Aging Well September 24th 2013

Falls can be more than an inconvenience - when you could just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. And according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one out of three adults aged 65 or older falls each year, adding up to a cost of $30 billion in 2010.  

So you can see why fall prevention awareness is a big deal. Fortunately there are steps you can take to prevent falls including this list of actions suggested by NIHSeniorHealth. I shortened the descriptions, but you can learn more by going to and searching for fall prevention.

1. Make an appointment with your doctor and be prepared to answer the following questions. What medications are you taking? Have you fallen before? Do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk?

2. Keep moving. Try activities that improve your strength, balance, coordination and flexibility such as walking, water workouts, yoga or Tai Chi. And there are exercises where you don’t even have to leave the house such as  a) standing on one foot, b) walking heel to toe, c) balance walk, d) back leg raises, and e) side leg raises.

3. Wear sensible shoes. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking feet.

4. Remove home hazards: boxes, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways. Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas; and loose rugs from your home. Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.

5. Light up your living space. Keep your home brightly lit and place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches. Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs. (That was my mistake when I missed the bottom step while taking out the recycling in the dark and breaking my hip.)

6. Use assistive devices. A cane or walker can help keep you steady. In addition install hand rails for BOTH sides of stairways, add grab bars for the shower or tub, or install a sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub.

These are all relatively simple steps you can take to prevent falls and maintain your independence while avoiding the fine young doctors in the emergency room.

Last week I mentioned the AARP Money Management program offered by the Area Agency on Aging (541-298-4101). But Sandy Haechrel, who volunteers for the program, reminded me that she will be available at the Center on Thursday Oct 3rd at 1:30 to help anyone balance their checkbooks or answer simple financial questions. She has been tested, stamped and certified by the Money Management program, so she knows her stuff.

At the Tuesday Lecture on October 1st at 11:00, I will show a Webinar produced by AARP on The Health Law: How it works for you and your family. Then on the 8th Jenny Tran will discuss Vaccines for Older Adults and on the 15th Jim Bishop will discuss the pros and cons of Reverse Mortgages.

And two quick reminders. At the Center on Saturday the 28th there is a Community Parking Lot sale from 8:00 until 1:00. And on Tuesday, October 1st starting at 7:00 PM, The Strawberry Mountain Band will be performing.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Lucky Strikes Means Fine Tobacco (and the winner of a free breakfast on October 19th is Janet Mabrey.) But Bill Van Nice also remembers from fifty or so years ago, L.S.M.F.T. was used on the local radio stations and stood for “Les Schwab Means Fine Tires”. And Don McAllister had a junior high flashback remembering "Loose straps mean ..."   Well, I better stop there - this is a family newspaper.

But this week’s question may be a tough one, unless you were a comix aficionado during the late ‘60’s. Who was the controversial cartoonist that created such countercultural characters as “Fritz the Cat” and “Mr. Natural” and the famous images from his "Keep on Truckin'" strip? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the first edition of Zap Comix #1 published in 1968.

Well, it has been another week when someone keeps raising the bar before I can get a drink. Until we meet again, as Will Rogers described the male condition “There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence.” 

Aging Well September 17th 2013

Senior Living September 17th 2013 Gary Grossman at BiCoastal Media reminded me that “Brevity is the soul of Clarity” (I wonder what he was trying to tell me?).But that is good advice - particularly this week when there is so much to mention. So let’s turn off the lights and get the show started. 

 This month’s Passport to Happiness event is on Wednesday the 18th starting at 3:00 at the Center. The focus is on the many faces of elderly abuse: physical, financial and emotional. If you are a victim of abuse or know someone who may be, contact the Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) office (1-800-452-2333) or the Area Agency on Aging (541-298-4101) to report your concerns. I have referred several people to APD and they have been both discrete and respectful in their investigations. 

 What has become an annual event, the TDHS class of ’63 (and I am told the best TDHS class ever!) is sponsoring the Center’s September “Back to School” breakfast on the 21st. Because of their warm appreciation for all the teachers that instructed, scolded and dragged them through high school, they will pay for breakfast for all current and retired teachers who want to enjoy a menu of Texas French Toast, sausage, and scrambled eggs. Otherwise breakfast is $5.00 and $4.00 for Center members. Breakfast is served from 8:00 – 9:30 (which may be a little early for some classmates who will be “reunionizing” Friday night).

