Aging Well June 23

We have heard the stories: lottery rip-offs, insurance fraud, and “sweetheart scams”. Unfortunately, seniors are a prime target for such financial abuse because of their trusting nature, large net worth and vulnerabilities. Last March, a study by Metlife found the annual loss from the financial abuse of seniors is a whopping $2.6 billion. The study also found that elder financial abuse can be committed by anyone. It can be as close as a “family member, neighbor, or friend”, or as far away as an “invisible voice on the telephone or an e-mail from the other side of the globe".

It may not be surprising but financial abuse is generally not committed by strangers. More likely it is people who are in positions of trust such as business advisers, caregivers or family members (watch out for the kids). And it will probably get worse. With the number of seniors increasing and technological advances continuing, the number of opportunities for the financial abuse of seniors will rise dramatically.

You can learn more about this serious problem by reading the full study, including the common types and leading signs of financial abuse, by going to the Center’s Blog at and look for the link to “Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances”.

If you do need help managing your finances – haven’t balanced your check book in a year – you can get trusted help from the AARP Money Management Program. The program offers money management service to help low-income seniors who have difficulty budgeting, paying routine bills, and keeping track of financial matters. For more information, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

In the same vein, there will be a Medicare Fraud Training, July 13 from 2 - 4 PM at the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments office on the corner of 11th and Kelley. The Senior Medicare Patrol, retired professionals who are trained to help Medicare recipients identify Medicare fraud, waste and abuse, will be providing the training and they encourage anyone who has contact with seniors to attend.

The last Next Chapter lecture before we take a two month summer break will be Tuesday the 30th and will feature Sue Samet, Director of the Area Agency on Aging, discussing the legislation affecting seniors that has passed this legislative session. The legislative leadership is hoping to conclude the session by the 30th, but we will see.

Performing at the Center this coming week will be The Jammers for the Sunday Pie and Jam Social on the 28th from 2 - 5 PM followed by the Dufur Boys from Dufur on Tuesday the 30th. And tonight the Jazz Generations will be playing their favorite standards for your listening and dancing pleasure. Music starts at 7:00 and the music is free but donations are appreciated.

Thanks to Joanne Scott for emailing me the baby boomer spoofing video called “Baby Boomers Battle Hymn” which I have posted on the Center's Blog. It begins with the quote "Barack Obama's inauguration makes 70 million baby boomers older than their president for the first time. Never has a group been so large..... or so clueless". Although we may be clueless we know our music. So the first person who emails me the name of the restaurant made famous by Arlo Guthrie will win a free breakfast at the Center's Ft Dalles Rodeo Breakfast on July 18th.

That's it. It is hard to imagine that the fourth of July is just around the fireworks stand. So until we meet again, celebrate the unexpected even though it can be a real pain in the you-know-what.

"The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope..." Steven Ambrose

Aging Well June 16, 2009

As you grow older are you happier? In a study of more than 2 million people from 80 countries, it was found that happiness was related to age. But the relationship might not be what you would expect. The results showed people are most miserable in middle years between 40 and 50 and are happiest towards the beginning and end of their lives. (In the US, men were most likely to be unhappiest at 50, and women at 40.) This U-shaped curve of peoples' happiness was a consistent pattern regardless of socio-economic status or changes in marital status, employment or income. "Only in their 50s do most people emerge from the low period. But encouragingly, by the time you are 70, if you are still physically fit then on average you are as happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year-old."

The researchers suggested several possibilities for this pattern: a better sense of who you are, a greater appreciation for life or cheerful people just live longer. But we all know the real reason. Grandkids! No longer do you have to raise your own but now you can spoil and enjoy your kids’ kids. As one observed, "It's funny that those things your kids did that got on your nerves seem so cute when your grandchildren do them".

The Center's monthly breakfast is this Saturday, June 20th, and Bonnie and Edna would like to offer you a delicious breakfast of hotcakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and your favorite beverage. We generally serve between 40 and 50 folks but we would like to double that number. Bring your friends, pick up someone off the street or just come by yourself. The price is $5.00 for the general public and $4.00 for Center members and the food starts hitting the plates at 8:00 and continues till 10:00.

At times when I am not the sharpest stone in the gravel pit, I have been called dense, but being dense is not always a bad thing if you are talking about bones. Dr. Fran Yuhas will be discussing Bone Density at the center on Tuesday June 23rd at 11:00. You can learn more about the loss of bone density called osteoporosis: when bones become porous because of the loss of calcium and over time weaken to where they are more likely to break. Osteoporosis is much more common in women than in men because "women have less bone mass than men, tend to live longer, take in less calcium, and need the female hormone estrogen to keep their bones strong”.

There was a last minute change for tonight's Tuesday Night Music at the Center. The Hardshell Harmony will be jumping in - playing their "toe tapping, thigh slapping" brand of bluegrass music which I know you will enjoy. Next week you will have a chance to dance to the Jazz Generations playing the big band sounds of the golden age. Music always starts at 7:00 and is free although we do appreciate donations to keep the music flowing. Everybody is welcome whether you have two toes or four, as long as they can tap to the music.

And if you happen to forget something you read in this column after you have already recycled the paper, you can always go to the Center's Blog at to find the column and other information about the Center.

Until we meet again, as Bobby McFerrin sang in his #1 hit of 1988, "In every life we have some trouble, When you worry you make it double. Don't worry, Be happy".

