COMING ATTRACTIONS @ THE CENTER

There is Bingo on July 1st, but no Bingo on June 29th.

The $1000 went again on Saturday at 53 numbers, so we are back to a $750 cash payout on the last game if there is a blackout in 53 numbers. On Saturday, over $1200 will be paid out throughout the night. Minimum buy-in is $10.

Doors open at 4:00 and games start at 6:00. New players encouraged to arrive by 5:30.

UPDATED 6.27.17

Senior Living April 28 2008


Remember as a parent when your kids knew all the answers, were so disrespectful – ignoring all the rules, always wanted to know “why” and thought you were so un-cool and old fashioned. And they would never listen or talk about it. Or as a kid growing up during the “express yourself” years when your parents had all these stupid rules that didn’t make any sense, were always telling you what to do, and didn’t understand your music or your fashions. And they would never listen or talk about it.

It was tough enough to have serious discussions about wants, needs and desires back then let alone now, forty years later. Hopefully our relationships with our adult children or our aging parents are better, having survived that “rebellious” period. But I imagine the majority of us still find it difficult to talk about important aging questions; still find it difficult to listen to one another.

But these questions about how one wants to be cared for as we age need to be discussed. To help, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center is hosting a workshop “Tough Talk about Aging” to assist aging parents and their adult children learn how to better talk and listen to one another.

“Like it or not, elders and their families tend to bristle whenever issues of care and long-term planning arise. No matter how well intentioned the parties might be, these topics are highly emotional for nearly all of us. All too often, parents and their children fall into a deep abyss of guilt, shame, and frustration when discussing these concerns, yet there are creative and compassionate ways to build bridges to safely cross these dangerous chasms. This workshop will focus on identifying the major stumbling blocks regarding communication between parents and adult children, and coping with the challenges of aging with grace and love.”

We are extremely fortunate to have as the presenter Lee Paton, RN, PH.D., Clinical Director of Spectrum Elder Services, Inc. in Beaverton and a clinical gerontologist. She is a highly respected and sought after speaker providing educational programs throughout the US and Asia. The workshop will be facilitated by Lucile Torgerson who along with Kathleen Flynn helped facilitate the “Let’s Talk” discussion series at the senior center last year. Both of them understand how important this subject is and have given their time and effort to make this workshop possible. I also want to thank Pat Case of Hospice of the Gorge for all of her help.

The workshop will be held on Saturday May 10th at the Senior Center with early registration and continental breakfast starting at 8:30 and the presentation beginning at 9:00 and concluding at 11:00. As both parents and children have grown older and hopefully wiser, we have another chance to get it right.

Last week, when I mentioned the Charter Member Recognition Luncheon on Thursday May 1st, I forgot to thank Meals-on-Wheels for providing the special meal for the event - your choice of Chicken Cordon Bleu or Teriyaki Steak - in support of the Senior Center. At the luncheon we will recognize the Charter Members in attendance and share the story and photographs of the construction of the Senior Center. It is a fascinating history.

I don’t know how Boyd Jacobsen lines up all this great musical talent, but this coming Tuesday May 6th the “Sugar Daddies” with Mark Womble, Dennis Williams, and Jim Ortlie will be playing. I have seen them perform around town and they are a great act. And tonight the Senior Center’s own “Young at Heart Seranaders” will be performing. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

Dan Ericksen, Wasco County Judge, will be discussing the “State of the County” at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, 11:00 on Tuesday May 6th at the Senior Center. You will have a chance to ask him questions about all kinds of subjects: the budget hearings just completed last week, the county charter committee, road funding or whether he wears boxers or briefs.

In May we are starting another four session Computer Basics class on Monday from 10:00 – 11:30 taught by Laurie Fadness and on Wednesday from 10:30-12:00 taught by Richard Lyon. This introductory class covers the basics of getting started on a computer. Because there are only six persons in a class so you will receive a lot of individual attention. If you feel you know the basics but have individual questions, you are welcome to attend the Help Lab on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:30 taught by Corlis Marsh. Call 296-4788 to sign up.

The third “Wildflower Walk” led by Skip Tschanz is scheduled for Monday May 5th. We will carpool at 1:00 from the Senior Center. And a Potluck and Bunco Party will be held at the Senior Center this Friday from 6:00 – 8:00 for all 2008 Senior Center members to thank them for their support.

The Wasco County Pioneer Association Annual Meeting will be held this coming Saturday May 3rd. Registration begins at 9:30 at the Calvary Baptist Church with a salmon or ham luncheon served at 11:30. Don Schmidt will be present a program “Shaniko and the Southern Wasco County” after a short meeting at 1:00.

That’s it for another week. Until the next time, as I tell my kids, there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” - George Moore. And on the lighter side “Never have children, only grandchildren.” - Gore Vidal

Senior Living April 22nd

Senior Living April 22

Dr. Tina Castanares, Medical Director for Hospice of the Gorge, spoke at last week’s Next Chapter Lecture series. Only three individuals attended the lecture, the smallest turnout for any of our lectures. But according to Tina that isn’t unusual. Any topic about death and dying is not generally a crowd favorite; most people considering it a real downer, using 60’s vernacular. Most of us just want to live our lives believing “what will be will be” while ignoring or at least postponing preparation for our own death. But “talking about dying isn’t going to kill you.” And as Hospice of the Gorge provides compassionate and comprehensive supports for individuals who are terminally ill and their families, they also provide invaluable lessons and guidance for all of us. By better understanding death we can live our lives more fully, understand our faith more deeply and appreciate our friends and relationships more completely. As George Burns once said, “I don't believe in dying. It's been done. I'm working on a new exit. Besides, I can't die now - I'm booked.”

Thanks to Ronell Curie and all of the AARP volunteers that filed over 2000 tax returns in the Mid-Columbia area, about 500 more tax returns than last year. Much of the increase was due to the Economic Stimulus package that required anyone who wanted a payment to file a tax return. For seniors who haven’t yet filed a return because they don’t usually need to, you still have until October 15th to file in order to get your Economic Stimulus payment. If you have any questions you can call Jean Hockman at the Area Agency on Aging, 298-4101, or the Senior Center, 296-4788, and we will line you up with someone who can help.

On Thursday and Saturday nights, there is always bingo at the Senior Center, and Cherry Festival week is no exception. There have been good turn-outs these last several weeks and we want to thank everyone for helping support Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center. And to get in the Cherry Festival spirit, at this coming Saturday night’s bingo we will be serving Cherry Pie and Ice Cream. So enjoy the parade and all of the activities around town; then put a cherry on top of the day by taking a chance on a fun evening of bingo. Doors open at 4:30 and the games start at 6:00.

