Senior Living August 19th

What is your idea of adventure? Climbing Mt. Hood, scuba diving in the Caribbean or sailing around the world. Or if you your interests are more toward the arts maybe visiting the Louvre in Paris, acting in a movie with Meryl Streep or having lunch with JK Rowling. But as they say nowadays, “Let's get real”. For me at least, unless some mysterious great uncle I never heard of leaves me a nice inheritance, I can dream, but it ain’t gonna happen. But fortunately, you don't need to travel halfway around the world to find adventure. It may be as close as buying a piano that your kids don’t think you have room for. It may be falling in love again when you thought you never could. It may be leaving the house when you don’t feel there is any reason. Or it can be as simple as wearing those madras shorts to the Senior Center one more time. There is adventure all around us that is just waiting to be discovered.

At the Senior Center there are many opportunities to discover new adventures. There is Strong Women, Seniorcise, Yoga, Tap and Clogging, Quilters, and our card games including Pinochle, Bridge and Cribbage. You can attend the new programs we started last year: Monday Night Will Bowling, the Computer Lab and Help Sessions, and The Next Chapter Lecture Series. And in our efforts to provide even more territory to explore we will be adding several new classes this fall including Card Making, Drawing with Pen and Ink, Tai Chi, and Games on the Wii. For more information or to sign up, call the Senior Center at 296-4788.

This is short notice, but there is an informational meeting many of you may want to attend. State Medicare experts will be in The Dalles at the Senior Center, this Thursday, August 21st from 2:00 – 4:00 to offer a free two hour class about Medicare. The class is offered by the State Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program (SHIBA) and will cover such topics as: how to get Medicare, different types of Medicare insurance, including the prescription drug coverage: and volunteering with SHIBA. As the Medicare folks explain it, "Most people think Medicare is something that just shows up in the mail when they turn 65, but Medicare coverage actually requires folks to make some good personal choices. To make those choices successfully, it helps to understand what the medical acronyms, plans and deadlines really mean. And if you have questions about your current coverage, this class is for you. Medicare counselors will be on hand to answer all your questions and address any complaints you may have." To register call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 or if you are a procrastinator just show up on Thursday. Remember, you aren't really old until your children are on Medicare.

Another opportunity starting on Tuesday August 26th is "Living Well with Chronic Conditions" a six-week workshop for people living with chronic conditions and those who care for them. It provides tools for living a healthy life with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, asthma and heart disease. Through weekly sessions, the workshop provides support for continuing normal daily activities and dealing with the emotions that chronic conditions may bring about. Topics that will be covered include: managing symptoms, medication how-to, working with your healthcare team, setting weekly goals, effective problem solving, better communication, how to relax, handling difficult emotions, tips for eating well, safe easy exercise. The class will be from 2:00 – 4:30 on Tuesdays August 26th to September 30th at the Senior Center 1112 W 9th Street. For more information call Allyson Smith at the Wasco Sherman Health Department at 506-2600. They need ten people for this workshop so it is important you pre-register. You can sign up there or at the Senior Center. This workshop is made possible by the efforts of the Area Agency on Aging, Wasco Sherman County Health Department, Wasco County Extension and Julie Reynolds.

You may have noticed a new Senior Center sign at the corner of 10th and Cherry Heights thanks to Chris Zukin, John Lehman and the fine crew at Meadow Outdoor Advertising. After discussions with Chris and John about how the center could maximize the potential of that busy corner, Chris offered to build a structure that would raise the previous sign and allow space for banners below it. The banners will promote the idea that although we are a senior center, we are also a “fun” center, a “learning” center and an “exercise” center: a place that is “more than you think”. Thanks to their efforts, more folks will know about the programs and activities offered at the Senior Center.

Remember the days when you either grew your own vegetables and fruits in your own yard or bought them from your neighbor’s fruit stand. You can return to those days by visiting The Dalles Farmer’s Market where you can buy fresh vegetables and fruit from a variety of local vendors. It is open every Wednesday from 8:00 to 1:00 until mid-October and is located on the lawn of The Dalles Chamber of Commerce at 404 W 2nd Street. If you have any questions can contact Barbara Pashek at 298-1973 or

This coming Tuesday the 26th at the Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music and Dance you will have the chance to get your monthly dose of “The Jazz Generations” playing the Big Band sounds. There have been nice crowds, but Hank wants to see more people up and dancing. So bring a friend and get the place hopping and bopping. And performing tonight are the crowd favorites, “Harold and Friends” playing country and western. Everybody is welcome! Admission is free but donations gladly accepted.

That is it for another week. Until we meet again, here is a quote from Eubie Blake, pianist and pioneer of the boogie-woogie, at the age of 100, “Those docs, they always ask you how you live so long. I tell ‘em, ‘If I’d know I was gonna live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.’”

