Unless you are a Jeremiah Johnson living in the Rocky Mountains, everyone needs to participate in a network of social supports. When raising a family and working full time, those supports came easily. But when the last paid job is only a memory; friends and family have moved or passed away; and the body? Well, it certainly ain’t what it used to be - all these changes make it harder to get out and stay socially connected.
But the effort is worth it. Staying socially engaged provides many benefits for your overall health and wellbeing: new relationships, feelings of accomplishment from learning new skills, the knowledge and information gained from others, and the mental stimulation. In fact, a 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine study showed that social activity for older adults is just as important as exercise and found that folks who were socially inactive experienced physical decline at a rate 1/3 more rapid than those who were socially active – even if they exercised regularly.
But I imagine most of you reading this column are already socially active and maybe even feel you are busier now than when you were working! (But instead of doing what you had to do, you can now do what you want to do, when you want - which is no small potatoes.) But you may also know someone, a friend or even a parent, who you feel needs to get out more and start doing things. For those folks here are several suggestions.
Enjoy a nutritious lunch at the Center provided by Meals-on-Wheels for a suggested donation of $3.75 for anyone over 60, participate in religious or spiritual activities of your choice, attend community events such as the February 23rd A Taste of Literacy (a benefit for The Dalles SMART Program) at the Sunshine Mill. Or for something smaller and quieter, join an interest group (or start one) such as the third Thursday book group at The Dalles/Wasco County Library or the Quilters and the Needle Nutz at the Center. And then there are many places looking for volunteers of all shapes and sizes.
Often transportation is a barrier and if so, you can call LINK at 541-296-7595 to reserve a ride. You may find it less convenient than owning your own car, but how convenient is it to pay for insurance, gas and change flat tires? The fare is from $1.50 to $5.00 each way and you will need exact change. Reservations must be made by 3:00 PM for a ride on the next business day and you may request a ride one to thirty days in advance. And they will make every effort to fulfill all requests for rides.
By popular demand, Nehemiah Brown, a Pacific NW vocalist in the smooth vocal style of Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett, will be returning to the Center on Friday, February 28th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. The cost is $3.00 per person.
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I stumped most everyone last week except Alex Currie who is the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on March 15th. And the two Americans who won Gold in the 1960 men’s and women’s figure skating competition? They were David Jenkins and Carol Heiss, who later starred in the movie “Snow White and the Three Stooges”.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, here’s something a little easier but still sports related. Before Bob Costas and Bryant Gumbel were the prime time hosts for the Olympics on NBC, Jim McKay was the host for six Olympics on ABC. But he was also the host of what weekly sports show that spanned the globe “to bring you ... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat...”? And for the bonus question, what sports event do you remember most vividly from that sports show? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or send it with two season passes to the ESPN Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Well, it has been another week trying to keep my head above water while keeping a smile on my face. Until we meet again, it’s not important what song is playing, just keep dancing.
“I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” Maya Angelou