As part of the Cherry Festival activities on Saturday morning, Edna, Bonnie and Sandy will be serving a full breakfast from 7:30 – 10:00 including pancakes, country eggs, oatmeal, fruit and the regular beverages. Start the day with friends; meet King Bing and Queen Anne, the Cherry Sweethearts and most importantly the judges for the parade entries.

The Senior Center has scheduled a Charter Member Recognition Luncheon at noon on May 1st to express the center’s appreciation for the original members who helped build the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. We want to share photographs of the initial construction that has served the senior community so well for the last 21 years and also show the plans we hope will continue to serve the seniors for the next quarter century. We believe there were over 350 charter members and we are sending invitations to those for whom we have addresses, but we are afraid we have an incomplete list. If you know of anyone that was an original charter member, let them know that they are invited to this special luncheon.

The Senior Center will also be hosting a “Members Only” Potluck and Bunco at 6:00 pm on Friday May 2nd to thank all of our 2008 members. If you haven’t played Bunco, it is a fun, fast-paced dice game that is easy to learn. And if you haven’t joined, this is our last call for members. For those who have been procrastinating or have forgotten (procrastinating is not a good excuse but forgetting we understand) we will be sending out reminder cards.

Tuesday Night April 29th “The Young at Heart Serenaders” will be performing. This will be your chance to sing-a-long to the old time favorites. And tonight “The Jazz Generations” will be playing. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

On Tuesday April 29th, at 11:00 the Next Chapter Lecture Series will feature Dr. Matthew Proctor, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist. Dr. Proctor is just another in a list of outstanding local speakers for this lecture series. Make this series a habit. Learn something new and keep abreast of what is happening in your community.

That is it again for another week. Enjoy all the Cherry Festival activities. Until the next time, I will leave with you a poem by Maya Angelou. I was fortunate to hear her address the Aging in America conference sharing some of her life experiences as she was about to turn 80.

On Aging by Maya Angelou

When you see me sitting quietly,

Like a sack left on the shelf,

Don't think I need your chattering.

I'm listing to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don't pity me!
Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it,
Otherwise I'll do without it!

When my bones are stiff and aching,
and my feet won't climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Don't bring me no rocking chair.

When you see me walking, stumbling,
Don't study and get it wrong.
'Cause tired don't mean lazy
And every goodbye ain't gone.
I'm the same person I was back then,
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain't I lucky I can still breathe in.

Senior LIving April 15th 2008

Senior Living April 15

While at the Aging in America conference I attended a workshop on “Seeking the Balance: Positive Aging and Disillusionment”, curious about the connection between the two. Although it was difficult, many people shared their disillusionments whether with an employer, a spouse, a political candidate or retirement (no one returns my phone calls anymore!). But positive aging and disillusionment are two sides of the same coin. Through our disillusionments – the removing of illusions – we have an opportunity, if we want to take it, to learn more about ourselves; to understand who we are beyond our job or career. Knowing that this may lead to better self understanding does not remove the grief, or regrets or even anger, when reality strikes. As an example, realizing that we cannot avoid the gradual but continuing loss of independence (what a disillusionment that is) may motivate us to take control of our future and start to eat better, exercise better and live better to maintain, as long as possible, our independence and quality of life. While disillusionment is painful, it can also be just another bump in the road toward a vital, active and resilient life.

Spring finally showed itself this last weekend. People were out enjoying the day, in tee-shirts and shorts, walking along the sidewalks and working in their yards. With the warmer weather there is more activity, more chances to exercise, and another opportunity to mention the importance of exercise for both the body and mind. It was reported in the April edition of Brain Health e-tips from OHSU that “research continues to confirm that exercise benefits the brain”. What is good news for seniors is that according to several national experts “exercise doesn't have to be brutal. Walking and swimming are excellent, as is lifting light weights at home or riding a stationary bicycle. Walking for 45 minutes two or three times a week will improve your overall fitness, your balance, your mood…and your brain! Best of all, it's never too late to start.” So when Nike says “Do it!” you don’t have to run a marathon or swim the English Channel. Just get up and “Move It!”

The Senior Citizen’s Prom is this Friday April 18th from 5:30—8:30 at The Dalles Civic Auditorium. This year’s theme is “In the Still of the Night” with entertainment provided by “The Jazz Generations”, TDWHS Choir and Jazz Band and Michael Ladouceur on Piano. The Dalles Wahtonka High School Key Club is again organizing this year’s event working hard to make this an entertaining evening for the “older” generation. So even if you don’t consider yourself “old” remember what age you thought “old” was when you were in High School and come on down to the civic and enjoy an evening of music and dancing. You can purchase tickets at Klindt’s Bookstore, the Senior Center or at the door for $5.00.

Tuesday Night April 22nd “The Jazz Generations” will be performing again at the Senior Center. Hank and Ann Krum, Bob Fiske and David Fretz play the big band style of music for your listening and dancing pleasure. And tonight Hardshell Harmony an energetic Bluegrass group will be performing. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

On Tuesday April 22nd, at 11:00 the Next Chapter Lecture Series will feature Dan Spatz, Foundation Director for The Columbia Gorge Center, providing an update on the College construction both in Hood River and The Dalles and also on the Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation. This lecture series is an easy way to learn something new and keep abreast of what is happening in your community.

Several times, I have mentioned the increasing participation in Wii bowling at the Senior

Center. But in doing so I have neglected to mentioned what many of us did indoors before the “Age of Technology”, namely, playing cards. We offer three opportunities to play cards and meet new friends at the Senior Center: Pinochle on Thursdays from 1:00 – 3:30, Bridge on Fridays from 1:00 – 3:30 and on Saturdays Cribbage from 9:00 – 12:00.

It is almost Cherry Festival time with The Dalles gearing up for a full week of activities. Mill Creek Point Assisted Living Facility is presenting the Northwest Cherry Festival Very Cherry Dessert Contest and Main Dish on Monday April 21 at the Senior Center with judging at 5:30 and sampling at 6:30. Admission is free. On Saturday the 26th, the Senior Center will be serving a full breakfast from 7:30 – 10:00 for those who want someone else to do the cooking on a busy parade day morning. (Because of the Cherry Festival breakfast there will not be a breakfast on the third Saturday, April 19th.) And after the parade stop by the Senior Expo tent on Fourth Street to learn more about the many local services provided for seniors.

Well that is it for another week. Until the next time, as I try to sort through my illusions, I am thinking reality wouldn’t be so bad if it just wasn’t so honest.