Senior Living August 12th

At the senior center we often joke about the differences between women and men, the Venus/Mars thing, and the challenges of living with the other sex: putting the toilet seat down (my wife trained me early), making sure the cap is put back on the toothpaste tube (ditto) and why do women need so many shoes (I have no idea.)?. But we all know how important the relationship is between husband and wife especially after a couple has been together for 30, 40 or 50 plus years.
But when we you lose your spouse, the person with which you have shared your dreams, vulnerabilities and embarrassing moments, your world ends. It is tough, really tough. The loss can happen unexpectedly, after a long illness or gradually as you lose the love of your life to dementia or Alzheimer's.

I don't imagine you ever really get over it. You can cling to the memories and joys you had experienced together, wishing it could have lasted forever. But nothing in this world lasts forever. And with the help of friends and family and for many a strong personal faith, you do move on.

But if you are struggling with a loss or if you know someone else who is, there are several Bereavement Support Groups in The Dalles where you can find a safe harbor to share your feelings and thoughts. The Hospice of the Gorge Bereavement Support group meets on the first and third Wednesdays at 10:00 am. Call 296-3228 for more information. And The Heart of Hospice Support group meets every Thursday at 10:00 am in the basement community room of the Commodore II. You can call them toll free at 888-882-1942.

Enjoy life and appreciate the good times. But during the times when life may feel like a shipwreck, Voltaire wrote “we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats”.

The Senior Center’s Yoga and Seniorcize classes are supported by a grant from the Area Agency on Aging recognizing the value of exercise and movement in maintaining a positive quality of life as we age. But the grant does not cover all the costs. So to make sure we can continue to offer these two programs, Debra Lutje, the class instructor, has started a fundraiser called “Flower Power” selling flower bulbs to plant in your garden this fall. You don’t have to have a pair of bell bottoms in your closet or a yellow Volkswagen van parked in the back to buy the bulbs. Stop by the Senior Center to see the selection of bulbs you can order and help support our exercise programs.

Dennis Davis, the volunteer AARP Driver Safety instructor, wants to make the world a safer place one driver at a time and consequently wants you to take advantage of his Driver's Safety class. The class is a great opportunity to review the rules of the road (when is the last time you read the Oregon Driver's Manual?) and how to handle various situations you may encounter while driving. The class is from 9:00 – 1:00 on every third Monday and Tuesday of the month and costs just $10.00 for the manuals. The next class is scheduled for August 18th and 19th and you can sign up by calling the Senior Center at 296-4788.

You will have another chance to eat out this coming Saturday morning at the Senior Center's Third Saturday Breakfast. Last Saturday the Mid-Columbia firemen hosted their annual MDA Breakfast with the support of Denise Patton director of Meals-on-Wheels. I had always thought she just wanted to help a good cause, but after eating at the breakfast on Saturday I found out the real reason: she likes to hang out with a bunch of good looking young firemen. (Some of us can only remember when we thought we were good looking). But this Saturday you will have another opportunity (without the good looking firemen) to enjoy a fine breakfast where someone else does the cooking. Besides the traditional pancakes, you will have the additional choice of blueberry or wheat pancakes topped with fruit, peanut butter or syrup. Along with the pancakes there will be bacon, juice and the regular beverages. Breakfast is from 8:00 – 10:00 and the price is just five dollars with one dollar off for Senior Center members.

Next Tuesday, August19th, you can listen and dance to the music of “Harold and Friends” playing again at the Senior Center. Last time they packed the house playing Country and Western standards and again it should be an excellent show. These shows are open to everyone with folks of all ages dancing to the music. Bring your friends and family and enjoy an evening of grand old Country and Western music. If you also enjoy dancing and listening to the sweet sounds of the 20's through 60's, tonight is your night of the month, because the Notecrackers will be performing. Music starts at 7:00 PM. Admission is free but any donations help pay for the goodies, the fine musicians who either play for free or peanuts and the many activities at the Senior Center.

The other day I was rushing around outside the Senior Center when I jokingly commented to a volunteer, loading his car to deliver meals that I had just received a certified letter, yet unopened, which was "going to ruin my day". He replied, "No, its not". I was confused, because I was pretty sure he wasn't a clairvoyant who could read unopened letters. Then the light went on. He was just reminding me it is all about attitude. It was my choice whether it was going to be a good day or not regardless of what was in the letter. It was just another life lesson brought to me by the good folks at the Senior Center.

That's it for another week. Until we meet again, “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort” by Herm Albright.

