Aging Well April 30th 2013

Do you expect you will ever need long term care services? And knowing that Medicare does not cover long term care, are you prepared to pay for it, i.e. long term care insurance or personal assets?

The reality is 70% of Americans over 65 will need some kind of long term care for an average of three years. But the ability to provide long term care for everyone who will need it in the future is in doubt because of several conflicting national dynamics.

Ever since Medicare and the Older Americans Act were passed in 1965, there has been a national effort to care for and protect vulnerable seniors so they can live with dignity and independence. But an escalating number of adults over 65 will not be prepared financially to afford the high costs of long term care and will eventually spend down their limited assets qualifying for Medicaid assistance. While at the same time, there is currently a significant national movement to reduce the size and cost of government including Medicaid.

Long term care is expensive. The average annual cost for a semi private room in a nursing home is $73,000. (In 2009, Medicaid paid for 40 percent of all nursing home spending in the US.)  And a Licensed Home Health Aide costs $43,472. Already the elderly account for 25 percent of annual Medicaid spending while being only 10 percent of Medicaid enrollees

You can learn more about this complex and critical national issue at the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on May 8th. We will watch and discuss a March 20, 2013 panel discussion, convened by The SCAN Foundation, “on practical options from various perspectives for increasing access to affordable long-term care services for the millions of Americans needing this support”.  

The SCAN Foundation’s is an independent, non-profit public charity devoted to transforming health care for seniors in ways that encourage independence and preserve dignity. You can learn more about the challenges of providing long term care at their website .

The Wasco County Pioneers’ Annual Meeting has been held on the first Saturday in May since 1921 - which this year is Saturday May 4th at Calvary Baptist Church. And if you haven’t heard, after lunch Bill Johnson will speak about “Our Oregon Trail” with pictures of segments of the trail most people will never have a chance to see since they are located on private land. It should be a fascinating presentation.

Hopefully you will be attending the Friday Night Out Library Benefit and Auction at the Center on Friday May 3rd to support the children’s library expansion. And besides the live music, pizza and drinks, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bid on a variety of auction items including  (now listen carefully OSU fans!) a Vintage Benny the Beaver hat from Oregon State University circa 1947 and an Oregon State Rookie lid (a freshman beanie with a green top and an orange bill). There is also a paperback copy of “Sometimes a Great Notion” autographed by the late Merry Prankster himself - Ken Kesey, and a hardbound copy with dust jacket of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood End” autographed by the author at Willamette University in 1968. Tickets are $20, doors open at 5:30 and it is a 21 and over event - so sorry no grandchildren this time.

And before the hair line recedes and what’s left turns grey, playing tonight at the Center is “For the Good Times”. Then starting at the top of the batting order for a new month, on May 7th “The Strawberry Mountain Band” will play for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The terrible tasting oil many mothers used was Castor Oil, but other responses I received which may also bring back memories were Cod Liver Oil and Fletcher’s Castoria. (And the randomly selected winner is - drum roll please – Talie Kingsbury.)

But back to pop culture during the 1950’s – and thanks to Annie Lane for suggesting this week’s Remember When” question. What was the name of the talking mule, star of seven popular movies in the 50’s, who befriends a hapless young soldier named Peter Stirling? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the Army’s 123rd Mule Detachment.

Well, it has been another week enjoying the ride while keeping an eye out for the potholes. Until we meet again, do you ever have one of those days, when listening to folks debate whether the glass is half full or half empty, you’ll just glad there’s still water in it?

Aging Well April 23rd 2013

I’m trying to hold back the slow, methodical footsteps of time. I do all the right things. I wear a pedometer so I know when I reach my 10,000 steps a day; I keep mentally stimulated playing brain games and learning new languages; I now eat whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables; and I try to stay socially active by dating numerous women. (No Rita, I am just kidding!). But then I realize I am no longer the young whipper-snapper I use to be.

 And how do I know? Friends start giving me Kleenexes when my nose, without informing me, starts dripping like an old pipe; I mention Ma Bell to my adult children and they want to know who she is; among my younger friends I realize I am the only one who knows how to spell Alzheimers! And I now empathize with the woman who was looking for someone with younger legs to mow her yard, because at 87 she had finally reached the age when she couldn’t “cut the mustard, let alone the grass!”