“Perhaps middle age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of ego. Perhaps one can shed at this state in life as one sheds in beach-living; one’s pride, one’s false ambitions, one’s mask, one’s armor. Was that armor not put on to protect one from the competitive world? If one ceases to compete, does one need it? Perhaps one can at last in middle age, if not earlier, be completely oneself. And what a liberation that would be!. Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Senior Living April 8 2008

Senior Living April 8th 2008

Congressman Greg Walden visited the Senior Center last Friday along with representatives from the IRS to encourage seniors to fill out their tax return this year even if they don’t need to. Congress passed the Economic Stimulus Package that will send those who qualify a stimulus payment check for at least $300. But to receive your payment you need to file a tax return. If you haven’t yet filed, and you want your stimulus payment sooner than later, you need to file by April 15th. If you have questions the AARP Tax Aide Program at the Senior Center can help, but this Friday from 4:00 to 6:30 and Saturday from 9:00 to 2:00 are the last days they will be providing assistance. If for some reason you do not file by April 15th, don’t give up. Seniors have until October 15th to file a return but your payment will come much later.

Whenever there is a new program, there always seems to be unscrupulous individuals waiting to take advantage of folks. Greg also made a special point of warning people about potential scams concerning the economic stimulus payment. Simply, never give any confidential information such as your social security number or checking account numbers to anyone particularly over the phone. If you have questions call a trusted friend, the Area Agency on Aging or the Senior Center for help.

With the race for the democratic nominee for president too close to call, we are reminded again how important it is to vote. And seniors do vote. In the 2004 presidential election, the national voting rate for citizens 55 and older was 72 percent compared with 47 percent among 18- to 24-year old citizens. But you may not get a ballot if you have moved and haven’t changed your mailing address with the county clerk. The post office does not forward your ballot to a new address. If you have changed your mailing address or if you want to change political parties to vote for a specific candidate, you will need to contact the county clerk by April 29th.

The Senior Center Will bowlers have scheduled their first competition challenging the Boy Scout Troop that meets at the Senior Center. The scout troop is a real asset to the Senior Center: hanging Christmas lights, planting flowers, and cleaning up around the center. But although we appreciate their support, we are looking for total domination. We are going to practice real hard this week (although for some of us, the more we practice the worse we get). I have heard that during spring vacation several of the scouts were up till 1:00 a.m. practicing their Wii skills. If you are interested in watching (no snickering allowed), the Wii challenge begins at 7:00 on Monday April 14th. If we can survive this one, next up will be The Dalles Wahtonka High School Bowling Team.

If you are interested in local trips and Broadway plays, meet at the Senior Center at 1:30 on Tuesday April 15th. We have planned several day trips including trips to Portland to ride the tram, Sherman County to visit their historical museum, and Hood River to see the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum. But we also want to know what Broadway plays in Portland you want to see. There is a great lineup of shows for the 2008-2009 season, but we need at least 20 people to receive the group rate. If there is a strong interest in any plays, we will purchase the tickets now so we can reserve the best seats. Goodies and refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday Night April 15th at the Senior Center, Hardshell Harmony will be performing. They are an energetic Bluegrass group emphasizing traditional Bluegrass music playing the standards of the masters from long ago. Hardshell Harmony will make your toes tap and your hands slap with high energy music that people can sing along with and have a grand time. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is all free although donations are gladly accepted. Enjoy good friends and great music! All ages are welcome!

On Tuesday April 15th, the Next Chapter Lecture Series will feature Hospice of the Gorge discussing their services and end of life questions. They are a comforting resource in the community and provide essential care at the end of one’s life journey. The presentation will be at the usual time 11:00 at the Senior Center.

That is it again, but I seem to have made a few mistakes in last week’s column that I sent from Washington D.C. while attending the Aging in America Conference. When I returned, a note from Skip Tschanz was waiting for me changing the date for the Wildflower Walk. But as fortune would have it and as several friends reminded me, I had forgotten to include the date in the column. So for those who want to spend a beautiful afternoon in nature’s glory walking through the Dalles Mountain Ranch Nature Preserve, meet on Monday April 14th at 1:00 to carpool from the Senior Center. Sign up at the Senior Center front desk or call 296-4788.

That wasn’t too bad, but I also repeated the previous week’s Meals-on-Wheels menu which I know Zelta, my reliable proof reader, would have definitely caught. My apologies to those who came for dinner expecting Spaghetti but were served Stuffed Peppers instead.

But mistakes are inevitable and as Al Franken said “Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

Until the next time, don’t always act your age. Life is too short.

Senior Living April 1 2008

April 1 2008

When you read this column, I will be in Washington D. C. preparing to attend the “2008 Aging in America Conference” of the National Council on Aging. It is a four day event with hundreds of workshops covering a wide array of topics from Arts and Aging to Death and Dying. The biggest challenge is deciding which workshops to attend. My primary focus is the operation and management of a senior center but I also hope to learn more about brain development, wellness, and creative arts for seniors: information that will help the senior center fulfill its mission of “promoting healthy aging by sharing and caring”.

We always need to keep learning and stretching as we age, while also realizing that the latest is not always the greatest. As I learn valuable new information about aging and about new directions for senior centers, I am reminded it is still all about relationships. We are human beings with our own complexity. As more things change, the more things remain the same. And although the science textbooks I used in high school 45 years ago may be out of date and inaccurate, the life lessons from the classics of Homer, Shakespeare and Dickens are still relevant today.

Next Tuesday, April 1st, Les Vaughan will be performing a variety of musical styles including gospel and country. And tonight the “Jazz Generations” with Hank and Ann Krum and Bob Fiske will be playing. Hank has played throughout the western United States and always enjoys playing at the Senior Center. All ages are welcome, coffee and goodies are provided and admission is free but donations are appreciated. Every Tuesday from 7:00 -9:00 PM.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the ancient Chinese medical technique of Acupuncture? At the Next Chapter Lecture Series at 11:00 on Tuesday April 1st, Carola Stepper, RN, Lac, will be discussing “New Solutions to Eliminate Pain” through Acupuncture. Carola has a background in Home Health and Hospice Nursing since 1989 and has studied Chinese Medicine at the nationally accredited Oriental College of Oriental Medicine, in Portland, Oregon. As an Acupuncturist she has worked part-time for four years at Mid-Columbia Medical Center, treating patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for cancer. Her purpose is to help her clients to get well naturally with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs and to provide effective information and inspiration in self care.

If you are uninsured and need help paying for your medications, the "Help is Here Express" is coming to The Dalles on Thursday April 10 from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm at the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Station parking lot, 1400 W. 8th. It is a chance to learn if you qualify for one or more of 475 patient assistance programs, many of which offer free or nearly free prescription medicines for those in need. The "Help is Here Express" is a large bus equipped with computer terminals and phones so people can find out (for free) if they may be eligible for help. Trained specialists will be on board to make sure the process is quick and easy. The express is sponsored by America's Pharmaceutical Research companies. It sounds like a nice interim service while we wait for a broader solution of affordable health care including prescription coverage for all Americans.

