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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.

Left to right: Wolf Point's Christy Stensland, Nicole Paulson and JD Stensland pause between events at the Wild Horse Stampede rodeo Saturday, July 11, 2020.
James Walling, Northern Plains Independent

Passing the volunteer torch

by James Walling, Northern Plains Independent

As a generation of community volunteers ages, transition planning becomes key.

The newly built Village Hearth Cohousing community in Durham, North Carolina. The 28-house community is for people age 55 and over and welcomes LGBT residents as well as allies.
Margaret Roesch/Village Hearth

A home of their own, together

by David Erickson, Missoulian

How cohousing communities can help seniors sustain quality of life

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.

Making the connection

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?