 But then there isn’t much I can do about the quickening passage of time. I will just have to accept it and adapt with humor and grace and enjoy this precious life adventure.

 The Dalles will soon be under the spell of this year’s Cherry Festival - when the city puts its best foot forward for all to see and enjoy. You won’t want to miss The Dalles Floozies at the Columbia State Bank Lipsync Contest on Thursday night. (If it is anything like how they great the unsuspecting tour boat travelers, it should be a kick!) And at the Center before the parade you can enjoy a delicious breakfast of French Toast, scrambled eggs, a choice of bacon or sausage plus fruit and your favorite beverage (that is your favorite morning beverage.) The breakfast starting at 7:30 AM is sponsored by the Center’s neighbor to the north: Cherry Heights Retirement Community. Also at the breakfast you can purchase raffle tickets for the one-of-a-kind quilt that has fifteen historical pictures of The Dalles hand stitched into it. And then you can end the evening with Bingo at the Center starting at 6:00 PM.

For those wondering who will be the speaker at the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on April 30th, I don’t know since I haven’t gotten around to lining anyone up yet. You will have to be surprised. But on May 15th I do know that Valerie Kendrick, director of Great-n-Small, will be discussing “Ages and Stages” of child development for all the grandmothers and grandfathers in the audience. It will help you understand why kids act the way they do and most importantly what you can do about it.

 There is still room on the bus for the Center’s day trip to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, a national historic site located in Woodland, Washington and the subject of Jean Kirkpatrick’s 2012 historical novel “Where Lilacs Still Bloom”. The trip is only $25 for admission and transportation, and you don’t have to be a member of the Center or live in Wasco County to participate in the trips. For more information call the Center at 541-296-4788.

 And before the snow recedes and the rivers rise, playing tonight at the Center is Mark Womble and the Sugar Daddies. And then on the fifth Tuesday “For the Good Times” will be playing for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated to feed the animals and to keep the lights on.

 It was the best response ever for a “Remember When” question and I never would have guessed it would be for “Bag Balm” the ointment originally used to soothe irritation on cows' udders but found to also be good for the treatment of chapped and irritated skin. (And the winner from the 20 entries was Lucy Rice.) But let’s go with one last question from the Home Remedy Department - thanks to Jess Birge. What was the oil many mothers used for anything that ailed you: from constipation to diarrhea and headaches, muscle pain, skin conditions in between. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a potted Ricinus communis plant from the Mediterranean region.

Well, it has been another week sneaking around the corner to see what lies ahead. Until we meet again, you know it’s not going to be one of your better days when you mistakenly pour your cereal into your juice cup instead of your cereal bowl.

Aging Well April 16th 2013

Now that the Center has completed its Spring Membership Drive, I would like to thank everyone who either renewed their membership or became a member for the first time. We surpassed three hundred members, the largest number in the last several years, and it is all because of you! The 2013 Membership Campaign will conclude in July, before the Center’s Annual Membership Meeting, and the goal is still four hundred members.

And a special thanks to all the Center’s Super Duper members ($50 per member instead of the regular $35 membership fee). But many have asked, “What are the benefits of a Super-Duper Membership?” I am afraid I am not allowed to say, since the Super-Duper benefits are just too Super-Duper for anyone to know. But what I can say is when that special something happens to you during the year, you will be reaping the rewards of your Super-Duper membership! Just ask the Center’s first Super-Duper Member - Patti Blagg. 

By being a member, you help support the many activities at the Center including the free 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on April 23rd featuring Dr. Mark Cullen, MCMC’s new orthopedic specialist. Dr. Cullen will speak on a topic near and dear to many of us: Arthritis and its medical and surgical care. He recently joined the MCMC/OHSU Orthopedic Clinic located at Water's Edge having moved from Georgia where he practiced for fifteen years. Dr. Cullen is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon who has completed fellowship training in sports medicine. He cares for patients of all ages and specializes in treatment of knee and shoulder injuries and pediatric fractures.

Many times it is a treat just taking a trip out of town when you don’t have to drive and can enjoy the journey is as well as the destination. Last Saturday we enjoyed both as the Center took its first spring outing – meandering our way over the Rowena Loops to the Western Antique Areoplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River - and then through the Hood River Port District on the way back. Thanks to Jodi Chastain for driving and entertaining us with stories of the history of Wasco County.