There are plenty of opportunities in the Gorge to stretch your lungs and test your pitch by singing in a choir or ensemble (for those who want to sing in more public places than the shower). Delpha Mills who guides the "Young at Heart Serander's” at the senior center would like to invite you to sing with them. They practice at the center every Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:00 and have enjoyed sharing their musical talents at such places as Flagstone and Columbia Basin Care Facility. If you are tired of practicing duets with your dog or feel you are not quite ready for American Idol, this is the opportunity for you.

I want to announce this a little early to give you a time to practice and test your favorite recipes. The Mill Creek Point Assisted Living is presenting the “Northwest Cherry Festival Very Cherry Dessert Contest and Main Dish too!” on Monday April 21, 2008 at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. You can pick up entry forms at The Dalles Chamber of Commerce or the Senior Center. Entries have to be received by 5:00 pm Friday April 11th. For more information contact Mary at The Dalles Chamber 541-296-2231. Awards will be presented for Best Cherry Main Dish and the Very Best Very Cherry Dessert with three categories for each: Adult - 19 and over, Junior - 18 and younger, and Commercial. There is no additional entry fee.

Well that is it again. It has been about seven months since I started writing this column (I was very fortunate to have Marilyn Ericksen continue as I got my feet on the ground.) and you know, after a while the well starts to run a little dry. But from the conference on aging, I hope to replenish the groundwater with new insights and knowledge that I will be able to share with you. Until the next time, remember there are times to keep your heart open and your lips shut.

Senior LIving March 25 2008

Senior Living March 25

When you read this column, I will be in Washington D. C. preparing to attend the “2008 Aging in America Conference” of the National Council on Aging. It is a four day event with hundreds of workshops covering a wide array of topics from Arts and Aging to Death and Dying. The biggest challenge is deciding which workshops to attend. My primary focus is the operation and management of a senior center but I also hope to learn more about brain development, wellness, and creative arts for seniors: information that will help the senior center fulfill its mission of “promoting healthy aging by sharing and caring”.

We always need to keep learning and stretching as we age, while also realizing that the latest is not always the greatest. As I learn valuable new information about aging and about new directions for senior centers, I am reminded it is still all about relationships. We are human beings with our own complexity. As more things change, the more things remain the same. And although the science textbooks I used in high school 45 years ago may be out of date and inaccurate, the life lessons from the classics of Homer, Shakespeare and Dickens are still relevant today.

Next Tuesday, April 1st, Les Vaughan will be performing a variety of musical styles including gospel and country. And tonight the “Jazz Generations” with Hank and Ann Krum and Bob Fiske will be playing. Hank has played throughout the western United States and always enjoys playing at the Senior Center. All ages are welcome, coffee and goodies are provided and admission is free but donations are appreciated. Every Tuesday from 7:00 -9:00 PM.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the ancient Chinese medical technique of Acupuncture? At the Next Chapter Lecture Series at 11:00 on Tuesday April 1st, Carola Stepper, RN, Lac, will be discussing “New Solutions to Eliminate Pain” through Acupuncture. Carola has a background in Home Health and Hospice Nursing since 1989 and has studied Chinese Medicine at the nationally accredited Oriental College of Oriental Medicine, in Portland, Oregon. As an Acupuncturist she has worked part-time for four years at Mid-Columbia Medical Center, treating patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for cancer. Her purpose is to help her clients to get well naturally with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs and to provide effective information and inspiration in self care.

If you are uninsured and need help paying for your medications, the "Help is Here Express" is coming to The Dalles on Thursday April 10 from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm at the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Station parking lot, 1400 W. 8th. It is a chance to learn if you qualify for one or more of 475 patient assistance programs, many of which offer free or nearly free prescription medicines for those in need. The "Help is Here Express" is a large bus equipped with computer terminals and phones so people can find out (for free) if they may be eligible for help. Trained specialists will be on board to make sure the process is quick and easy. The express is sponsored by America's Pharmaceutical Research companies. It sounds like a nice interim service while we wait for a broader solution of affordable health care including prescription coverage for all Americans.

There are plenty of opportunities in the Gorge to stretch your lungs and test your pitch by singing in a choir or ensemble (for those who want to sing in more public places than the shower). Delpha Mills who guides the "Young at Heart Serander's” at the senior center would like to invite you to sing with them. They practice at the center every Wednesday from 10:30 - 12:00 and have enjoyed sharing their musical talents at such places as Flagstone and Columbia Basin Care Facility. If you are tired of practicing duets with your dog or feel you are not quite ready for American Idol, this is the opportunity for you.

I want to announce this a little early to give you a time to practice and test your favorite recipes. The Mill Creek Point Assisted Living is presenting the “Northwest Cherry Festival Very Cherry Dessert Contest and Main Dish too!” on Monday April 21, 2008 at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. You can pick up entry forms at The Dalles Chamber of Commerce or the Senior Center. Entries have to be received by 5:00 pm Friday April 11th. For more information contact Mary at The Dalles Chamber 541-296-2231. Awards will be presented for Best Cherry Main Dish and the Very Best Very Cherry Dessert with three categories for each: Adult - 19 and over, Junior - 18 and younger, and Commercial. There is no additional entry fee.

Well that is it again. It has been about seven months since I started writing this column (I was very fortunate to have Marilyn Ericksen continue as I got my feet on the ground.) and you know, after a while the well starts to run a little dry. But from the conference on aging, I hope to replenish the groundwater with new insights and knowledge that I will be able to share with you. Until the next time, remember there are times to keep your heart open and your lips shut.

Senior LIving March 18 2008

Senior Living March 18, 2008

I have mentioned how the brain adapts and continues to evolve with age. Our brains may not be as agile or fast as in our youth but with our wealth of experiences and knowledge we are hopefully wiser. Because of my interest in the connection between aging and wisdom, I found a web site called “The Gathering of Wisdom People” at www.wisdompeople.org . On their site they posted interviews with several seniors and I particularly enjoyed the response of Reginald Harling, age 96, when asked how he lived so long?

1. I selected the right parents (they and their parents) lived into their nineties,

2. Of course, the usual reasons about not smoking and not drinking,

3. Keeping away from doctors (most of my friends who died were involved with doctors in one way or another),

4. Keeping out of bed as much as possible-bed is a very DANGEROUS place, more people die in bed than anywhere else

5. But longevity is mainly a matter of luck - luck in health, in congenial occupation, in marriage, in family relationships.

But we don't have to go to a web site to find such insightful and humorous answers to life’s questions. We can find them right here in our communities if we just listen to the “wisdom people” all around us.

It has been a while since I mentioned the AARP Driver’s Safety Class at the Senior Center taught by Dick Frost. The class is a great review, identifies the latest changes in the driving laws and may even save you a little money on your auto insurance. I was kicking myself for not announcing the class last week, when I realized this month’s class in on the fourth Monday and Tuesday, March 24 and 25 from 9:00 - 1:00 instead of the usual third. So you still have a chance to sign up by calling the Senior Center at 296-4788.

