Warm-Weather Wellness Tips for Seniors

Warmer weather often awakens a desire to get outside and be active. But seniors who have a higher sensitivity to heat need to use caution when making plans in the sun.

Put on Your Walking Shoes

Walking is an excellent physical activity. And doing so in a park or forest is a great way to connect with nature. Joining a group can also be an easy way to meet new friends. Choose terrain—and supportive shoes—suitable for your activity level and balance.

Take an Exercise Class

Get your endorphins flowing! Yoga, pilates or tai chi can all improve balance and flexibility, decreasing the chance of falling. Water aerobics is good for those with arthritis or chronic pain. Or try low-impact sports such as horseshoes, miniature golf, bocce ball, bean bags, badminton or croquet.

Get Outside and Garden

Gardening can be as calming and relaxing as an hour of meditation. Digging, planting and weeding can improve strength, flexibility and agility. If you don’t have a garden, consider volunteering at a local park.

Lighten Up Your Diet

With fruits and vegetables coming into season, it’s time to enjoy salads, light soups and other lighter fare. Farmers markets provide an opportunity to get outdoors and select healthful foods for dinner.

Stay Hydrated

As we age, our ability to notice thirst may decrease, so keep an eye on your water intake, especially when you’re outdoors in the sun. At home, drink water and herbal tea rather than other beverages.

Watch for Allergies

Summertime can mean allergy season, so pay attention to allergy forecasts. Untreated allergies are uncomfortable and can lead to breathing problems or sinus infections. Your doctor can recommend or prescribe a treatment to help prevent serious respiratory problems.

Check the Side Effects of Your Prescriptions

Some medications increase sun sensitivity. Find out whether you need to take extra precautions. Following other suggestions on this list will help you avoid problems.

Relish the Outdoors

Enjoy the great outdoors with a picnic! Just remember to pick an area with comfortable seating and shade, even if it’s in your own backyard. Bird-watching and photography are two other pastimes to stimulate the mind and body. If you love to shop, flea markets are a fun summertime activity. Just remember to protect yourself with sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and bug repellent.

KELLY LENIHAN

Molen Ortho Changes Lives 1 Smile at a Time

Braces are a rite of passage that preteens and adolescents have endured for decades. Many of us have vivid memories of painful extractions, wires poking our inner cheeks and headgear worn in unflattering photos. Those traumas are a thing of the past for patients at Molen Orthodontics. The family business has created confident smiles in the South Sound for nearly 50 years.

“The way we do orthodontics is different,” says Aaron Molen, DDS. “We focus on the smile, in addition to the face and lips, to design more natural and curved smile arcs. Our patients receive the most beautiful and aesthetic smiles possible.”

Parents are encouraged to bring in their child at an early age for an initial evaluation. “We like to see kids right after their 7th birthday. Few need treatment at this age, but it allows us to capture baseline records and monitor their growth to make more informed treatment decisions,” notes Dr. Aaron, as he’s known in the office, to avoid confusion between him and his brother Dr. Rick Molen or their father, Dr. Bruce Molen, who has been a pioneer in adopting innovative treatments, such as orthodontic expansion.

“Between the ages of 8 and 10, we have a window of opportunity, before the suture in the roof of the mouth fuses closed, to gently work with nature to make the jaws wider,” explains Dr. Aaron. “This allows teeth to come in less crowded and also, research has shown, opens the airway, improving a child’s ability to breathe.” Better breathing, he says, results in better sleep at night and more alertness during the day.

Beyond the clinical side of treatment, the Molen Orthodontics team keeps patients motivated by making office visits fun. Reception areas offer games, complimentary beverages and ice cream, and massage chairs. A rewards program lets patients earn prizes. Completed treatment plans are celebrated with cheers and red-carpet walks.“Rick and I grew up here and now we’re raising our own kids here. We’re passionate about caring for patients in this community,” says Dr. Aaron. “Our mission is to change lives one smile at a time.”