And “If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want.” Oscar Wilde

Senior Living June 5th

Summer is the perfect time for family reunions: the kids are out of school and the weather is warm. Last week the McKay Reunion took place in Indianapolis where the whole clan covering four generations gathered for the first time in eight years. Like many families with busy schedules and long distances, it is hard to stay connected and even harder to get together. The reunion was a success: a simple affair, with plenty of pictures, conversations and memories to share. As usual we asked ourselves why we had waited so long and are already talking about the next gathering. Thanks to Marilyn Ericksen for filling in last week so I could spend more time with the relatives. It was a great time, but it is always nice to be back in Wasco County.

A cool stretch of weather during the summer won’t last long. And during the inevitable hot weather spells, a major health concern for older folks is dehydration. The Oregon Department of Human Services cautions, “Not getting enough fluids each day can take a tremendous toll on every aspect of bodily functions, including possible changes in memory, vision, and kidney and heart function.” Dehydration is a greater concern for seniors because the percentage of a person’s weight in water changes as we age from about 80% for children to only 43% for women and 50% for men between the ages of 61 and 74. Consequently, any decrease in fluid consumption can cause proportionately more dehydration. Older folks often don't consume enough liquids and for most folks you need at least six cups of liquids per day to stay hydrated.

To avoid dehydration you should drink many times throughout the day, and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas which act as diuretics. Instead, try drinking flavored carbonated water, or decaffeinated ice teas or just add a slice of lemon to a glass of water.

Ironically this last Sunday the Senior Center experienced its own hot spell when the center hosted the Dallesport Jammers. The air conditioner in the dining room would not kick on, nor would the Meals-on-Wheels freezer, nor the lights in the restrooms. (You know it is too warm in the dining room when it feels cooler walking outside.) I was a little panicked, initially thinking it was a problem with the center's electrical system. But with the help of Gary and Denise Patton, Phil Hayden of Juniper Heating, Doug Jenkins Electric and the PUD, we found out a squirrel, bound for squirrel heaven, got into the transformer and caused the problems. With everyone’s help, pitchers of water and the excellent music, we all survived although a little stickier. The “lemonade from the lemon” was we thankfully found the problem before Monday when we could have lost all the food in the freezers and refrigerators. But the Jammers will be back on Sunday, August 31st and I promise this time you may need to wear a sweater.

This coming Saturday morning you may see a bunch of fire trucks parked around the Senior Center. But don’t worry. The fire trucks are there to bring attention to the annual Mid-Columbia Firemen’s Breakfast for MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) from 8 to 10 AM. Thanks to Meals on Wheels for providing their kitchen and support and to the firemen for raising money for this worthy cause. Enjoy a fulfilling breakfast while supporting MDA.

On the same Saturday, August 9th, there will be a Nu-2-U Sidewalk Sale from 9:00 – 3:00 at the Senior Center. They are over stocked with good quality, mostly women’s, used clothes and need to move them out. There are a variety of sizes and styles from summer blouses to jackets to formal gowns. Come by and spend a few minutes. You might be surprised. All ages are welcome, because "what comes around goes around", although I did not see any striped bell-bottom pants or tie-dyed t-shirts.

Skip and Janet Tschanz will be leading a hike to powerful Tamannawis Falls on Monday August 11th. It is a moderate 4-mile round trip walk following beautiful Springs Creek. If you can walk from the Senior Center to Sorosis Park, this is an outing for you. Bring a camera, snacks, a beverage and a sense of adventure! If you would like to make this outing but don’t think you are up to the entire length of the trail, there are several picnic spots along the trail where you can stop and just enjoy the day! Meet at the Senior Center at 9:00 am to car pool. Donations for gas are appreciated.

The Tuesday Night music for August 12th will feature the "Notecrackers". We have been having excellent crowds and are working to get more seats for sitting and more room for dancing. So come on down. It’s a cool spot on hot nights! (now that we have the air conditioning working again.) And tonight another crowd favorite, the “Sugar Daddies” will be playing. The music and dancing starts at 7:00 pm. Admission is free although donations are gladly accepted. And whenever there is music at the Senior Center everyone is welcome from thirteen years old to a hundred and three.

The Wasco County Fair starts August 11th and runs through Sunday August 18th. The Fair is a community event which celebrates our vital agricultural industry in Wasco County. On Thursday the 14th there will be Senior Picnic at the Fairgrounds from noon to 2:00. Admission and food are free which is a pretty good price. There will be entertainment, door prizes and the “Third Annual Best Hat Contest”. The picnic is organized by the Area Agency on Aging and sponsored by Pioneer Potlatch. The Area Agency on Aging is trying to coordinate rides so if you think you need a ride, call them at 298-4101 or the Senior Center at 296-4788.

That's it for another week. Until we meet again,

"Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter." by Brad Henry.

Or as George Burns once said, "Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city".


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