For the last several weeks I have focused on the Senior Center: past and future. But I have always wanted this column to be about more than just the Center. I am proud of all the activities the Center provides and will continue to share those with you, but I also want to share the many other opportunities available in the community plus information I have come across that will help us all age well. This third chapter of our lives is full of challenges (my knees, my eyes, my bladder) but also full of opportunities. There are many lessons we have learned - sometimes painfully - that prepares us for this next chapter. With the right attitude and perspective, we can still say “the best is yet to come”.
One such opportunity is available for low and moderate income homeowners in Wasco County, but to make it possible we we need your help. Columbia Cascade Housing is applying for a federal grant to expand the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program into Wasco County. It is already available in Sherman County. The loan program enables low and moderate income homeowners to fund repairs and upgrades to their homes using local contractors. Eligible homeowners can receive up to a $30,000 no interest loan that is deferred until the sale or transfer of ownership by the last surviving borrower or when the property is no longer the primary residence of the borrower.
This grant program could particularly help seniors by addressing health and safety issues such as repairing a roof, painting, replacing windows and improving handicap accessibility so they can stay in their homes longer.
It is a competitive process and one of the requirements for the application is a list of potential residents who could qualify for this loan program. If you are interested in this rare opportunity and think you might qualify or would just like more information, contact John Hutchinson at the Mid-Columbia Housing Resource Center at 296-5462. The grant application needs to be completed by the end of February, so don’t hesitate. If the grant application is successful, the funding could be available by the beginning of this summer.
The Center is fortunate to have Corliss Marsh teaching the Tai Chi class on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 1:45 and also the Computer Help Lab from 1:45 – 3:00. But she would like her students to know she will be out of town for the first three weeks of February and will return for her classes on February 24th.
As we continue along life’s path, we will inevitably encounter deep personal pain from a loss. But there are many resources available to help us through those difficulties times. Heart of Hospice is sponsoring a bereavement seminar for anyone who has experienced grief. The seminar is based on the book, "Understanding Your Grief" by Alan Wolfelt and begins Wednesday, January 28th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The nine week seminar will meet in the lower level community room in the Commodore at 312 Court Street. There will be group discussions on the weekly readings, journaling, and group exercises. There is no charge for anyone who would like to attend and the class can accommodate up to 10 individuals so please call 541-993-3362 to pre-register.
Heart of Hospice also supports an informal bereavement day group that meets on Thursdays at 10:00 in the Commodore II lower level community room at 312 Court Street
Now that it’s a new year, many folks have been wondering, when is Ronelle Currie and her cadre of volunteers going to start the AARP Tax Aide program? Well, the answer is Friday, February 6th. The program will be available from 3:00 – 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 – 12:00 through April 11th.
For the Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday January 27th, Freda Wasson and Robin Fritts, Licensed Massage Therapists, will be presenting the “The Joy of Massage”. This presentation was scheduled for last month but was postponed because of the weather, which wasn’t my idea. I was hoping to be the only one to show up and enjoy a nice relaxing, stress reducing massage all by myself. But I was persuaded that it wasn’t all about me and that Freda’s and Robin’s skills should be shared with a larger audience. So here again is your chance to experience and learn more about the health benefits of massage.
Every Tuesday night is music night at the Center with good sounds and high stepping. Next Tuesday at 7:00 pm the Jazz Generations are playing and if you like to dance this night is for you. And don’t forget tonight. The Gorge Strings are playing fiddle, folk and gospel including some good dancing tunes, but you better hurry. For this night only the music starts at 6:00 pm. Admission is always free and all ages are welcome.
“Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is returning to the Center on Tuesday February 3rd from 2:00 – 3:30 for six consecutive Tuesdays. The class provides family caregivers with the skills and confidence to better care for themselves while caring for others. Many caregivers have found this class beneficial, including those caring for a spouse or partner and adult children caring for their parents. You can register for the class by calling the Center at 296-4788.
And finally I have to admit, this week I’m turning 61. Yes, I know I may look only 45 (or is it 55? or maybe 65?), but I guess I embody the classic quote “Inside every older person is a young person, wondering what the hell happened.” I continue to stay optimistic by avoiding mirrors, ladders and shoes with laces and am still looking forward to the next day.
So until we meet again, don’t take life to seriously because “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional”. ~Chili Davis
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