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

MOLEN ORTHODONTICS
253.939.2552
Offices in Auburn, Enumclaw, and Sumner/Bonney Lake
molenorthodontics.com

Service at the Heart of Light Dental Studios

We can all agree on the qualities for the ideal dental provider: round-the-clock service, free consultations, same-day appointments, entire-family bookings, empathetic service and affordable care. It’s nearly impossible to find a full combination of such attributes. But then there’s Light Dental Studios.

Based in Puyallup, the dentist-owned company—with 14 locations, 37 dentists and more than 180 employees in the South Puget Sound—has customer service at the core of its mission.

“We try to treat people the way we would want to be treated,” says owner and CEO Dr. Steven Broughton, who bought his first office from a former dentist in Puyallup in 1997. “People say our practice feels like we’re all neighbors, like they’re just going down the street for friendly dental care.”

With hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. including Saturdays, doctors available 24/7, free consultations, same-day appointments, and entire-family same-day care, Light Dental Studios has solutions patients need. “We’re trying to make dentistry effortless by making it about our patients, not the dentists,” says Broughton. “Our schedule accommodates their schedule, not the other way around. Our doctors are always available, and almost all procedures are done in-house.”

Besides standard dental checkups, treatments and other services, Light Dental Studios offers on-site orthodontics, implants, surgeries and dentures. Children’s dental care is also offered. In fact, the offices frequently schedule care for entire families side-by-side on the same day to save time.

Light Dental Studios also gives back to the community at the annual South Sound Free Dental Day. That’s when the staff donates its time and skills to give away more than $90,000 worth of dental work—including fillings and extractions—on a first come, first-served basis. “We want patients to feel comfortable,” Broughton says. “Our first goal is to provide same-day treatment.” Broughton notes that Light Dental Studios will continue to add offices over the upcoming years in growing family locations.

He attributes the increasing growth of his practice to the convenience for patients of evening and Saturday hours and same-day appointments.

LEAH GROUT

LIGHT DENTAL STUDIOS
lightdentalstudios.com

Tacoma Nature Center: Celebrating 40 Years

For 40 years, the Tacoma Nature Center has been a vital part of the South Sound community. To commemorate this milestone, the center has planned special anniversary celebration events and programs all year long.

Today the Tacoma Nature Center is a 71-acre nature preserve encompassing Snake Lake and the surrounding wetlands and forest. For many years, however, Snake Lake didn’t rate more attention than a wasteland. Its wet and brushy surroundings were visited most often by kids who bushwhacked in to fish or catch frogs.

The heart of the serpentine body of water has belonged to Metro Parks Tacoma since 1928, but the park property was neglected for decades. That all changed in the spring of 1969 when leaders of Tacoma’s budding environmental movement set out to preserve what is now a treasured resource. It took 10 more years of planning and lobbying for public money before the official opening of the center.

Now, 40 years after its opening, the Tacoma Nature Center is recognized as a cradle of environmental awareness. It aims to introduce children and young families to the importance of wetlands and wildlife conservation in an urban setting. “We all owe a great debt to the farsighted people who stepped in to save Snake Lake when it could have been filled in to make way for Highway 16,” said Aaron Pointer, president of the Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners. “Their efforts to preserve this urban oasis should be a model for all because of the critical need to protect and sustain the natural world for future generations.”

The Tacoma Nature Center enables visitors to develop a connection with and appreciation for the natural world year-round. They can stroll nature trails to observe native birds, animals and plants; peruse fascinating exhibits and collections; and participate in exciting nature programs and summer day camps.

“This has always been a special place for families and we are thrilled to share how much we have grown over the last 40 years,” says Michele Cardinaux, supervisor of the Tacoma Nature Center. “As part of our yearlong celebration, we’re especially excited about our Family Adventure Challenge, which will be running July-August.” Families can choose activities from the events calendar and earn points for each activity completed. Prizes will be awarded, says Cardinaux, “but the family camaraderie and connecting with nature are priceless.”

KELLY LENIHAN

TACOMA NATURE CENTER
1919 South Tyler St, Tacoma
253.404.3930
metroparkstacoma.org/tacomanaturecenter

Giving Back in the 253

In any community, a sense of “community” is built on the connections made through unique groups of people that support one another. When I moved to Tacoma five years ago, I was wanting to know my neighbors, to feel that my community supported one another, and to find ways to give back. Quickly, I learned that the 253 has an abundance of opportunities for giving of time or financial resources. I encourage you to join me in this building of community.

