent common cold-weather dangers faced by the elderly population.

  1. Avoid slipping on ice. Icy, snowy roads and sidewalks make it easy to slip and fall. These falls often cause major injuries such as hip and wrist fractures, head trauma and major lacerations. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction and nonskid soles, and stay indoors until the roads are clear.
  2. Dress for warmth. Cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, a condition in which the body temperature dips too low. According to the CDC, people over the age of 65 are at greater risk of hypothermia-related death. So limit the time spent outdoors and dress in multiple layers with a good head covering.
  3. Fight wintertime depression. Because it can be difficult and dangerous to get around, many seniors have less contact with others during cold months. This can breed feelings of loneliness and isolation. To help avoid these issues, family members can check in on seniors as often as possible. A short, daily phone call can also make a big difference. Seniors can arrange a check-in system with neighbors and friends, with each person looking in on one or two others daily.
  4. Check the car. Driving during the winter can be hazardous for anyone. But it is especially dangerous for older people, who may no longer drive as often or whose reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. Get your car serviced before wintertime hits—or ask a family member to take it to a garage for you.
  5. Prepare for power outages. Winter storms can lead to power outages. Make sure you have easy access to flashlights and a battery-powered radio in case the power goes out. Stockpile warm blankets. Longer power outages can spoil the food in your refrigerator and freezer so keep a supply of nonperishable foods on hand that can be eaten cold. If the power goes out, wear several layers of clothing, including a hat. Move around a lot to raise your body temperature. Check out the CDC’s winter weather checklist to make sure you have everything you need.
  6. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Using a fireplace, gas heater or lanterns can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure your safety by checking the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector and buying an updated one if you need to. The most important tip to keep in mind during the colder months is to ask for help. Arrange rides to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments—many communities have shuttle services specifically for seniors. Don’t be afraid to reach out or help.
  7. ICE (in case of emergency). For seniors who live alone and their long-distance care team: Print out a contact card/in case of emergency card for your senior to give to trusted neighbors, landlords, clergy, and so on to easily locate family members (or power of attorney) should an issue arise.

Wintertime certainly poses challenges for seniors, but with planning and awareness, you will stay healthy and experience the joys of springtime soon enough.

Resources
cdc.gov/disasters/winter

By Kelly Lenihan

Getting Settled into a New Home

After the last box is moved into your new home, you might think the hardest part of moving is over. And you’re right, but there are still things to take care of before you can relax completely. 

Get Your Utilities Set Up

You don’t want to arrive at your new place, late at night, and find that the lights don’t work. Before you move, arrange for the utilities to be set up there. Make sure all of your services are up and running so you can check your electronics and appliances.

Check Major Appliances

If you moved major appliances, such as a range, dishwasher, washer or dryer, check to make sure nothing was damaged during the move. This is particularly important if the mover prepared your appliances for the move. Your insurance policy may have a limited time in which to make a claim. Since these are big-ticket items, you want to make sure they’re all working.

Check All Boxes and Furniture

Make sure all boxes and furniture arrived and that nothing is damaged. If you’re missing something or you find damage, contact the mover and your insurance company to submit a claim. It’s important to do this immediately after moving in or the insurance company may not reimburse you.

Save Receipts

Keep all receipts and documentation related to your move in one file and store the file in a safe, secure place. Make sure you have your bill of lading and payment receipt. You may be able to claim your move on your next tax return, and you’ll need all the necessary receipts to make your claim.

Make Sure You’re Getting Your Mail

Check with the post office about mail forwarding. Update all important files and documents with your new address and notify everyone who needs to know about your move.

By Kelly Lenihan

Living in Pierce County

Vibrant and diverse, Pierce County is made up of over 20 cities, including urban Tacoma, charming Gig Harbor and home of the Washington State Fair, Puyallup. The County is composed of historic structures and buildings, breathtaking waterfront views, lush rural land, quaint and welcoming suburbs, an ever-industrious energy, and is the neighbor to magnificent Mount Rainier. There is so much to explore and safely engage in, even during this time of social distancing.

