Aging Well September 27th

Falls are common but most importantly - they are largely preventable. That was the key message from National Falls Prevention Awareness Day that was observed last Friday. And to promote greater awareness and understanding of older adult falls, the National Council on Aging identified common myths – and the realities.

Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me. Reality: 1 in 3 older adults fall every year in the U.S.

Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older. Reality: Falling is not normal and can be prevented by strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer.

Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won't fall. Reality: Limiting your activity does not prevent falls, but remaining active, increasing your strength and range of motion does.

Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling. Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Remove clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting and add grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.

Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can't be regained. Reality: Exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It is never too late to start.

Myth 6: Taking medication doesn't increase my risk of falling. Reality: Medications affect people in many different ways. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions.

Myth 7: I don't need to get my vision checked. Reality: People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your glasses.
Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent. Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility and independence.

The bottom line is that there are four actions you can do to reduce your risk of falling: exercise; have your health care provider review your medicines; have your vision checked, and make your home safer.

September is the kickoff month for this year’s United Way Campaign. And with your Chronicle last week, you received a brochure explaining the value of your local United Way. I encourage you to give to this community effort that supports over thirty non-profit organizations in the Gorge. United Way does make a difference.

The Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on the 4th will feature Jim Gordon, local Long Term Care Ombudsman. He will discuss the purpose and value of the Ombudsman program and also share the insights he’s gained from being an Ombudsman volunteer.

Did you figure out last week’s code? I used a “space code” which doesn’t change the order of the letters but changes where the spaces between the words occur. But this week it’s back to normal. Tonight the Jazz Generations will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. And next Tuesday on the 4th, we recycle the monthly line up, starting at the top of the dance card with the Strawberry Mountain Band. So everyone and everybody bring your dancing shoes. The music starts at 7:00 and donations are always appreciated.

So you have made it this far. How about a little brain challenge to see if your brain is still firing on all cylinders – or at least three out of four? An Arab sheikh tells his two sons to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. The one whose camel is slower wins. After wandering aimlessly for days, the brothers ask a wise man for guidance. Upon receiving the advice, they jump on the camels and race to the city as fast as they can. What did the wise man say to them? (Answer in next week’s column.)

The ol’ pea picker was Tennessee Ernie Ford who in 1955 recorded the #1 hit “Sixteen Tons”. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets was Lola Sinclair.) This week’s “Remember When” question is from TV in the 60’s. Again for five raffle tickets, what was the name of the show whose premise centered on the mysterious murder of Helen Regan Kimble? Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a phonebook from Stafford, Indiana.

Well it’s been another week waiting to see what’s on the other side of the leaf. Until we meet again, as our children have taught us - only by stumbling do we learn to walk.

“Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.” Dandemis

Aging Well September 20th

Good news! The popular “Strong Women” program will be returning on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 - 3:00 starting November 1st with Fern Wilcox back at the helm. This addition will complete the Center’s full array of quality exercise and movement classes to improve your strength, flexibility and balance. Besides Fern’s “Strong Women’s” class, Drill Sergeant Debra Lutje will get you moving in her Seniorcise class on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 9:15 - 10:00 and then switches personalities to Miss Sunflower - leading the yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:30. On Tuesdays from 1:00 – 1:45 Corliss Marsh teaches the gentle flowing movements of Tai Chi which many folks take to improve their balance. And Ardyce Edling teaches tap, clogging, pole and now fan dancing every Thursday from 10:00 until noon. (For those who know Ardyce - I’m just kidding! She doesn’t really teach pole and fan dancing. But then --- maybe she does. You never know what goes on behind closed doors!) But all the classes are targeted for men and women 55+ who want to improve their physical well-being but also want to keep it real: knowing none of us are getting any younger. Better maybe, but not younger.

There wasn’t any dancing on the tables or food fights in the halls, but there was a rockin’ good time at the Center’s “Back to School Breakfast” last Saturday – organized, mobilized and energized by the spirited TDHS class of ‘63. It was such a success that if there are any other classes who want to show “you still got what it takes” - by sponsoring a breakfast next year, call the Center and we will get your class signed up.

