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Montana is the oldest state west of the Mississippi, and is growing older as more Montanans enter their senior years. The economic, cultural, and personal impacts of that trend present Montanans with new challenges, and new opportunities for change. Graying Pains, launching in March 2020, is a six-month series of weekly stories and broadcasts exploring how Montanans can improve with age.

L to R: Linda Haverty, Kendra Gonzales and Mary Frame. Elderly adults feel they are treated with respect and teens feel they are making a difference.
Photo courtesy of Trish Lopez.

by Keely Larson, The Madisonian

What technology, adults and teens have in common


Seeley Swan Resource Specialist Linda Howard was integral in helping develop a structure to support seniors through the Seeley Lake Senior Center when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Because she had firsthand awareness of the needs of the community, she was able to coordinate the necessary resources to facilitate a meeting March 18 on how to provide meals to area seniors during the pandemic.
Andi Bourne, Seeley Swan Pathfinder

Building community from the inside

by Andi Bourne, Seeley Swan Pathfinder

Aging in place in the Seeley-Swan, with help from a local who knows the ropes

After shopping at The Corner Store, Whitehall resident Bruce Ball boards a Whitehall Public Transportation bus driven by LeRoy Murphy Feb. 21, 2020. (Ball has since passed away.)
John Blodgett / Boulder Monitor

Getting older, and still getting around

by John Blodgett, Boulder Monitor

Transportation is a major quality-of-life challenge for rural seniors. An agency in Whitehall has found a solution.

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How the world’s oldest nation cares for its elderly

by David Erickson, Missoulian

Montana, the oldest state in the western United States, faces many of the same problems as Japan, the world’s oldest country. Might there be solutions for Montana in what looks to be a successful experiment enacted two decades ago to help pay for elder care in Japan?

A rancher uses a bail spreader to feed his cattle on a family ranch outside Boulder, Mont. There are 27,048 farms in Montana, according to the 2017 census of agriculture provided by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Thom Bridge, Independent Record

On-the-farm training

by Brendan Heidner, Glendive Ranger-Review

Not everyone who is interested in agriculture grows up on a farm, and without the skills and experience, finding your way into a family farm operation as a new producer is difficult. Dawson Community College may have found an answer in the fertile fields of Iowa.

Hugh Spencer, a 68-year-old poultry farmer near Plains, checks on one of his three chicken barns, where he raises about 6,000 chickens for egg production. Thom Bridge / Independent Record
Thom Bridge / Independent Record

Farm to future

by Nolan Lister, Independent Record

With more than half of all ag producers in Montana either past or close to retirement age, family farms face a demographic reckoning.

Montana State University Extension Agent Jane Wolery, near right, leads class participants in seated leg lifts at a session of the StrongPeople class last fall in the Choteau Baptist Church fellowship hall.
Vonnie Jacobson/Choteau Acantha

Aging into independence

by Melody Martinsen, Choteau Acantha

A low-cost, high-benefit strength-training program offered through Montana State University Extension may be one solution for how seniors living in small towns can access a fitness program that will help them age well.