Aging Well May 27th 2014

It’s ironic, but just this morning before writing this column, I was distracted from my regular routine and I couldn’t remember if I had taken my diuretic pill. I decided I had, but what if I hadn’t, and missed a day. Or worse yet, what if I had taken my pill, but decided I hadn’t and doubled my dose? Both could have serious consequences. But there are a number of things you can do to remind yourself to take them at the right time and in the right amount.

First, as I mentioned last week, know your medications. Make sure you know how to use them correctly, including what to do if you miss taking your pill or accidentally double your dose. And what are the side effects.

Second, set a daily routine. Take your medications at the same time and place every day. And know whether you have any flexibility in when you can take them or need to be taken at a specific time.

Third, create a system of reminders that works for you. You can use a daily or weekly checklist, sticky notes, alarm clocks, or a pill box organizer. Phillips Lifeline offers a medication dispensing service with audio reminders for a monthly fee. And if you are more technologically savvy, you can even use smartphones to receive texts and emails as reminders. (For more information visit the Script Your Future Medication Awareness campaign at

Fourth, there is nothing wrong in asking for help. Find out from your healthcare professional if there is an easier way to take all of your medications such as taking take fewer pills on fewer occasions? Ask a friend to help you figure out a system to help remember your medications. And if you have difficulty remembering to take your medications, tell your healthcare professional. She may be able to offer other solutions.

It is important to take the proper dosage at the proper time for the length of the prescription. And as I mentioned last week, if you would like to learn more about ensuring safe and appropriate use of medications check out the website Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors™ at

At the Center every Thursday and Saturday Nights, starting at 6:00 PM, you can play Bingo the classic American game of chance. And this coming Saturday night May 31st, there will be free pizza from 4:30 – 5:30. And the payout for the last game is up to $1000 if you black out in 61 numbers. (And at 61 numbers there is a darn good chance someone is going to win it!)  So stop by the Center on Saturday night for free pizza and a chance to win some big money.

The speaker for the next 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on June 3rd will be Tim Willis, manager of the local Habitat ReStore Store. And if you don’t know, the store is now open from 9:00 – 6:00 on Tuesdays through Fridays and from 9:00 – 5:00 on Saturdays. And they are particularly looking for volunteers during the busy summer months.

The Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing their foot stomping country music at the Center on Tuesday June 3rd. Music starts at 7:00 and there will be Pie and Ice Cream for sale and donations for the band are appreciated.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is saddle shoes - popular in the 50’s and worn by both men and women including Elvis Presley in the movie Jailhouse Rock. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Bill Van Nice.)

On many college campuses during the 50’s and early 60’s, it was a tradition for freshmen to wear this kind of cap including at Purdue University when I was a freshmen in 1966.  What was the name for a tight fitting brimless cap made from triangular sections of cloth joined by a button at the crown, and seamed together around the sides? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center with a one of these caps that has a propeller attached to the top as worn by Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent’s friend.

Well, it has been another week trying to tap dance my way off the stage. Until we meet again, as the wise farmer once said "Timin' has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance."

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." Carl Sandburg

Aging Well May 20th 2014

It is said if you’re over 65 and need a conversation starter, bring up the subject of medications. It is a safe bet because five out of six persons 65 and older are taking at least one medication and almost half take three or more.

With the advancement in pharmaceutical research, the lives of older adults have been improved and many have been saved. But there are also significant risks, so it is important you manage them safely.   

Some steps you can take are common sense: keep an up to date list of your medications and supplements with your health care team; follow your doctor’s instructions; take only your own medications and keep them in their original containers.

But it is also important to know your medications.  

Which means to ask questions - and make sure you understand the answers. (I try to bring my wife with me so I have another set of ears - and a better memory.) Know the name of your medications and how they look so you will recognize if the pharmacist gives you something different.

Know how to use the medications correctly. Read the directions on the label and any other information you receive. Ask if there other medicines, foods, or activities that you should avoid while using the medications? What to do if you forget a dose? When you should take the medication and how long between each dose?

And know about possible side effects.  Older adults are more medically complex. And for adults over the age 65 who take five or more medications, about one-third experience a serious adverse effect each year. So ask what side effects to expect and which ones are serious. And since some side effects may bother you initially, but improve over time, ask when you should contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have certain side effects?