The Meals-on-Wheels board has created a PR committee to spread the word about how Meals-on-Wheels with its many committed volunteers help support the nutritional and social needs of seniors. The committee would like you to know they serve a great wholesome meal every weekday at noon. If you are 60 and over the suggested donation in $3.00 and if you are under 60 you have to pay a little more for your lack of experience and knowledge with a suggested donation of $5.00. I particularly like the Meals-on-Wheels lunch because when my wife asks if I have had my vegetables for the day I can emphatically answer YES!

The “Jazz Generations” will be playing the big band sounds of the 20s through 60s for your dancing and listening pleasure at the Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music program on March 25 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. All ages are welcome, admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Coffee and goodies provided.

I want to thank the Dallesport Jammers for playing to a packed house this last Sunday at the Senior Center. It was fun listening and dancing to the country sounds of musicians who just love to play. It was announced that they will start playing again in Dallesport on the third Sunday of every month. On the other Sundays they play at their regular Sunday venues including the Cherry Park Grange and White Salmon. So you will be able to find the Jammers someplace in the Gorge playing their fine country music the first through fourth Sundays from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.

Last reminder: Tonight at the Senior Center we will be celebrating Carl Kramer's 100th birthday with some special birthday presentations. Truman Boler will be returning to play for this special occasion. As usual, admission is free and all ages are welcome.

At the Next Chapter Lecture Series on Tuesday at 11:00, Dr. Hodge will discuss "Hypertension - High Blood Pressure - Why do I have to take these pills, Doc?" Dr. Hodge will be explaining the cause and effects of high blood pressure and answer any of your questions. But just to test your knowledge before the presentation I found a short True or False quiz on WebMD. (I will give you the answers at the end only if you promise to attend the presentation next Tuesday.) True or False? 1) A healthy adult blood pressure is 140/90. 2) High Blood pressure can cause damage to the brain, eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels. 3) Most cases of hypertension are caused by kidney disease. 4) There are numerous factors that may increase your risk for high blood pressure. 5) Most doctors suggest changing your lifestyle in addition to prescribing drugs to help treat high blood pressure.

On Thursdays before lunch Nise Patton, the Director of Meals-on-Wheels, and myself have been playing a game of Wii bowling just to show how much fun it is and to get other folks interested in playing. I think it’s working, because after last Thursday when we had eight people in line to bowl, we started thinking, we need another Wii! With the building interest, I can see in the future competing in a 60+ Wii bowling tournament, but only after we order our bowling shirts. (If we can’t beat them with skill, we will beat them with flash.)

Well it is that time again. Spring is just a few steps away, the plants are beginning to stir, and the ants are about to march out. So until we meet again, sit up straight and don’t forget your vegetables.

Senior Living March 11 2008

Senior Living March 11, 2008

At the Senior Center, you will find a wonderful variety of folks with a wide range of attitudes, beliefs and temperaments. There are folks laughing all the time and others who rarely smile. There are ones who are always helpful and others who feel they have done their share. There are some who are financially secure and others who cannot afford the $3.00 donation for a meal. Some are large and some are small and we all seem to be getting shorter. Some drive across country and others have lost their driver’s license. Some are cranky (depending on the day) and some give you a hug every day. Some are constantly reading and others are in different stages of dementia. And some see the glass half full and other see it half empty and want to know who drank their half.

The center is alive with all kinds of folks. We want to be a place where everyone can feel comfortable; a place that is simple, warm and inviting; a place where all seniors can meet friends and build relationships while taking classes and expanding their horizons. Not a place where we look for the latest anti-aging secret afraid of getting older, but a place where we find the pro-aging wisdom that comforts us on this journey called aging. We are of all colors, textures, rhythms and melodies. We all have our unique stories to tell and our songs to sing; our beliefs in what is right and what is wrong and what is in between. Although at times these differences may cause confusion, frustration and irritation, we acknowledge and cherish them because as Mr. Pete from Petersburg use to say “If we all had the same tastes, we would be married to the same women.” And I don’t think I could handle that.

The Transportation Network (formally known as LINK) has instituted a weekly trip to Portland, every Thursday. For only $8.00 one way, you can leave The DallesTransportation Center at 7:30 AM and return to The Dalles at 5:10 PM. Along the way, the bus stops at the Gateway MAX Station at 9:05, OHSU at 9:45, and Clackamas Town Center at 10:30. On the return trip the bus leaves Clackamas Town Center at 2:15, OHSU at 3:00, and Gateway Max Station at 3:30. With the cost of gas heading for $4.00 a gallon that is quite a deal. Call Columbia Area Transit at 541-386-4202 for more information.

This Saturday the Senior Center will be serving its monthly Breakfast from 8:00 – 10:00. Edna, who has owned her own restaurant in Parkdale for 17 years before she retired, has created this Saturday’s menu of biscuits and gravy, sausage, country scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fruit and the regular beverages. Let Edna and Bonnie cook you a delicious breakfast, so you can get your Saturday morning off to a satisfying start. The full breakfast is only $5.00 and $4.00 for Senior Center members.

Thanks to everyone who have showed their support by joining the Senior Center particularly the fifty-six new members. We are more than half way to our goal of 400 members, but we still have a ways to go before the conclusion of the official membership drive at the end of this month. Membership is still only $25.

Have you heard of Elderhostel and wanted to know more? The next speaker for the Senior Center’s Next Chapter Lecture Series on March 18th at 11:00 is Suzanne Burd, the Adult Community Education Coordinator at Columbia Gorge Community College. She will be discussing and answering questions about Elderhostel, an international organization sponsoring groups from all over the world to come to the Gorge for a 6-day educational trip from May 4th – 9th. It will involve hiking, site-seeing, geology, and the study of the wildflowers of the gorge. Come and enjoy this presentation and learn more about Elderhostel and how you can sign-up for this educational adventure. For more information online, go to www.elderhostel.org.

Next week Carl Kramer will be celebrating his 100th birthday and we are planning several events for the special occasion. During the regularly scheduled Meals-on-Wheels birthday dinner at noon on Tuesday March 18th there will be several special presentations to honor Carl. Then that evening at the Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music we will continue the celebration with Truman Boler returning to play his popular dance music for Carl and friends. Everyone is always welcome, but this night you have a special invitation. All ages are welcome; no charge, but donations accepted. Coffee and goodies provided.

On Sunday March 16th at the Senior Center from 2-5 PM, Kathy Killian and The Dallesport Jammers will be playing country and dancing music. They play entertaining jam sessions throughout the Gorge and we are pleased to welcome them to the center. Enjoy some fine music and a piece of pie too.

