— By Dana E. Neuts Last year, Lucia Bodenheimer’s husband was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia. A friend referred her to Elder Services, part of the statewide Family Caregiver Support Program. Bodenheimer, 78, of Spokane, now attends twice-monthly meetings to discuss concerns and get support from fellow caregivers. “I found myself in a situation I knew nothing about,” she said. “I felt like I was drowning and I needed a life jacket. This supplied that life jacket with a …

— A new state law backed by AARP Washington aims to improve communication between hospitals and family caregivers and to ease patients’ transitions back home. The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act, which took effect June 9, directs hospitals to notify a designated caregiver before a patient is discharged and to show the caregiver how to perform follow-up tasks the patient will need at home. Washington is the 24th state to enact such a law. In a recent AARP survey, more …

— By Vanessa Ho When Char Tait’s mother was living in long-term care facilities, Tait was grateful for the volunteer ombudsmen who visited her mother and helped explain her legal rights as a resident. “It gave her a voice she didn’t think she had,” said Tait, who lives in the Chelan County town of Manson. The experience inspired Tait to volunteer as an ombudsman in 2011. Now 69, Tait spends six to eight hours a week visiting a handful of long-term …

— By Dana E. Neuts Theresa Stringer, 75, and her husband, Edward, 80, of Forks, have been taking the Dungeness Line from Port Angeles to Seattle for doctors’ appointments for 10 years. Edward, an amputee with Parkinson’s disease, uses a wheelchair, but with the help of trained drivers and a lift-equipped bus, he is able to make the three-hour trip to Seattle safely. Because the Stringers no longer drive, the Dungeness Line is a convenient, affordable way to travel. Instead of …

— By Leslee Jaquette It has been 13 years since June Palon’s husband, Bob, died of leukemia. But she remembers how lost she felt trying to care for him when he was released from the hospital on weekend furloughs. His oncologist preferred that the 74-year-old cancer patient remain in the hospital for treatment. But at Bob’s insistence, he was allowed to go home several weekends before being discharged to hospice care. He died shortly after. The main problem, said June, now …

— AARP honors local family caregiver Stuart Seibel of Yakima with the Washington state “Portrait of Care”. “One might think that the toughest part of caregiving would revolve around shopping, cooking, clearing and other household duties but it’s not,” says Stuart. “The greatest challenge is keeping a positive attitude, along with faith and hope, not only for Carol, the patient, but also for myself as caregiver. Years ago I was taught, ‘Attitude is everything.’ This is so vital with illnesses, probably …

— Apologies, but our Life Reimagined event with Rick Steves (Dec. 10) is full and registration is closed.  You’ll still be able to catch each of our Life Reimagined speakers on KCTS-TV.  Check out their “Inspiring a Smarter You” series online for highlights of each event. KUOW in Seattle is also planning on recording Rick’s presentation for their “Speakers Forum” series.  Keep an eye out on this website for information on the air date. ————————————————————————————————————————- Sometimes life takes you in a …

— Trudy James of Seattle never imagined herself as a filmmaker. She spent her career as a hospital chaplain and worked with AIDS patients for 20 years. But at the age of 75, she decided she had a story to tell and a mission to fulfill. She had been presenting workshops on planning for death and dying and during one of these groups, she met a participant who was a documentary filmmaker. Over coffee, Trudy and her new friend, photographer and …

— By Vanessa Ho Lois Jones has been driving for 55 years but still learns plenty of new things every time she takes an AARP Driver Safety class. This year she learned about bike boxes, rules for double-laned roundabouts, and other tips to help her drive safely and confidently. “I always feel like I’ve gotten the latest strategies on driving and being aware of other drivers, and how I can handle that,” said Jones, 71, of Seattle. January was the third …

Julie Lee

— By Julie E. Lee From recycling, to sustainable grocery bags, to “Meatless Mondays,” Americans are finding many ways to “go green.” If you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint, making environmentally conscious decisions doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there is one simple way to curb your impact on a regular basis. It starts with your driving. Most Americans rely on their personal vehicle to get around on a daily basis. But unfortunately, our cars are a significant source …