Watch your step! National Fall Prevention Day is Sunday, September 22nd (the first day of fall). And for the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture at the Center on the 24th, MCMC will present “Falls and Osteoporosis”. 

 No matter if you are a beginner or an experienced “hoofer” you are invited to join the Center's “Trilogy Dancers” who are in the process of re-forming for the 2013-2014 season. This group of women gathers each Thursday morning from 10:00-11:30 to enjoy and practice three types of dancing: tap, clog and line dancing, as well as the fellowship. And since Ardyce Edling has retired, there is an opportunity for a volunteer to lead the tap section. 

 The Creative Arts class led by Debra Jones is returning after a summer break. This fall there will be four individual classes beginning with Chinese watercolor on Thursday September 24th from 1:00 – 2:30. You will learn basic brush strokes and why this quiet reflective method of painting is more about connecting to nature and your inner self. All supplies are provided and the cost is $2.00. But there is only room for eight, so sign up now by calling the Center at 541-296-4788. 

The local Money Management Program is available to help anyone who needs assistance managing their finances: from balancing a check book - to bill paying - to money coaching. If you know someone who needs help, or would like to volunteer, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 ext 202.

David Lee shared with me a project he and others are working on at the Oregon Veterans Home. They hope to construct a garden adjacent to the facility - worthy of the veterans who reside there. But to move forward, they must convince the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs it is a viable project. So far they have the Master Gardeners designing the garden, but they need to show they have the necessary volunteers when it is time to construct the garden. If you would like to support the project by signing up as a volunteer, or would like more information, call David Lee at 541-993-9862. 

On September 24th starting at 7:00 PM, “For the Good Times” will be playing at the Center for your dancing and listening enjoyment. All ages are welcome and the suggested donation is $2.00 per person and $3.00 per couple. “Look” magazine was the bi-weekly general interest magazine published from 1937 - 1971that emphasized photographs more than articles. (And the winner of a “Back to School” Breakfast on the 21st is Alex Currie.) 

This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to the days when doctors and even Santa Claus were used to sell cigarettes. First introduced on a pack of popular cigarettes in 1945, what do the letters L.S.M.F.T. stand for? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a video clip of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson singing the praises of this cigarette on the Jack Benny show.  
Well, it has been another week moving sideways while trying to decide which way is up. Until we meet again, as they use to say in the old west, “Poor is having to sell the horse to buy the saddle.”

Aging Well September 10th 2013

It is often said, “If you’ve seen one Senior Center, you’ve seen one Senior Center”. That’s because every Senior Center is unique: in how they are structured and operated; and how they reflect their community. And that’s true of every Senior Center and the many meal sites in the Mid-Columbia from Sherman County to Hood River and Klickitat Counties.

 But what they do have in common is offering a place where older adults can stay active, engaged and empowered to contribute to their own health and well-being; and where the experiences, skills, and knowledge of older adults are valued and their dignity, self-worth, and independence affirmed.

 Because of the valuable role of Senior Centers and meal sites, September has been designated National Senior Center Month to recognize both the senior center and meal site participants and the staff and volunteers who work every day to enhance the well-being of older citizens.

If you haven’t already visited your local Senior Center or meal site, take time and stop it. You will find helpful programs and activities, but most importantly you’ll find wonderful, caring and active folks.

 To kick off National Senior Center Month at the Center in The Dalles, two work teams of committed, energetic and slightly nuts volunteers decided to put words into action and added a little lipstick to the Center - which is showing some wear and tear of middle age. Because of their efforts, the Center’s downstairs concrete floor was brightly painted - after removing the carpet which Laura Comini remembers Shilo Inn donating twenty plus years ago. And then over the Labor Day weekend - believing you should never waste a good three day weekend – the Center’s dining room was repainted. (The most difficult task was choosing the paint colors - but so far the reviews have been good.) Thanks to everyone who helped plus Discover Rentals, Brace Brothers - and Sawyers True Value for having their Labor Day Paint Sale just for us!