You can fine more great local music at the Cherry Park Grange. They have several musical events scheduled this week including Gospel Music on Thursday, Dance Lessons and a Dance on Friday and Karaoke on Sunday; all starting at 7:00 PM.

You know things are getting bad when you feel you should apologize for repeating yourself not knowing whether you have or not. But I just know if I haven’t, I will and if I do I want you to just nod your head and smile just as you would when your best friend tells you the same story for the second or third time.

So until we meet again, relax and breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in ...

Senior Living March 4 2008

Senior Living March 4th, 2008

In the next 25 years the number of individuals 60 and over in Wasco County is projected to increase by close to 40%. Seniors will live longer and require a greater investment of the nation’s resources than even today when the funding for state programs that support seniors have been described as in a state of emergency. But if we want government and private foundations to invest more in additional senior supports, communities will have to identify the needs and gaps in services for seniors, collaborate and coordinate at the local level and identify and implement programs that work. One means to these ends would be a comprehensive plan, modeled after the Wasco County Commission on Children and Families’ Comprehensive Plan, that could provide the strategic direction to improve the well being and quality of life for all seniors. There is tremendous work being done to support our seniors but there is much more that could be done, and a comprehensive plan for seniors will better position the community to meet their unmet needs.

The Senior Center Quilters have produced many beautiful quilts over the years to support the Senior Center, but the Center has not had a proper place to display them, until now. When you walk into the Senior Center’s lobby, look up and you will see their latest quilt hanging on the wall. And if you want to be that special person to take that lovely quilt home, you can buy as many raffle tickets as you like at the front desk.

On Tuesday, March 11th the speaker for the “Next Chapter” lecture series will be Debbie Saalseld from the Oregon Senior Tax Deferral Program who will be explaining the Property Tax Deferral Program (and other tax deferrals) for seniors. The Oregon Legislature established the program to allow qualifying citizens to delay paying property taxes on their residences—including manufactured homes, multi-family, and income-producing properties (e.g., home business). This is your opportunity to learn more about this option and whether it is something you would want to do.

It may seem redundant but I always try to mention tonight’s musician for the Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music program, as a gentle reminder for those who may read this column in time. So tonight Truman Boler, who has been playing music in the area since 1958, will be performing his popular style of music at 7:00 PM. Then next Tuesday on the 11th, the “Notecrackers” will be playing their sweet listening and dancing music from the 20’s through 60’s. Also we have a new addition to the Senior Center’s musical scene. On Sunday March 16 from 2 – 5 pm we are very fortunate to have the “Dallesport Jammers” playing at the Senior Center. This is another chance to listen to some great music and have a piece of pie too.

The Senior Center has reserved 24 seats for the Broadway Musical “Sweeney Todd” described as a musical thriller with music by Stephen Sondheim. It has received excellent reviews including “The greatest musical of the past half-century” by the Wall Street Journal. The tickets are for the 1:00 matinee performance at the Keller Auditorium in Portland on Sunday April 13th and cost $65 including transportation. But we need to know by March 10th if there is enough interest before we actually purchase the tickets. If you would like to see “Sweeney Todd” sign-up at the front desk or call the senior center at 296-4788 within the next week.

Martha and Betty have reminded me that I haven’t mentioned the NU-2-U Shoppe for quite a while. Well this is a good time. With the warmer weather they can finally start hanging up the spring clothes from last fall’s donation of high-quality, seldom-used clothes. The prices are incredibly low and on Wednesdays it even gets better with everything on sale at half-price. So come on in and if you are really nice Martha will give you a kiss.

I would like to share with you an article from the Meals-on-Wheels’ March newsletter that demonstrates how Meals-on-Wheels is so incredibly valuable and is “more than just a meal”. “On a Friday in January an MOW driver Joi Wilson, was out delivering meals to a number of clients. When she was delivering to a particular client (we’ll call her client #11), the route sheet indicated “Knock, then walk in.” Joi called out the client’s name, but didn’t get an answer. Then she heard a faint voice calling for help, so she started checking through the house. She found the client on the floor. The client said that she could not get up and had been on the floor for some time, and was happy and thankful to see Joi. The client thought it was Saturday and didn’t know if anyone would be by that day. With the help of some neighbors, Joi got the client off the floor, and into a chair. MOW drivers deliver meals to clients and also check on their welfare, as the driver may be the only person the client sees all day. This is a service provided by MOW for shut-in clients, through the dedicated drivers. So if you know an MOW driver, thank them for the service to the seniors in our area. They are after all, our angels!”

Senior Living February 26 2008

Senior Living 2/26/08

The Senior Center is going to have two more informational meetings concerning the proposed Senior Center Expansion so you can share your ideas and opinions about the project. The times are 2:00 pm on Thursday, February 28th and 10:00 am on Tuesday, March 3rd. One of the main concerns we have heard so far is how are we going to pay for it? At this point we don’t know. But there are several things we do know.

We know there are several realistic possibilities for funding this project through private foundation and government grants. We know the Senior Center will have to adapt and be open to change in order to be relevant and effective in supporting all seniors for the next 25 years. We know we will have to work closely with all of our partners including local government, business, education, medicine and non-profits and we are going to have to have the community’s support and commitment. And, finally, we know that no one will fund just a dream. Funders whether government or foundations want to know what the project looks like, how much it costs and what need it fulfills. So far the center has spent nothing on the proposed expansion except volunteer hours thanks to the in-kind support of our partners. But, realistically, the Senior Center will have to invest some dollars into this project in order to apply for grant funding. The Senior Center has an exciting dream of an active and vibrant center that will better meet the physical, mental and social needs of all seniors. There are risks, and it can be scary (but so is aging) and as it has been said before, “sometimes there is more risk in doing nothing as in doing something”.

Another volunteer opportunity came across my desk from Carrie Ramsey and the Red Cross. The local Red Cross office needs volunteers for just a couple of hours a week to answer phones and address the limited walk-in traffic in order to keep their small office up and running. It is a perfect opportunity to contribute to the community. The Red Cross also offers other volunteer opportunities ranging from clerical and local fundraising all the way up to responding to national disasters. Volunteers can pick and choose as little or as much as they want to participate. If you are interested contact Peggy Johnson at 296-2024. Also with the help of Meals-on-Wheels, the local Red Cross is inviting you to a Saturday “Breakfast for a Great Cause” celebrating Red Cross Month on March 8th from 7:30 – 10:30 at the Senior Center. Here is an opportunity to help support our local American Red Cross.