Health & Wellness

Nonprofits MultiCare and CHI Franciscan offer pristine services, top-rated physicians, and have several locations in order to be easily accessible to patients. Try local yoga studios, gym facilities, therapy offices and more. Everything you need to keep happy and healthy is nearby. Be sure to check business hours and number of participants that are allowed in the facility.

Get Some Fresh Air

There are many opportunities to get outside and play in Pierce County’s varied terrain. There are over 5,271 acres of available recreation – trails, golf courses, beaches, skateboard pavilions, parks and more. Remember, Mount Rainier National Park is close by. Be sure to check restrictions and regulations before venturing out and stay home if you are feeling under the weather.

Arts & Culture

Our County is alive with creativity and innovation. Immerse yourself at art museums such as the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, and Asia Pacific Cultural Center during their new business hours. Support local artisans and makers by visiting small-town art galleries, downtown boutiques, and local breweries. Dine happily at renowned restaurants and cafes, being sure to follow Pierce County safety regulations.

History

The County celebrates so much of its past by maintaining historic buildings and sites and by offering numerous museums relative to each area. Many historic museums have now re-opened to the public. The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, operated by Metro Parks Tacoma, provides visitors with a look at one of the original settlements on Puget Sound.

By Kelly Lenihan

Your Very Own Cabin Adventure Awaits!

As the weather warms, we start thinking about getting outside and getting away. Fortunately, Washington is renowned for its glorious national parks, fun outdoor activities, wonderful Pacific beaches, and numerous other points of interest. Getting outside and getting away are easy.

Whether you’re planning an enjoyable vacation as a solo traveler, a romantic getaway for two, or a family-friendly adventure, to ensure that you have the most unique experience, skip the hotel and try renting a vacation cabin with hotel-like amenities for a more memorable stay.

The world outside can take a break while you hunker down, find some nature, and truly get away in an idyllic cabin. How does unwinding in a cozy hot tub on the porch sound? Or perhaps dining on the deck as the sun sets over an amazing view? What are you waiting for, your adventure awaits!

Did you know Washington has:

  • Roughly 2,500 miles of marine shoreline, with plenty of access points for beach combing, sailing, pleasure boating, sea kayaking, fishing and whale watching?
  • Twenty-nine officially designated national and state scenic byways—including the nation’s only Marine Highway?
  • Three national parks within state boundaries: Olympic, North Cascades and Mount Rainier?
  • More than 7 million acres of state-managed recreation lands, including access points to parks, wildlife areas and hiking trails?

No matter how you spend your days exploring and playing, after the adventures of the day are done, you will love going home to your very own vacation cabin. The following agencies offer cabin rentals all over Washington state, so whether you prefer rainforests and wild mountain ranges, the moody seashore, or somewhere in between, we’ve got you covered.

For Additional Information

Cabin Escapes | cabinescapes.net

GlampingHub | glampinghub.com

TripAdvisor | tripadvisor.com

Vacasa | vacasa.com

VRBO | vrbo.com

KELLY LENIHAN

Washington College Savings Plans

Washington College Savings Plans, or WA529, is a collection of 529 college savings plans offered by the State of Washington.

WA529 is composed of the Guaranteed Education Tuition, or GET Program, which entails paying tuition in advance at a set price. Value is guaranteed to keep pace with in-state college tuition.

WA529 Benefits

– College savings reduce the need for student loans in the future.

– College savings help motivate your child toward higher education—students who know they have a college savings account are more likely to attend college.

– GET accounts are protected by state law (unique among state-sponsored 529 plans). You can pay a set price now and over time for future tuition. The value is guaranteed to keep pace with tuition, no matter how much it changes in the future.