 Did you know when older adults were asked what was most important to maintaining a high quality of life, staying connected to friends and family was the top choice – ahead of financial means? And that 71% of older adults feel the community they live in is responsive to their needs, but just 49% believe their community is doing enough to prepare for the future needs of the growing older population? These are some of the key findings from the National Council on Aging’s report called ”The United States of Aging” which will be discussed at the Center’s next Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on the 17th.

 One of the benefits of having children home is they are always showing you some new technological device or program - to add even more distractions to your life. The latest example is Twitter. But even though I can waste hours reading the “tweets”, Twitter has allowed me to follow Oregon Scam Alert. The most recent scam has been reported by the Better Business Bureau, They are asking folks to keep an eye on their magazine renewal subscriptions, and avoid payment to Associated Publishers Network (APN). There have been a flood of complaints about this renewal subscription “business” mailing out phony renewal invoices. So beware. For more information and additional scam alerts check out the Center’s blog/website at

 Every Tuesday night there is music and dancing at the Center starting at 7:00 PM including Truman who will be playing his Country Gold on the 17th. The suggested donation is $2.00 per person and $3.00 per couple.
Several folks remembered the Seattle Pilots professional baseball team that played just one season in 1969 (including Jess Birge winner of a September 21st Saturday Breakfast). But I wasn’t one of them. I was in Indiana packing up my VW van for the wild, wild west called Oregon and the Wil-uh-Met Valley.

And for this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the bi-weekly, general-interest magazine that emphasized photos more than articles; and was published from 1937 to 1971 - peaking in 1969 with 7.75 million subscriptions, second to only Life magazine? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a limited edition photo taken by film director Stanley Kubrick when he was a staff photographer for this magazine.

 Well, it has been another week trying to keep my marbles from rolling off the table. Until we meet again, as the Oklahoma sage, Will Rogers once said “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”.

 “Worry is like a rockin' horse. It's something to do that don't get you nowhere.” Old West Proverb

Aging Well September 3rd 2013

Because of the Labor Day Weekend, I had fewer days to collect my thoughts for this column, so I decided to kick the ball down the field till next week and instead share with you some sagely advise I found called the “Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess”. (But I do it with some reservation. I have this notion in the back of my head that I have shared it before. But then I shouldn’t be too overly concerned - there’s a lot of stuff I’ve discovered in the back of my head that should be ignored!)

Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess
Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains -- they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint -- it is so hard to live with some of them -- but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen” 

Last week I mentioned how you can sign up for Citizens Alert, a reverse 9-1-1 system, by visiting But I just learned if you have a traditional listed land line, you are automatically signed up. So you are good - unless you don’t have a landline or want to be notified by cell phone, text or email, and then you will need to sign up.
Now that we have passed the unofficial demarcation between summer and fall, many of the Center’s activities are returning from their summer break. In particular two activities start on Tuesday September 10th: Tai Chi led by Corliss Marsh from 1:00 – 1:45 ($2.00 a class) and the free Tuesday Lecture Series at 11:00 when I will discuss National Senior Center Month and the value of Senior Centers and meal sites in your communities.
I’ll give you a break this week - no Pig Latin or other tricks – just your run-of-the-mill good old American English. Tonight the Strawberry Mountain band will be playing. And next Tuesday on the 10th Martin and Friends will be strumming and picking for your listening and dancing enjoyment. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00 - all for a suggested donation of $2.00 for one and $3.00 for two.

The answers to last week’s “Double Your Fun Remember When” questions were all about royalty: “Queen for a Day” and Nat King Cole. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on September 21st is Sheila Cooper.)

And now that fall is in the air with football starting and professional baseball coming to a close, it’s time for a sports question. See if you are a true sports fan and can answer this one! What was the name of the American professional baseball team based in Seattle that played for just one season in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 2, 1970 and changing their name to the Brewers?
E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a paperback copy of “Ball Four” - Jim Bouton’s inside look at baseball during his 1969 season in Seattle.
Well, it has been another week trying to turn grapes into wine, strawberries into jam and lemons into lemonade. Until we meet again, keep your chin up, your head down and your pants on.
“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”
― Sara Gruen


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