The Dalles City Police Chief, Jay Waterbury will be the speaker for the Next Chapter Lecture Series at 11:00 on Tuesday March 4th. Jay will be discussing “Safety Concerns, Identity Theft, and Scams – Here in The Dalles?” Come and learn from our Chief of Police what sort of scams have been pulled on the people in our own town. And just a heads up, the next speaker on March 11th will be Debbie Saalseld of the Oregon Dept of Revenue, explaining The Oregon Senior Tax Deferral Program.

On March 4th the Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music presents Truman Boler. I believe this is his first time performing at the Senior Center but he has been a regular performer in the area and plays fine danceable music. The weather is getting nicer and it is staying light longer, so come on down and so you can get up and dance. All ages are welcome! And tonight the Jazz Generations” will be playing.

Spring is just around the corner and to celebrate Skip Tschanz has volunteered to lead a Wildflower Walk along Catherine Creek in Washington. Skip will take you on the easily accessible paved path with beautiful views of the Gorge and sprouting wildflowers. If you can comfortably walk eight blocks you should be able to handle this hike. We will car pool from the Senior Center at 1:00 on March 3rd and the hike should last about two hours. Call Skip for more information at 541-296-4837.

Many of you, who receive social security, veteran’s pensions, etc., do not normally need to file income tax return, but this year you may want to. In order to receive a check from the federal government as part of the Economic Stimulus Package you will need to file a simple income tax return. If you need help the AARP Tax Aide program is available from 4:00 – 6:30 pm on Fridays and 9:00 am – 2:00 pm on Saturdays through April 12th in the basement of the Senior Center.

Just another reminder in case you missed it, Gateway Presbyterian Church is putting on a “Family Health Seminar” on Saturday March 1 from 9:00- 3:00. Speakers will cover many important topics including Healthcare Equipment, Home Health, Hospice, End of Live Decisions, Healthy Eating and Dealing with Grief . The cost including a spaghetti lunch is only $5 for an individual or $7 for a family. For more information call 541-298-8531.

Well that is another week and I was able to avoid the temptation to babble philosophically. But who knows what will spout forth in future columns. Until we meet again, keep your eyes open.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Senior Living February 19 2008

Senior Living February 19th

I am always amazed how much faster time goes by as I age. It was just yesterday when my kids were in daycare and now 17 years later one is working back east and the other is about ready to go off to college. How time flies. But I have had this experience before: taking tests in school. During the first half of the test, time moved gently as I concentrated on the initial problems. Then half way through, the clock started ticking faster and during the last 15 minutes it was racing to the end. But I still had several problems to complete; I wasn’t sure I was going to finish them; I just needed a little more time and then, boom, time was up. Until recently I would have used this as a metaphor for life. You are trying to make up for all the time you spent during the first 90 minutes, by accomplishing as much as you can in the last 30 minutes. But I have also found with age comes a sense of acceptance or maybe clarity where different values become important. Do we really have to finish all the problems? Should we not just focus on one or two problems that really matter and enjoy and appreciate the gift of the moment? Then as I start enjoying the moment and appreciate the now, the waters calm and time begins to slow down once again.

Lucille Torgerson and Kathleen Flynn who have facilitated the Senior Center’s the “Let’s Talk” discussion series on affirmative aging have another exciting opportunity planned. They both know the difficulties and challenges that occur between older parents and their adult children and see the need to better understand how to deal with those situations. In order to learn more they have invited Lee Paton, a highly respected and sought after speaker throughout the US, to provide an educational workshop on this subject. Lee is an RN, Ph.D. and a clinical gerontologist with a specialty in dementia and end of life care. She works to design creative care strategies to enhance each person’s health and quality of being alive.

As Lee explains it, “Like it or not, elders and their families tend to bristle whenever issues of care and long term planning arise. No matter how well intentioned the parties might be, these topics are highly emotional for nearly all of us. All too often, parents and their children fall into a deep abyss of guilt, shame, and frustration when discussing these concerns, yet there are creative and compassionate ways to build bridges to safely cross these dangerous chasms. This workshop will focus on identifying the major stumbling blocks, stopping the war between parents and adult children, and coping with the challenges of aging with grace and love.”

The workshop will be held on Saturday May 10th (Mother’s Day weekend) and because this workshop addresses such an important issue so many of us face or will face, I wanted to let you know about it early. You will hear more details as we get closer to the workshop.

Focus Groups

We have scheduled several focus groups to gather your ideas and opinions on what you would like to see with the new proposed expansion of the Senior Center. The next focus groups are scheduled for Thursday February 28th at 2:00 pm and Tuesday March 3rd at 10:00 am. Everyone is invited whether you currently use the Senior Center or not. We want input from the whole senior community.

Travel Club

The Senior Center’s Travel Club is going to meet on Thursday February 28th at 1:00 to discuss possible trips for this spring and summer. Louise Gonzales has already reserved 24 excellent seats for the matinee performance of “Phantom of the Opera” in Portland on August 14th. Even though the show is in the summer and we aren’t even into spring yet (only 29 more days) we wanted to reserve the best possible seats for this popular musical. Stop by or call the Senior Center to reserve your seat.

Next Chapter

There has been fantastic attendance at the “Next Chapter” Lecture Series averaging around 30 people for the last several presentations. The series has touched on all kinds of subjects from finances to advance directives to local history. This coming Tuesday the 26th at 11:00 at the Senior Center, we will enter the medical field and learn about the latest in Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Therapy presented by the Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s Rehabilitation and Mind Body Institute. It promises to be both informative and fun concluding with an interactive Mind/Body Game. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday Night Music

Next Tuesday Night at 7:00 the “Jazz Generations” will be playing at the Senior Center. Have I mentioned how beneficial dancing is for your heart and soul? Am I being a little pushy? Come on down to the Senior Center and kick up your heels while enjoying the fine music provided by the “Jazz Generations”. And if it is not too late, “Pennies and Small Change” are performing tonight.

Well that is it again for another week and as I struggled to find the right words that last hour went awfully fast. It is like taking a test all over again. So if someday you find this column only half finished, you will know I was just enjoying the moment. Until we meet again, take care and breathe deep.

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.
-- George Burns

Senior Living February 12 2008

Senior Living February 12th

On January 4th 1987, over 200 people attended the grand opening of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center built on the principles of sharing and caring. In 2012 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary the Mid-Columbia Senior Center: the proud legacy of the “United Seniors”, and what a perfect time it would be to celebrate the next 25 years with a new addition to the Senior Center.

As we look forward at how to make the new addition a reality, it may help to look back for lessons from when the center was first built. Fortunately, all the newspaper articles about the planning and building of the current center were collected so we can remember this fascinating story.

The first saved newspaper article from September 6th 1984, shows the floor plan for a 9500 square foot two-story building with an elevator. It was quite different from what the center is today which is the first lesson: although the vision of the center may remain true, the design and layout of the building may change significantly from beginning to end, because of input from seniors and the architects and because of financial constraints.