 But we have two more day trips planned in May. The first is on Wednesday, May 1st and offers you a chance to step back in time to discover the 1880's Victorian farmhouse and country garden that comprise the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, a national historic site located in Woodland Washington. The second trip is to see the Northwest Senior Theater perform “Broadway Highlights” on Wednesday May 15th at the Alpenrose Dairy Opera House in Portland. The NW Senior Theater is a group of experienced (55 and older) performers including singers, dancers, actors, musicians and production folks who still enjoy the “smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd”. Each trip costs $25.00 which includes transportation and admission (food is on your own), but each is limited to the first twenty riders. For more information call the Center at 541-296-4788.

 I can’t remember when I last tried to mess with your mind by scrambling the Center’s Tuesday Night Music announcement, but it feels like it’s that time again. So see if you can read the next paragraph - backwards. Detataicerppa syawla era snoitanod dna emoclew si enoyreve, 00:7 ta snigeb cisuM. slanigiro nwo rieht fo lareves sulp senut rapupop gnignis eb lliw “sieddaD raguS” keew txen dnA .”namurT” si retneC eht ta thginot gniyalp ,ria thgin eht sevael llihc eht erofeb dnA

 The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question was Merthiolate: the orange antiseptic for scratches and cuts. Well, that’s what I remembered. But everyone else seems to remember either Mercurochrome or Iodine.(And now I’m beginning to have doubts about my long term memory!) (Out of all the responses, the winner of five quilt raffle tickets or a free Cherry Festival breakfast on the 27th is Jean Vercouteren.)

And sticking with common remedies from the past, this week’s question was suggested by several folks at the Center. What was the name of the ointment originally used to soothe irritation on cows' udders after milking, but farmers' wives noticed the softness of their husbands' hands, and started using the product for the treatment of chapped and irritated skin? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a 10 ounce green square tin featuring a cow's head and red clovers on the lid. 

Well, it has been another week wondering whether it is spring or fall or something in between. Until we meet again, when you want to hear the truth - listen to what is not said.

Aging Well April 9th 2013

How are you doing financially? Are you able to live comfortably; able to take vacations to faraway places? Or are you just getting by - barely able meet your basic needs: housing, food, clothing, transportation and medical?

Because economic security is an important aspect of health and well-being, Financial Health is the focus for the month of April in your Passport to Happiness Calendar - and the topic for the next Passport to Happiness event at the Center on April 17th from 3:00 – 4:30. Carol Mauser, from the Aging and People with Disabilities office, and Marvin Pohl from the Area Agency on Aging will explain and clarify different services available to support older adults including Qualified Medicare Benefits, SHIBA, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Oregon Project Independence. If you haven’t attended any of the events, it is never too late to start. And don’t forget to bring your passport - the tear off section at the bottom of your calendar.

April is also National Financial Literacy Month and on the website, there are suggestions about how to manage your finances and save money. A few examples include evaluating your health insurance annually - which means for us “mature” folks to always review our current medical plans during Medicare Open Enrollment in October; borrow instead of buy (The Dalles Wasco County Library has a large selection of popular videos to lend) and to start hand washing instead of dry cleaning one shirt a month (I’ve never heard of anyone dry-cleaning their shirts! But then, I never knew you didn’t ask for Thousand Island dressing in an Italian restaurant.)

The Center‘s first spring day-trip is to WAAAM (Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum) in Hood River on April 13th. That is the second Saturday of the month when WAAAM fires up their aeroplanes and autos so you can experience what it was like in the “good-old-days”. The cost is $10.00 for admission, (but I have four two-for- the-price-of-one coupons, so for the first eight folks to sign up admission is only $5.00) plus $7.50 for the round trip transportation. But hurry - there is only room for twelve. We will leave the Center at 9:00 AM and return by 4:00 PM.

OSU Extension, in cooperation with CGCC, is offering the Mastery of Aging Well course in a five session series on Thursdays from 10:00 – noon at The Dalles CGCC campus starting April 18th. Each session will include a 45 minute video presentation, plus an expert speaker to continue the discussion and answer any questions. The first session is on Memory Difficulties - followed by Depression in Later Life, Medication Jeopardy, Food as Medicine, and Physical Exercise in Later Life. Register by calling CGCC Student Services at 541-506-6011or online at And the cost is $10.00 for each session.