– Both DreamAhead savings and GET units can be used nearly everywhere—including out-of-state institutions, private schools, community colleges, and even at trade and technical schools. Since 1998, more than 55,000 students have used GET in all 50 states and 15 countries worldwide. 

– If your child gets a scholarship, or decides not to go to college, you can use your funds for room and board, books and other qualified higher education expenses; you can request a refund, or you can transfer the account to another relative of the child (even yourself).

DreamAhead is a 529 college investment plan whose investment returns are tied to financial market performance. Account owners select one of two saving options: year-of-enrollment portfolios where investments automatically adjust over time, or static portfolios, that let you set your investment strategy and stay the same until you make changes.

These two plans offer Washington families a flexible set of college savings options. Families can choose GET, DreamAhead, or both. Neither plan charges an enrollment fee for enrolling online, so it’s easy to start an account.

What’s New for 2020

The SECURE Act, enacted at the end of 2019, includes new provisions that allow 529 Plan account owners to withdraw assets to pay for certain apprenticeship programs, and to pay principal and interest on qualified higher education loans for the beneficiary or any of the beneficiary’s siblings. For more detailed information on this change, visit: get.wa.gov/Secure_Act

Compare Washington 529 Plans | wastate529.wa.gov

GET 529 Prepaid Tuition Program | get.wa.gov

DreamAhead 529 College Investment Plan | dreamahead.wa.gov

KELLY LENIHAN

Take Your Appetite To Mt. Rainier

A visit to Mt. Rainier in the fall is like no other. The colors are breathtaking, and that’s not all. If you’re planning a visit soon, and you love tasty, fresh food, consider spending the day on a chef-led, farm-to-table tour.

The tour will have you gathering ingredients from local micro farms, farmstead creameries and award-winning local butcheries. You’ll meet the farmers and ranchers and learn firsthand about organic farming, sustainable farming, the art of cheese-making and butchery. The full-day tour concludes with a special dinner from the foraged finds, prepared by Chef Ky Loop.

“Chef Ky,” as he is locally known, is passionate about cooking. “Food, especially good food, speaks to your soul,” he says. “So many things in our lives revolve around food. Just like our ancient ancestors huddled around the fire (where the cooking happened), so do we in a sense (party guests always end up in the kitchen). During a chef-led, farm-to-table tour, we provide the food, you provide the party, and together we’ll create a lasting memory.”

The day starts with everyone meeting at a local coffee shop about 9 a.m. From there the group heads off to visit the farms and meet the farmers. Participants learn what the farmers do, enjoy tastings and then select ingredients for dinner. Some of the places in the tour include Fantello Farmstead Creamery, Mason Jar Farm or Cedar Spring Farm, Olson’s Meats & Smokehouse, L & B Mini Ranch, and a local brewery or two.

The tour wraps up between 2 and 3 p.m. and then everyone enjoys some free time exploring the area or relaxing while Chef Ky prepares dinner. About 5:30, the group gathers at Pursuit Distilling Company to dine together and talk about what they’re eating, how the ingredients were used, and so on. It’s a delicious experience to be sure.

KELLY LENIHAN

For Additional Information

Chef-Led Food Tours with Chef Ky Loop

253.569.7150

chefky.com

Northwest Fresh: In the Mood for Sushi?

Sushi is cultural and artistic and can be wonderfully addictive. The Japanese dish begins with bite-sized cakes of cold boiled rice flavored with rice vinegar. The cakes are rolled in seaweed with, or topped with, raw fish, vegetables or egg. Sushi does not always mean raw fish. But raw fish—sashimi in Japanese—is the most popular ingredient in sushi.

What makes sushi great is the simplicity of the food and the complexity of the flavor. Serious sushi chefs study for decades to master these tasty bites. The ingredients for makizushi (sushi rolls) are chosen so that taste, texture and even colors complement each other. The rolls are served sliced into disks so diners can see the artistic work inside.