If you are looking to give time, the South Sound region is filled with organizations that would love to have you as a volunteer. You can choose to focus on a wide range of interests: recreation, arts, social justice, health and education, to name a few. If you are passionate about education and the development of younger generations, a good place to start is in our schools. Outside of the schools, nonprofits often look for volunteers to do administrative tasks or provide program support.

Two good ways to find out about service opportunities are to join the Volunteers group on Facebook or visit the nonprofit websites listed on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation page.

When you feel your roots settling into the 253 and your heart is called to give back, but your time is limited, a monetary gift can provide hope and resources throughout the South Sound. “Philanthropy” is often misperceived as giving big financial gifts, but a gift of $20 a month goes a long way in creating a sustainable community. For Emergency Food Network, for example, every dollar you donate provides $12 worth of nutritious food for our neighbors in need. Philanthropy in any amount promotes the welfare of others. Your generous gift could change lives.

To find local organizations that qualify for tax-exempt giving, visit the nonprofit listing on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation page.

gtcf.org/community/directory

facebook.com/greatertacoma

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.

Healthy Feet Are A Foundation For A Healthy Life

Experiencing recurring pain in your feet or suffering with an injury can significantly reduce your mobility, affect your overall wellness, and leave you feeling off balance. To get you back to your daily routine and the activities you enjoy, the team at Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates can provide a diagnosis and begin a treatment plan during your first clinic visit.

“I think we do a better, faster job at getting from diagnosis to cure,” says Terrence Hess, DPM. Hess and his colleagues utilize industry-leading diagnostic imaging, such as weightbearing 3D CT scans and X-ray, in conjunction with ultrasound, to assess the health of a patient’s feet during the initial evaluation appointment. The findings are shared right
away, so treatment options can be discussed and started immediately, when possible.

Many foot ailments can be solved with nonsurgical treatments. Custom orthotics for shoes and physical therapy are common. Advanced problems, such as diabetic wounds, may require regenerative medicine therapies to accelerate the healing process. If surgery is necessary, most procedures can be done at the clinic and allow you to return home the same day.

To keep your feet healthy for the long term, visiting a podiatrist for preventive care is key, says Hess. “Just as you go to the eye doctor or dentist routinely, you don’t want to wait until a problem arises with your feet,” he explains.

Receiving regular checkups can help identify problems in the early stages when they are easier to treat.

Evaluations for children can be especially beneficial. Family history, physical development and learned habits can lead to problems later on. Hess emphasizes that assessing the structure and function of feet at a young age allows for corrections to be made that can have lifelong benefits.

Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates clinics can be found in Olympia, Tumwater, Centralia, Yelm and Tacoma. New patients are welcome.

FOOT & ANKLE SURGICAL ASSOCIATES
360.754.3338
anklefoot.net

Health Starts Where We Live, Work and Play

Healthy choices should be convenient choices for everyone in Western Washington. That’s why Pierce County medical providers are helping families live healthier lives, through programs and services in medical clinics and hospitals throughout our communities.

Tacoma health care quality comes down to access, affordability and outcomes. Out of 39 counties in Washington, Pierce County ranks 24 for health outcomes, 26 for health factors, and 33 for healthy behaviors. Research indicates that a healthy lifestyle may prevent up to 70 percent of common life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Since 2005, Pierce County Gets Fit & Healthy, a countywide initiative to promote the importance of healthy eating and active living, has provided tools to help everyone get fit and healthy. It is a major collaborative effort, led by the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Best of all, it’s easy to participate. Whatever your health challenge, whatever your fitness goals, Pierce County Gets Fit & Healthy has something for you.

Sure, healthy living is a long-term commitment, but there are steps you can take right now that will make you healthier today than yesterday and pave the way for healthy living tomorrow. Since Pierce County has 50 park sites totaling over 4,200 acres, why not find a walking buddy and get out on one of many walking trails right away? Not sure where to start? Check out the handy walking guide for beginners listed at right.