For those who missed the excellent presentation by Lynette Black, OSU Wasco County Extension faculty, on how to prepare for an emergency, we have at the Center the materials she distributed including “Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors”. But the easy part is knowing what to do: to prepare for at least three days, rotate your supplies every six months, and have your kit packed and ready to go. The hard part is doing it: putting together the kit, making a plan and staying informed. There is always something else at the top of the to-do list, and besides, what really are the chances? But as we have seen, disasters do strike and it is best to be prepared. Not everyone lives next to a Boy Scout who can help during a crisis.

The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on the 27th will feature Joyce Powell Morin from MCMC describing the activities that will take place at the Health and Wellness Fair from 10:00 – 2:00 on October 1st at River’s Edge. She will get us so fired up that waiting until the 1st will be like waiting for Christmas morning when we were kids.

Is it time for another mental puzzler? (And I consider moans and groans as affirmative answers!) In previous columns, I have written the music announcements by arranging the letters backwards, reversing the words in the sentences and by representing each letter by the letter before it. So see if you can figure this one out. And like many things in life, it’s relatively simple - if you know the secret.

Tonight Truman wil lbep la yingh iscount rygold. And next Tuesday onth e27thw ewillch angest yleswit hthe Jazz Generations pla yingy ourb igban dande asylis ten ingfa vorites. Them usicst art sats even. Ever yonei sin vitedan ddon ation sareal waysap pre ciated.

During the spring of 1963, Dr. No, the first “Bond, James Bond” movie was released starring Sean Connery. And on the jukebox, Leslie Gore was singing the #1 hit “It’s My Party”. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast was Sandy Goforth.) The winner of this week’s “Remember When” question will have five raffle tickets entered in their name for the beautiful quilt that is hanging in the Center’s lobby. The drawing will be during the December Christmas Breakfast.

This country and pop singer had his own prime time variety show from 1956 -1961which always ended with a gospel song. And in 1955 he had a #1 hit on both the country and pop charts. What was the name of “the ol’ pea-picker”?
Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with an original Davy Crockett coonskin cap.

Well it’s been another week and “another day older and deeper in debt”. Until we meet again, just be yourself - no one else can.

“A gentleman is one who can play the bagpipes, but doesn’t.” Anonymous

Aging Well September 13th

Did you ever consider that by hiring an in-home caregiver you become an employer with all the corresponding responsibilities? It does make sense. But when I hired a caregiver to stay with my mom while my wife and I worked, I never really thought about it. And you may not have either. But I have since learned if you pay a caregiver more than $1000 in a calendar quarter, you are a domestic employer and must register with the Oregon Employment Department, pay unemployment taxes, and file an annual or quarterly tax report. That sounds pretty daunting. But at the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on the 20th, Isabel Allen from the Oregon Employment Department will help explain what you need to do to hire the caregiver you need.

Mark your calendars! On Friday October 7th Meals-on-Wheels and the Center are bringing back the Baby Back Rib dinner – with dinner served from 5:00 - 7:30 PM and the Hardshell Harmony playing bluegrass starting at 6:30. The dinner of baby back ribs, cole slaw, corn on the cob, bread, dessert and a beverage plus your own bib (if you are the messy type) will only set you back $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12. You can purchase your tickets in advance at the Center – which we prefer - but if you are the spontaneous seat-of-your-pants type you can buy them at the door. The board members of both Meals-on-Wheels and the Center have dug into their pockets to purchase all the food for the dinner, so every dollar raised will go directly to the two programs.

If you ever had a loved one with Alzheimer’s or have known someone with the disease, the Oregon Alzheimer’s Association would like you to complete a short survey. Your thoughts and opinions from the survey will be used to help craft a state plan for addressing Alzheimer’s Disease in Oregon. To complete the survey, go to and scroll down the page under “Programs and Events” and click on “Take our Survey”. But you have to reply by September 15th.

