Sense of Community

March, June, September, December

From poverty concerns to major policy decisions, this series dives beyond the headlines to provide in-depth coverage of issues facing people and organizations in the Ozarks. KSMU's team of reporters combine for 10 stories each quarter, to air the final weeks of March, June, September and December.

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For KSMU I’m Mike Smith, and this segment of our Sense of Community Series looks at the boom of Baby Boomer retirements and its effect on the City of Springfield. 

Mike Smith / KSMU

“Older workers have an excellent work ethic.  Everyday we’re scheduled to be here, we get up, clean up, dress up and show up. ” That’s Jack Farrow, a retired educator and school administrator currently living in Cassville Mo. Jack commutes daily from his home to Silver Dollar City’s   McCaffey Homestead, where as Frisco Jack, he sings songs and tells tales to the tourists who gather round.

Michele Skalicky / KSMU

Exercise Class

You’re hearing the sounds of an aerobics class at Mercy Fitness Center.  One of the participants is Lois Smith.  She’s a huge advocate for exercise—in fact, she says it enters into almost every conversation she has with people.

She exercises five mornings a week—taking classes like Zumba and Get Up & Go—an aerobic dance class for seniors.

The 82-year-old is in great shape—and that’s partly because of something that happened years ago while she was snow skiing.

Garry Knight / Flickr

Living the way you want to live as you become elderly requires some planning.  If you don’t make decisions before you can no longer make them on your own, someone else will make them for you. 

Chris Blaine, owner of Home Instead Senior Care, believes it’s never too early for kids and their aging parents to discuss the future.  He recommends having those discussions when the child is about 40 and the parents are around 70.

(Photo: KSMU/Randy Stewart)

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are utterly devastating to both the person diagnosed with the condition, and to their family and loved ones.  One of the most heartbreaking aspects of Alzheimer’s in particular is not just the memory loss, but that the individual is robbed of language ability and skills, the tools necessary for a person to express him- or herself.