By knowing your medications, you will know what to expect, what to avoid and are more likely to use them correctly. Next week I will share with you tips on how to make sure you take your medications on their prescribed schedule. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about ensuring safe and appropriate use of medications an excellent website is Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors™ at

Nehemiah Brown is performing once more at the Center on Friday May 23rd from 7:00 – 9:00 sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center. Everyone has enjoyed his previous performances, and for $3.00 per person, you can’t beat the price.

The speaker for the next 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on May 27th will be Andy Roof who will be discussing “Living with Persistent Pain”. Andy is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist with a master’s degree in physical therapy. He works at Water’s Edge where he also teaches the “Explain Pain” class which helps patients understand the role pain plays in their lives and bodies and how to treat pain through a variety of treatment methods including lifestyle changes, appropriate exercise and education on the physiology of pain. This is another MCMC presentation you won’t want to miss.

Truman will be performing his Country Gold at the Center on Tuesday May 27th starting at 7:00 PM. There will be Pie and Ice Cream for sale for those with a sweet tooth. Bring your dancing shoes and enjoy an evening of fine country music.

It is not Caster Oil or Geritol, two of the answers I received for last week’s “Remember When” question. But it was Hadacol: the 1950’s product marketed as a vitamins supplement although in the dry counties in the South if was known to be served in a shot glass because of its 12% alcohol content. (And the winner is Karl Vercouteren who remembers the jump rope rhyme from the 50’s “HADACOL the doctor/ HADACOL the nurse, HADACOL the undertaker/ driving the hearse”.)
But this week it is clothing styles. What is the name of the style of shoe, most common in black and white, popular in the 50’s, worn by both men and women, and has a distinctively shaped decorative panel placed mid foot - which gives the style of shoe its name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop a pair off with your favorite poodle skirt. (I wear a size 10 – and that’s the shoe not the poodle skirt!)   
Well, it has been another week trying to light a fire on another windy day. Until we meet again, no matter whether the sun shines or not, life goes on.

“Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.” James Dean

Aging Well May 13th 2014

I don’t think any of us need to be reminded about the importance of physical activity and exercise - which is the focus for the month of May in your Passport to Happiness Calendar. But for many folks the challenge is how do you get going, keep going and know how your “going” is doing? A great place to start is the website Go4Life at It is created by the National Institute on Aging and offers simple everyday fitness ideas on staying physically active at any age: how to get started; setting goals and a sample of exercises focusing on endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.

But the site also suggests to get the most out of your exercise it needs to be a basic part of your life.  But how?

Start by making it a priority. You might want to take a walk first thing in the morning. Or in my case, every morning I practice my balance and flexibility - by trying to put on my pants, standing up, one leg at a time. And sometimes it’s not a pretty picture.

Make it easy. That may seem counter intuitive, but throw away the athletes’ axiom “No Pain No Gain”. Start simple and slow.  And then try pushing yourself, but know your limits. Remember you are exercising the body you have - not the one you once had.

Make it social. Do you have an exercise buddy? Someone to walk and talk with. Or a dancing partner? Consider joining an exercise group with a friend.

Make it fun. Because the best activity is the one you enjoy doing. If you enjoy the outdoors, try biking or hiking. Listen to music while you walk; read Zombie books while on the treadmill.

And make it happen. There are many places and ways to be active. If you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or when you go shopping, park a little further away; and when inside, walk every aisle in the store (although that might be expensive - finding items you hadn’t thought of buying!) 

Decide to make physical activity a daily part of your life by making it a priority, easy, social and fun. It is never too late to start doing something – which is always better than nothing.

It’s back to the Center’s regular Saturday breakfast schedule: third Saturdays from 8:00 – 9:30. This coming Saturday’s production is sponsored by Green Home Construction and stars foxy French Toast with a supporting cast of screamingly scrumptious scrambled eggs, and buffo bacon, as well as fruit and beverage. The cost is $5.00 for adults, and $3.00 for children 12 and under. All ages are welcome.  

Are you getting the hang of reading the Center’s music announcement backwards? Let’s work the grey cells for another week before a break.  