The second lesson was although the seniors were united around their vision, there was disagreement around the implementation. Specifically, the issue was whether to let out for bid the construction of the senior center with or without a partial basement. Through this expansion project there will also be differences and there will be opportunities where they can be expressed in a constructive way. We want to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas so we can best meet the needs of every senior.

Finally, as Karl Kramer was quoted in The Dalles Chronicle “a lot of talk don’t count” and this may be the most important lesson: it took a lot of hard work and perseverance (besides donations) to build this center and it will take the same to add an addition. The “United Seniors” remained true to their vision and their legacy has been tremendous. With the help of our valuable partners and remaining true to the center’s vision that “every senior lives with joy in an enriching and fulfilling environment knowing they are loved” we can make also leave a valuable legacy for the next 25 years.

We sincerely want to thank The Dalles City, Nolan Young, Mayor Robb Van Cleave and the Public Works Department for fixing the Senior Center flag pole so we can respectfully display the flag as it should be done. Also a big thank-you to the folks at Design Structures particularly Linda for doing the impossible and having drawings prepared for the Thursday presentation.

This Saturday from 8:00 – 10:00 is the Senior Center’s monthly breakfast. Edna and Bonnie are cooking up French Toast, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit and the regular coffee, milk juice or tea. Why not have someone else make breakfast for you and help out the senior center at the same time? (Unfortunately we are unable to deliver to you bed.)

The speaker for our “Next Chapter” Lecture Series presentation on February 19th is Jim Bishop of Westcorp Mortgage discussing “Reverse Mortgages” and whether this financial tool could be appropriate for you. Because many seniors are cash poor but equity rich, reverse mortgages have been promoted as a possible way to stay in your home and remain independent longer.

The Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music Program on February 19th at 7:00 presents “Pennies and Small Change”. They are a group of local musicians who just like to play a variety of music for your pleasure from bluegrass to Irish fiddle and gospel. Their music gets you up and dancing with Jack Shepherd on honky-tonk piano and guitar, Susan Crowley on guitar and banjo, Peny Wallace on mandolin and fiddle and Emily Krager on fiddle and bass. Admission is always free and open to everyone and every age. And if you read this in time, the crowd favorites “The Notecrackers” will be performing tonight.

I would like to close with one of my favorite stories, “The Starthrower” by Loren Eisley. As we work to make our communities better for all generations, it reminds that it will take many small, simple acts and not the one big answer. Until next time, keep your head on straight and a smile on your face.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

Senior Living February 5 2008

Senior Living February 5

I would like everyone to know that I do not come up with the catchy headlines for this senior living column. The Dalles Chronicle staff gets the credit for being the creative ones and apparently they had fun coming up with last week’s headline: Aging –it is not for sissies. Aging is not for the faint of heart and although I emphasize and highlight the tremendous rewards of aging in this column, there are no doubt challenges: physically, mentally and emotionally because we know them every day (my knees now tell me I should have been fishing instead of running when I was younger).

One of the struggles we face as we do age are the losses we encounter: death of a close friend or losing our physical or mental abilities, and the corresponding grief that accompanies the loss. On my cluttered desk I found “Some thoughts about grieving” written by Hospice of the Gorge. It shares many of the things you should and should not do when trying to deal with the feelings of grief. It is information many of us could use particularly living in a culture where men are not suppose to cry and we are to keep our feelings to ourselves (although that is changing). The thoughts are abbreviated for his column but pretty much verbatim. If you would like more information about loss and grieving, contact Hospice of the Gorge.

Thoughts about Grieving

Accept the grief - do not try to “be brave” and if you need, take time to cry. Talk about it - share your grief with family or a friend and if a friend tells you to “snap out of it” find another friend. Keep busy - do work that occupies the mind but avoid frantic activity. Take care of yourself - you may feel you don’t care but that will change. You are important and your life is valuable. Eat well - at this time in your life you need good nourishment. Exercise regularly – return to your old program or start a new one soon. Get rid of the imagined guilt – you did the best you could at the time. If you made mistakes accept that you, like everyone else, are not perfect. Join a group of other who are sorrowing – your old circle of friends may change. Even if it does not, you will need new friends who have been through your experience. Associate with old friends also – this may be difficult, because some may be embarrassed by your presence but they will get over it. Postpone major decisions – for example, wait at least a year, if you can, before deciding to sell your house or change jobs. Take advantage of your religious affiliations, if you have one – if you have been inactive this might be the time to become involved again. Get professional help if needed - do not allow crippling grief to continue. There comes a time to stop crying and to live again.

Remember, no matter how deep your sorrow, you are not alone. Others have been there and will help share your load if you will let them. Do not deny them the opportunity. Thanks to Hospice of the Gorge for providing this information that I could share with you.

The speaker for our “Next Chapter” Lecture Series on February 12 is Jerry Tanquist, local railroad enthusiast and historian. He will be discussing “The Great Southern Railroad, The Story of Our Local Wasco County Railroad - The Dalles to Dufur and on to Friend 1905 - 1936”. This is a wonderful presentation for anyone interested in railroads and our amazing local history. For those who were disappointed when we postponed the “Reverse Mortgages” presentation by Jim Bishop of Westcorp Mortgage because of snow, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 19th

Also, next Tuesday (February 12th) at 7:00 the Senior Center welcomes back our regular second Tuesday performers “The Notecrackers”. Their January performance was snowed out so now is your chance to get back into the swing of things while listening and dancing to the sweet sounds of the 20’s through the 60’s. Performing tonight at the Senior Center are Lloyd Walworth and his The Dalles Wahtonka High School vocalists.

Wheel Chairs needed

One of the small but truly appreciated services the Center provides is lending walkers, canes and wheelchairs to those who need one for a short period of time (less than six weeks) We have a large collection of canes and walkers but unfortunately we are have loaned out all of our wheelchairs. We are now looking for any useable wheelchairs that could be donated to the Center.

Life is always changing whether in our personal lives or in our community and the change can create uncertainty and fear especially if it happens to us and we have no ability to affect the change. (And not all change is positive as we consider what to do about global warming and increased drug use.) But change can also create opportunities and the Senior Center is looking for any new opportunities to meet the needs of all seniors. Last month when identifying future opportunities for the Senior Center, I left out one exciting possibility I feel could have the greatest impact on the senior community and put the Senior Center in the position to effectively support seniors for the next 25 years. That possibility will be presented at noon on Thursday at The Senior Center. Come and enjoy a fine meal (salmon and baked potato) provided by Meals-on-Wheels and learn more about the future of the Senior Center. This will just be the beginning of the conversation and we will need the ideas and support of everyone interested in the welfare of both our current and future seniors.

Until the next time, imagine when it snows it is just a snowman falling - unassembled.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore

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