At traditional omakase-style places, you can usually order a set of sushi with a fixed price. Or you can order your favorite sushi pieces as you eat your meal. Sushi connoisseurs recommend that nigiri, a slice of fish atop a strip of rice, is best enjoyed by turning it upside down to place the fish side on the tongue.

Ready to tantalize your taste buds with delectable Japanese delicacies? Here’s a list of sushi spots in the South Sound.

LACEY

Koibito
730 Sleater Kinney Rd SE
sushiolympia.com

OLYMPIA

Aya Sushi
1540 Cooper Point Rd SW

Osaka
7265 Martin Way East
osakajapanese.com

Red Wind Casino—Seafood Restaurant
12819 Yelm Hwy SE
redwindcasino.com/dining/seafood-restaurant

PUYALLUP

Forever Sushi
4301 South Meridian
fspuyallup.com

Sushi & Wok
5610 176th St East

Sushi Ari
206 39th Ave SW
sushiari.com

GIG HARBOR

Domo Sushi
4901 Point Fosdick Dr NW
domosushi.co

Mizu Steakhouse
3116 Judson St
mizusteakhouse.com

TACOMA

Gari of Sushi
1209 South 38th St
gariofsushi.net

Mio Sushi
5051 Main St
miosushi.com

Sushi Tama
3919 6th Ave
sushitamarestaurant.com

Sushido
1620 South Mildred St
sushidowa.com

The Koi
1552 Commerce St
thekoitacoma.com

LAKEWOOD

Hanilkwan Sushi & Grill
3615 Steilacoom Blvd SW

Jin Sushi
8904 South Tacoma Way
jinsushi.multiscreensite.com

UNIVERSITY PLACE

Sapporo Steakhouse
3810 Bridgeport Way West
sapporosteakhouse.com

KELLY LENIHAN

Getting Fresh with Farm-to-Table Dining

One of the best parts of dining out is reading through a menu full of delectable dishes. Each description makes you hungrier as you try to decide from an array of appetizing options. But do you ever wonder where that food comes from? Or if it’s fresh? Fortunately, many dining establishments are making a shift toward providing farm-to-table foods. When you see the terms farm-to-table, locally sourced, farm-fresh or farm-to-fork on a menu, you know the restaurant has a direct relationship with a farm. But what does this really mean?

Farm-to-table, at its heart, can be defined as a social movement in which restaurants source their ingredients from local farms without going through a store, market or distributor. Farm-to-table promotes “clean” eating that guarantees fresh, healthy food. Local organic farming, community support, seasonal eating and environmental sustainability are the greatest benefits of this booming movement.

Most recently, the farm-to-table movement has led chefs and restaurant owners to get increasingly involved in the growing of their ingredients, even buying their own farms. As the Wall Street Journal put it, a shift is underfoot from “simply sourcing to becoming the source.”

We are lucky to have a delicious array of restaurants featuring locally sourced, farm-fresh menus in the South Sound.

Here are a few of our favorites:

TACOMA

Art House Cafe
111 North Tacoma Ave
253.212.2011 | arthousecafe.com

Montamara Kitchen
2208 North 30th St
253.314.5892 | montamarakitchen.com

Primo Grill
2701 6th Ave
253.383.7000 | primogrilltacoma.com

Sel
229 St Helens Ave
253.327.1015

The Table
2715 6th Ave
253.327.1862 |thetabletacoma.com

STEILACOOM

De La Terre
1606 Lafayette St
253.584.0258 | restaurantdelaterre.com

OLYMPIA

Hart’s Mesa
111 Columbia St NW
360.878.8490 | facebook.com/hartsmesa

Iron Rabbit Restaurant & Bar
2103 Harrison Ave NW
360.956.3661 | ironrabbit.net

Our Table
406 4th Ave E
360.932.6030 | ourtableolympia.com

GIG HARBOR

Table 47
5268 Point Fosdick Dr NW
253.857.4777 | t47.com

The Green Turtle
2905 Harborview Dr
253.650.0490 | thegreenturtle.com

KELLY LENIHAN

Summer Camps & Kid-Friendly Activities

DAY & OVERNIGHT CAMPS

Summer camp offers children an experience all their own without Mom or Dad supervising their every move or decision. Yes, camp counselors are keeping a close watch. But kids away from home become more resilient and learn how to do more things on their own. Summer camp helps kids have enriching experiences, be a part of a special community, form new relationships and grow. For parents, the best part is watching the kids become more confident because of activities they were doing at camp.