Aging Well June 9th

How old is old? Is it fifteen years older than you are as Bernard Baruch once famously said? Or as the basketball Coach Phog Allen lamented “when it takes longer to rest up than it takes to get tired”? MetLife did a marketing survey of sixty-two year olds asking them how old is old and the answer they found was seventy seven. I know several folks in their seventy’s who wouldn’t consider themselves old - maybe a little slower, a little stiffer and not as strong - but certainly not old. But whatever you think old is today, in the next 25 years the definition of old will change dramatically. By that time science fiction will become reality and Shangri-La may no longer be found only in an imaginary valley in the Himalayas.

On the new horizon, technological advances are just being discovered and engineered that may drastically change the way we age and consequently how we perceive old age. With the possibility of growing new organs and the advancements in brain research we may have to answer the question, “What do we do when we possess our own soul but the insurance company owns our body?”

Aubrey de Grey, a British biomedical gerontologist, has promoted a radical and controversial theoretical framework suggesting that aging is a disease and within 25 years through regenerative medicine it may be possible to live for a hundred and fifty, two hundred or even three hundred years. But is this just another misguided dream like changing lead into gold or creating the perpetual motion machine? We may soon find out.

In the next 25 years what will old look like? It is already said that today’s sixty’s are the new fifty’s. In the not too distant future will the hundred and fifty year olds be the new sixty’s?

There are many challenges when caring for a person with Alzheimers. One area that creates many questions is how to manage the many possible medications. On Tuesday June 23rd from 2 - 4 PM at the Center, the Area Agency on Aging will be hosting a workshop on “Medication Management in Alzheimer's Disease: the Role of the Family Caregiver”. If you care for someone with this tragic disease or know of someone with Alzheimers, you will find this workshop helpful and informative.

You will have a chance to learn more about the challenges and opportunity facing the city when Nolan Young The Dalles City Manager, speaks at the Center’s Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday June 16th. It is not easy weighing the interests of a diverse public with the interests of the individual when deciding complex and contentious issues such as urban renewal, annexation, docks and roundabouts. Nolan will share with you the city’s perspective and answer your questions.

Tonight, it’s Truman Boler’s one-man Country Gold and next Tuesday the Sugar Daddies playing at the Center for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music starts at 7:00 and everybody is welcome. And it’s all free but donations are always appreciated.

If you want to watch a short humorous video of Tom Rush singing the “Remember Song” go to the Center’s Blog at The song is a humorous take on our memory lapses that Pat Davenport found on the Internet and sent to me. If you have enjoyed any other Internet videos and think they would appeal to the 50+ crowd, send me a link and I will see if I can post it on the Center’s blog.

That’s another week. Until we meet again, I want to leave you with this observation from Sam Ciranny. When I asked him how he was doing; he paused and replied “My friends say I’m doing fine”.

Aging Well June 2

The financial plight of seniors has improved dramatically since 1967 when 30 % of seniors were living in poverty. With the passage of Medicare and Older American's Act in 1965, the percentage has decreased to 11% by 2007. Even though that is a significant improvement we can all appreciate, many seniors are still not economically secure. Today the elderly represents the largest group that could be described as near-poor (between 100% and 150% of the poverty level) and they contribute the largest percentage of their income to health care costs. With the support of Visiting Health Services and Hospice of the Gorge, the Center is helping to address both of these challenges by offering common used home medical equipment for a short period or indefinitely all for free although we gladly accept donations. The available equipment includes bath seats, transfer benches, bedside commodes, toilet seat risers as well as wheelchairs, walkers and canes. The Loan Closet is open during the Center’s normal working hours between 9 and 4, Monday through Friday.

For the next two Tuesdays at 11:00 you will get a chance to ask those in the know of two of our local governments that common question, "What in the heck were you thinking?" On Tuesday June 9th, Dan Ericksen the Wasco County Judge will be discussing the challenges and opportunities facing county government from taxes to home rule and everything in between. And on the 16th, the city will be on the griddle with Nolan Young City Manger answering your questions concerning city priorities, annexations and whether The Dalles residents can learn to drive in a circle. Share your thoughts while learning more about how your county and city governments work.

Tonight the Center is welcoming John and Debbie Martin and Friends playing Country Western music. Then we will return to the “tried and true” with Truman Boler on the 9th followed by the Sugar Daddies on the 16th. Check out why both Truman and the Sugar Daddies have such loyal followings. On the 23rd the Jazz Generations will offer a change of pace, playing the Big Band sounds. And on the special fifth Tuesday of the month the Center will be welcoming back the always popular Dufur Boys from Dufur. And to add the cherry on top of June, the Jammers will be playing on the fourth Sunday from 2:00 - 5:00. Make sure you get this all down so you won't miss any of the fine entertainment. Music and dancing starts at 7:00 and don't forget: AFBDGA (Admission's Free But Donations Gladly Accepted).

Sometimes when your kids come back home there are situations when you ask, “Did I do something wrong? Was I a poor father?” Those questions came to me last week when my 25 year old son, stuck in Hood River, called to ask, “How do you jump the car battery?” I have to admit he has been very frugal (being Scottish we prefer frugal instead of cheap) and for the last six years has survived without a car using public transportation, Zipcars and friends. But still, how did I fail in instructing him in this rudimentary aspect of every young man’s life? After I gave him instructions over the phone, he successfully started the car. And later that night he shared his appreciation by telling me, “That’s why we keep the older generation around, because they know things.” You’re darn right. And more than you think.

Quick reminder: The Foster Grandparent Informational Meeting will be held at the Center, this Wednesday the 3rd at 11:00. Learn more about how you can make a difference. And for more information you can check my blog at

That’s it. How time flies. Until we meet again, as my father always said, “Tomorrow is another day!”


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