Health Care Resources
co.pierce.wa.us/1990/Health-Careco.pierce.wa.us/1990/Health-Ca
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YMCA
ymcapkc.org/programs-classes/healthy-lifestyle
s

Hospitals washington.hometownlocator.com/features/cultural,class,hospital,scfips,53053.cfm

Medical Clinics
co.pierce.wa.us/554/Medical-Clinic
s

Emergency Services
co.pierce.wa.us/930/Emergency-Medical-Services-EMS Senior

Centers/Resources
co.pierce.wa.us/1997/Senior-Centers

Caregiver Support
co.pierce.wa.us/1979/Caregiver-Support

Parent Help 123
parenthelp123.org

Maternal Child Outreach
tpchd.org/healthy-people/family-health/expectant-mothers

Community Health Care
commhealth.org

Children With Special Health Care Needs
tpchd.org/healthy-people/family-health/children-with-special-healthcare-needs

Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department
tpchd.org

Walking Guide
tpchd.org/healthy-people/physical-activity/walking-guide

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 for 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

Living in Pierce County

Pierce County may be one of the most geographically diverse counties in the nation, from the miles of marine shoreline along Puget Sound to the summit of Mount Rainier, one of the most glaciated mountain peaks in the continental U.S. With first-rate health care, school districts, and transportation and a unique combination of urban and rural areas, Pierce County is the perfect place to call home. Whether you prefer a small town, major metropolis, or something in between, Pierce County is home to numerous cities and towns offering an array of qualities. Urbanites are drawn to downtown Tacoma for its competitively priced living spaces with sweeping mountain, city and water views. Families gravitate toward Tacoma’s charming neighborhoods with big-city amenities. Pierce County communities are unique—enjoy rhubarb pie in Sumner, antiques in Puyallup, maritime in Gig Harbor, majestic gardens in Lakewood, history in Fife, or nature in the rural areas near Mount Rainier—it’s all here. BY KELLY LENIHAN

WEATHER

The Pacific Northwest is known for its rain. But the temperate climate of Pierce County averages only 39.9 inches of rainfall a year (less than most cities on the East Coast!).

TRANSPORTATION

Travel by land, air and water with the Port of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Sound Transit’s rail and bus system. The Pierce County Ferry, Amtrak and Pierce Transit are just a few more examples of the convenient transportation systems available.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Ready to go out and explore? Whether you’re interested in dining and nightlife, the performing arts, museums, shopping, farmers markets, hiking, golfing, and more—we’ve got you covered!

SCHOOLS

Exceptional academic institutions and learning experiences can be found in Pierce County. Please refer to our Education section for more information and resources.

LIBRARIES

Visit any of the eight Tacoma libraries or 19 Pierce County Library branches. Many services are available online: You can apply for a library card, request books, check the monthly calendar for events and classes, Ask a Librarian, and more.

PARKS, FACILITIES & TRAILS

There is something for everyone when you explore over 4,200 acres at 50 park sites throughout Pierce County, including three recreation centers, a sports complex, ice rink, skateboard park, two boat launch sites, two golf courses, trail corridors, a disc golf course. If you don’t want to leave Fido home, visit any of the dog-friendly parks.

HEALTH CARE

MultiCare Health System is a leading-edge, nonprofit, integrated health organization. It operates four hospitals and numerous clinics serving patients at 93 locations. Franciscan Health System is a comprehensive health care organization operating hospitals, same-day surgery centers, occupational health services, physical therapy clinics and centers for advanced medicine featuring state-of-the-art technology.

MILITARY

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, one of 12 joint bases worldwide, is an amalgamation of the Army post Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. JBLM has more than 25,000 soldiers and civilian workers. The joint base supports over 120,000 military retirees and more than 29,000 family members living both on and off post. Adjacent to JBLM, Camp Murray is home to the Washington National Guard and the Washington Air National Guard. The two armories at Camp Murray can be used for graduations, receptions, tournaments, youth events, potlucks, seminars and charity events.