Lisa Autry

At the age of 107, Marguerite Carter played the piano in her Allen County home earlier this month. That alone is pretty amazing, but try living through two "once-in-a-lifetime" pandemics. 

Carter has done just that. 

Margy, as her family calls her, lives in a two-story log house on a 60-acre horse farm in Allen County.  Her son and daughter-in-law also live on the property.  Earlier this month, the family invited me to the place Margy has called home for the past 40 years.

On a sunny and warm March day, Margy and her family were waiting for me on the patio outside her home.  She wore a red sweater, a blue plaid, pleated skirt, and red hat to keep the sun off her face. 

A centuray ago, Margy lived on a farm in Nebraska as a young child during the Spanish Flu of 1918.

"I suppose about six," Carter recalled of her age at the time.

Blake Cleary

Kentucky now has more than 400 COVID-19 vaccination sites, but many elderly, disabled, or low-income residents don’t have transportation to get the vaccine.

A Bowling Green man taking a gap year between college and law school noticed the problem and created a free service to help fill the transportation void. The first ride provided by COVID Vaccine Transport  is scheduled for Thursday, March 4.

The idea for the free transportation service grew from Blake Cleary’s job as a runner for a Bowling Green law firm, bringing legal papers to clients who couldn’t get to the office. He realized those same homebound people would likely face similar challenges getting to COVID-19 vaccination sites.        

Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg School of Public Health

The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations is ramping up quickly across Kentucky, with large regional centers and pharmacies providing more access.

But one of the challenges is how to vaccinate the homebound elderly.

Many Kentuckians who are homebound are in the current priority groups for vaccinations. That includes the 1B group for those over age 70, and the 1C group for those 60 and older.

The challenges for many of these older adults include a lack of computer skills, internet access or transportation.

Rhonda J. Miller

The Bingocize program based at Western Kentucky University has been awarded a federal grant of $504,000 to expand into 60 additional Certified Nursing Facilities in Tennessee.

The program that's a combination of exercise and bingo, and focuses on balance, fall prevention, range of motion, and mobility for older adults, is already in 40 nursing homes in the Volunteer State.

Bingocize was created by WKU Associate Professor of Exercise Science Jason Crandall and is based at the Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging, or CASHA, in Bowling Green.

The new grant brings the total federal funding to more than $1 million to expand the project, with a goal of having it in 100 nursing homes in Tennessee.

Harli Marten/Unsplash

A new study found that Kentucky is the worst state in the nation to retire. The study by the personal finance website WalletHub is based on factors including affordability, health care, and overall quality of life. 

The survey also ranked states on whether they have an elder-friendly labor market, because many older adults continue to work at least part-time to make ends meet.   

Kentucky’s rank of 48 in health care, and 46 in quality of life, helped drag it to the bottom of the list.

Green River Area Development District

Nearly 100 volunteers will fan out across the Green River area of Kentucky on Oct. 22 to deliver bags of groceries to more than 500 low-income seniors.

The program is called ‘Feed Seniors Now’ and it’s coordinated by the Green River Area Development District, or GRADD.

This is the eighth year of the project. Volunteers pack and deliver bags with canned fruits and vegetables, breakfast items, pasta, tuna, peanut butter and other nonperishable items.

On delivery morning volunteers add a quarter-size ham and hot dogs donated by Kentucky Legend. 

Jennifer Williams is associate director for aging and social services for GRADD. She said last year the program delivered food to 504 seniors, and this year that number is up to 545.

Flickr/Stannah International

A new study by the personal finance website WalletHub finds that Kentucky’s two largest cities are not the best places to retire. 

The WalletHub survey ranked 180 metro areas based on metrics that include affordability, quality of life, health care, and recreational activities.

Only Kentucky’s two largest cities were included in the study: Louisville came in at 133 and Lexington at 148.

Tennessee has two cities that came in with a higher ranking, with Nashville at 68 and Chattanooga at 106.

In the Hoosier State, Indianapolis came in with a weak showing at 157 out of the 180 metro areas surveyed.

Randy Daniels with Signature Healthcare

Earlier in June, a Hodgenville nursing home was the last of three in Kentucky operated by Signature Healthcare to stage a play guided by a team of Kentucky and national artists.

The team’s aspirations: to improve residents’ quality of life, their cognitive abilities, attitudes about the elderly — and even residents’ medical outcomes.

Reporter Elizabeth Kramer went to Sunrise Manor Nursing Home in Larue County, where choreographer Kevin Iaga Jeff recently led more than a dozen residents pushed by caretakers or family members as they rehearsed a big dance number.

Webster County

The new Webster County Senior Center opens June 19 and will offer expanded services to elders in the community.

The new senior center in the town of Dixon is housed in the buildling previously used by the county ambulance service.

The completely renovated facility now includes a kitchen, community meeting rooms, exercise areas and space for crafts and other activities.

"This will be a chance for our county to show appreciation for those residents who have spent their lives making Webster County the place it is today, " said Judge Executive Steve Henry.

Lisa Gillespie

Gene Emerson is a gregarious character — but he wasn’t always this way. In 2003, his wife of 42 years died.

“I had a couple of bad years after I lost my wife. It was kindly bad, you know?” Emerson said. “I got depressed and lost about 30 pounds. And I was weak.”

It was around that time he started going to the Casey County Senior Center, and met his current girlfriend.

“For the first couple of years, I just, wasn’t too much interested,” Emerson said. And then I got to feeling better, and the women started looking good again.”

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

About one-quarter of Kentucky residents age 50 and older who live in regions around Louisville, Owensboro, Bowling Green and Elizabethtown are burdened by high housing costs that require 30-to-50 percent of their income. That’s according to Housing Americans Older Adults 2018, a new report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

That housing burden is about the same for residents around Evansville, Indiana and Nashville, Tennessee.

Rhonda J. Miller

Western Kentucky University is launching a new center focusing on the health and wellness of the growing demographic of older adults in the state and the nation. The new Bowling Green facility opens Sept. 11.

The Center for Applied Science in Health and Aging combines several research specialties, including exercise, communication and psychology.  The center will expand current projects that take a holistic approach to the issues facing older Kentuckians.