This coming Saturday, the 17th, from 8:00 – 9:30 AM it is again breakfast time at the Center. This “Back to School” breakfast sponsored by The Dalles High School Class of ‘63 will include your choice of three kinds of hotcakes: blueberry, buckwheat, or plain, sausage or bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit and your choice of beverage. It will be a definite yum-fest. But be aware! Considering the reputation of the class of ’63, there may be dancing on the tables and food fights in the halls. The cost is only $5.00 and a dollar less for Center members.

And yes Virginia, there was someone who did attend the Beatles Portland concert in August of ‘65! And that lucky girl was Shirley Bailey who even emailed me pictures of her $6.00 matinee tickets. Pretty cool! And Shirley, if you promise to share some of your memories of that day, you have a free breakfast waiting for you this Saturday at the Center.

If you get your Chronicle early you may still have time to hoof it down to the Center and dance to the sounds of Martin and Friends starting at 7:00. And next Tuesday on the 20th, Truman will be playing his country gold (and Truman are the rumors true –you have recorded a CD of country favorites?) Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

It was Gasoline Alley the comic strip which introduced Skeezix - found as a baby abandoned on Walt Wallet’s doorstep and now a grandfather in his 80’s. But this week, I’m doubling your pleasure with two “Remember Whens” from the spring of 1963 when TDHS seniors were cutting class and cramming for finals while trying to surprise their parents by actually graduating from high school. 1) What was the name of the first James Bond movie that was just released? And 2) What was the name of Lesley Gore’s #1 hit. The third person to correctly answer both questions will receive not one but two free breakfasts. Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop them off with a six pack of Coca Cola’s first diet drink: Tab.

Well it’s been another week dazed and confused trying to figure out what “it” is. Until we meet again, stay strong, stay calm and stay in touch.

"How often we choose the safe path only to discover that it was not one of the choices." Robert Brault

Aging Well September 6th

I am writing this column on Friday so I can enjoy a labor-less Monday. So to keep it simple I am including three of my favorite jokes that I have shared previously in the Center’s weekly newsletter. And to keep is short, the usual Center announcements are in the form of that long ago equivalent to today’s text messaging - the telegram.

A good time to laugh is any time you can. ~Linda Ellerbee

An old man living alone on a farm wrote to his only son, Bubba, in prison. "Dear Bubba, I'm feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. Wish you were here--I know you'd take care of it for me. Love, Dad"
About a week later, the farmer received this letter: "Dear Dad, Whatever you do, Don't dig up the garden! That's where I buried the bodies!! Bubba"
The next morning FBI agents stormed the property and dug up the entire garden. They didn't find any bodies, so they apologized to the old man and left disgusted.
Soon the farmer received another letter: "Dear Dad: Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. It's the best I could do under the circumstances. Bubba"

September National Emergency Preparedness Month –(Stop)- Lynette Black OSU Extension agent speaker Tuesday 13th 11:00 –(Stop)- Learn how to prepare for unexpected emergencies

One day an old German Shepherd
starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep blankety-blank now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?"
Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!," says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes. The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.
The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?," but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says...

"Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

Music 7:00 tonight at Center –(Stop)- Strawberry Mountain Band –(Stop)- Next Tuesday John Martin and Friends playing –(Stop)- Everyone invited for good time –(Stop)- Donations accepted

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, "How do you determine whether or not an older person should be put in an old age home?"

"Well," he said, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the person to empty the bathtub."
"Oh, I understand," I said. "A normal person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup."
"No" he said. "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Chester A. Riley played by William Bendix often exclaimed “What a revoltin’ development, this is.” –(Stop)- Winner Marilyn Sarsfield –(Stop)- This week’s “Remember When” question –(Stop)- What is name of comic strip began in 1918 still running –(STOP)- was the first to show its characters aging –(Stop)- Skeezix is now an octogenarian –(Stop)- E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of Walt Wallet’s family tree

Well, it’s been another stop and go week that got up and went. Until we meet again when you are driving through life, don’t confuse the gas pedal with the brake.

“When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other.” Alan Alda


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