At the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on April 16th, Corliss Marsh will discuss the proposed new addition to The Dalles Wasco County Library. And write on your Passport to Happiness Calendar the Friday Night Out Library Benefit and Auction on May 3rd at the Center.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Klindt's Bookstore, or at the door.

And before the shallow water passes away to let the deep sea roll, playing tonight at the Center is “Martin and Friends”. And next week Truman will be serenading you with his Country Gold. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question was General Douglas MacArthur who at his farewell speech before Congress spoke the famous lines “old soldiers never die; they just fade away”. (And this week’s winner is Sandy Goforth.)

This week’s question is about a common antiseptic from the 50’s which is seldom used anymore. Before my mother would paint my cuts or scrapes with this orange liquid, I can still remember grimacing, because I knew it was going to sting like the devil. (But she would tell me to blow on it - which amazingly did seem to help!)  What was the trade name of this antiseptic that some called “Monkey Blood”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with any memories of this antiseptic.

Well, it has been another week enjoying spring but just wishing the grass wouldn’t grow so fast. Until we meet again, at the end of the day don’t forget to take a deep breath - and count your blessings.

“I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar”

Aging Well April 2nd 2013

Were you ever called a “Fraidy Cat”? Unable to go to sleep without a night light. Or teased because you were too scared to watched Godzilla. Your imagination could run wild with all the “could be’s and maybe’s” - that monster could climb out from under the bed!

But as we have matured, so have our fears. And what was never a second thought, is now something to worry about: we stumble once, we worry about falling; we find a new mole, we think skin cancer; when we can’t remember an old friend, we’re losing our memory. And then while trying to sleep, late at night, in the dark, the fear of dying creeps into our minds. (Okay those may just be my fears, but you get the point, right? And maybe a night light is still a good idea.)

And while our fears, can keep us safe: staying off tall ladders, making the mammogram appointment, and getting our daily exercise, unreasonable fears (like the monster in the closet) can keep us from experiencing new opportunities. We let the fear of a disapproving look, keep us from painting; the fear of losing a loved one, keep us from forming new relationships; and because we are afraid of looking awkward, we don’t dance.

To manage our fears, it helps to stay connected with family; enjoy the laughter and support of our friends and to plan and prepare for the “inevitables”. (I hate to remind you who are in denial, but we are going to get older; we are going to lose friends and loved ones; and someday, we will pass from this earthly existence - but hopefully not too soon!)

Life is too short to worry about how short life is; too short to play it safe and miss all the opportunities and possibilities. None of us know what is going to happen today or tomorrow, let alone ten year from now. But as we live with our fears, we can still embrace each day - while enjoying the dance as long as the music keeps playing.

While grazing on the Internet, I found this memory tip posted on the blog “Marc and Angel Hack Life”. (It seems like memory isn’t just a concern of us older folks.) To improve your memory, they suggest before going to sleep at night, reviewing everything you did during the day - in specific detail as if you were watching a video replay. At first you may not remember much, but with experience you will gradually remember the details of your day – and maybe even remember where you misplaced that missing book!  Try it for thirty days and see if it helps.

At the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on April 9th starting at 11:00, Gae and Don Wimberly will discuss The Dalles Relay for Life - scheduled for Saturday June 22nd. Relay for Life celebrates survivorship, offers hope while raising funds to end the threat of cancer.

And before the river rises and the wind starts to blow, playing tonight at the Center is “The Strawberry Mountain Band”.  And next Tuesday “Martin and Friends” will be plucking away for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated

The Oregon native who wrote “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and who was “too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie," was Ken Kesey (And this week’s winner is Merry Prankster Dennis Morgan.)

But for this week’s “Remember When” question, let’s move to the Korean Peninsula. There have been bellicose threats coming from the young premier of North Korea, but that region has always been a flashpoint since the end of WWII. But on April 11th1951, who was the Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command (UNCOM) that was replaced by President Harry Truman, but returned to the states with a hero’s welcome before he “faded away”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the Port of Inchon.

Well, it has been another week enjoying the walks down to the river and back. Until we meet again, as Mae West once said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

“The very basic core of the human spirit is a natural passion for exploration and growth.  This growth comes directly from our encounters with new experiences; and hence there is no greater destination in life than to have an endlessly changing horizon – for each day to have a new and different sun.”


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