A summer full of memories, growth, experience, and friends—what could be better?

Camp Fire Orca campfireorca.org

Cascade Christian THRIVE cascadechristian.org/thrive

Coding with Kids codingwithkids.com

Harbor WildWatch harborwildwatch.org

PenMet Parks penmetparks.org

Pierce County Park Camps piercecountywa.org/1423/Camps

Salvation Army Camp Arnold tsacamparnold.org

YMCA Summer Day Camp symcapkc.org/camp/summer-2019

YMCA Camp Seymour Overnight campseymour.org

SUMMER FUN FOR FAMILIES

If summer camp isn’t your thing, or you prefer to spend time as a family, there are plenty of activities, programs and classes to keep you busy this summer. Choose from a wide range of recreational activities for all ages and abilities—early childhood, youth, adult or people with disabilities. Whether sports, fitness and wellness classes, or other activities, there is plenty of fun for everyone!

Auburn Kids SummerStage auburnwa.gov

Hands On Children’s Museum hocm.org/summersplashfestival

Kindermusik at Kiddos & Kin kiddosandkin.com

Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & Farm lattinscider.com

Museums & Nature Centers metroparkstacoma.org/attractions

Music Off Main rhubarbpiecapital.com/event/music-off-main-9

Open Arts Studio openartsstudio.com

Puget Sound Estuarium sseacenter.org

Star Center metroparkstacoma.org/star

Tiptoe Through the Tidepools tacomanaturecenter.org

Tunes @ Tapps ci.bonney-lake.wa.us.org

KELLY LENIHAN

New to Pierce County?

After moving, you might need to file a change of address, update your car registration and get your license. Getting chummy with the neighbors might also be a swell idea.

Update Your Drivers License

What: If you’re moving to Pierce County from out of state, you need to apply for a Washington state driver’s license.
When: Within 30 days of moving
Where: Your local DMV office (skip the long lines by scheduling an appointment online) dol.wa.gov

Register Your Car

What: If you’re moving to Pierce County from another state or country and bringing a vehicle, you need to transfer the title to Washington.
When: As a new resident, you have 30 days to register and title your vehicle after moving to Washington. You can send in your paperwork by mail or visit your local licensing office in person to complete the forms to get your license plates.
Where: Your local DMV office dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration

Register to Vote

What: If you are new to Washington state, becoming a registered voter here will ensure that you have a say in local and state government, as well as in national elections.
When: By 11:59:59 p.m. on the 15th day before Election Day. NOTE: Washington residents vote by mail.
Where: Online, by mail or at the DMV sos.wa.gov/elections

Get a Pet License

What: It’s the law. License fees help fund the cost of shelter and medical care for lost pets, as well as animal control. Pet licenses help animal control officers to reunite lost pets with their families.
When: Within 30 days of moving
Where: Depending on the city you live in, this link makes it easy to get your pet licensed in Pierce County: piercecountypets.org/petlicensing

Use Public Transportation

What: Pierce Transit operates buses throughout Pierce County. Where: Find your closest stop at piercetransit.org

Get a Library Card

What: Pierce County Library System’s 18 locations bring people together, enrich lives and provide children and adults with opportunities to learn. Library cards are free. You can apply online at piercecountylibrary.org
Where: To obtain a physical library card, visit your local library with photo ID and proof of address.

KELLY LENIHAN