Ta eht Retnec no Yadseut, Yam ht02, "Rof Eht Doog Semit" lliw eb gniyalp rof ruoy gnicnad dna gninetsil tnemyojne. Ereht lliw eb eip dna Eci maerc rof elas; dna a noitanod nac lliw eb tes tuo rof eht dnab. Cisum strats ta 7:00, sdne yb 9:00 dna enoyna ohw sliame em lliw eviecer eerht eerf tliuq elffar stekcit.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Hedda Hopper: gossip columnist who wrote Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood for the Los Angeles Times starting in 1938. (And the winner of five quilt tickets is Terri Dean.)

While attending the Wasco County Pioneers Annual gathering, I was reminiscing with Del Hendrickson about a product he remembered in the 50’s marketed as a vitamin supplement that would give you “Pep, Strength and Energy of Buoyant Health” - although the 12% alcohol content labeled as a “preservative” may have had something to do with it.  It was heavily marketed including traveling medicine shows through the south featuring such celebrities as Hank Williams, Bob Hope, and James Cagney. And when Dudley LaBlanc, the entrepreneur who made millions selling this elixir, was asked how he came up with a name for the product he answered "Well, I hadda call it something." What was the name of this cure-all?  E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a bottle of Min-So-Late made by the Happy Day Company.

Well, it has been another week trying to pick up the pieces before they fall through the cracks. Until we meet again, if you find the front door locked, climb in through the bathroom window.  

“You gotta try your luck at least once a day, because you could be going around lucky all day and not even know it.”  Jimmy Dean


Today it is a little bit of this and a little bit of that: something that just might tickle your fancy. So let’s start by getting our hands dirty with a little bit of gardening news.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin

If you enjoy working in the garden, and I know there are many of you because I’ve been hearing stories of stiff joints and tired bodies, the Spring 2014 edition of the excellent “Garden Highlights” is now available by email. The Garden Highlights is produced by Marty Miller, an OSU Lifetime Master Gardener™, and includes all the local gardening tips and news that you need to know including water-wise gardening, plant clinics and raised beds. It is in full color, at no cost and emailed quarterly. If you are interested, all you have to do is email Marty at and he will put you on the email list. And if you don’t have access to email, we can make a copy of “Garden Highlights” for you at the Center.

And if you enjoy fine and unique gardens, Lauren Kraemer, who among her many responsibilities at OSU Extension is an instructor for Family and Community Health, sent me a notice for the Mid-Columbia Family and Community Education Study Groups’ 2014 Spring Tour, “Portland’s Glorious Gardens Tour”. I’ll just whet your appetite by sharing some snippets from the spring tour flyer: “stunning”, “Lan Su Chinese Garden, Rose Garden, and Japanese Garden”, “touring and shopping”, “lunch in the Pearl District”, “VooDoo doughnuts” and “detailed information about the horticulture, history, and other facets of each garden”. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it. It costs $55 for FCE Members and $60 for non-FCE members which includes all costs for transportation, entry fees, lunch, gratuity, & membership for non-FCE members. The trip is on Thursday May 22nd, 2014 and you will need to arrive at the Best Western Hood River Inn by 8:00 AM to be picked up and you will return by 5:00 PM. Pre-paid registration is required and must be received by May 15th For more information and to register contact the Hood River County Extension Office at 541-386-3343. But if you are interested, don’t dilly-dally. There is only 16 spots available and I am not sure how many are left.

If you missed Julie Reynolds’ presentation in February at the Original Wasco County Courthouse titled "Close Encounters: Wasco County Residents Remember the Rajneeshees" this is your lucky day. Actually, next Tuesday will be your lucky day because that is when she will again share what she learned from her interviews with a wide range of folks who were touched by the Bhagwan saga. See you next Tuesday May 13th at 11:00 at the Center for this fascinating presentation about a unique piece of Wasco County history.

Now if I remember correctly, I let you off easy the last two weeks - no head scratching trying to decipher the Center’s music announcement.  So this week it is back to exercising your prefrontal cortex (that part of your brain used for problem solving, emotions and complex thought.)

Ta eht Retnec no Yadseut, Yam ht31, Nitram dna Sdneirf lliw eb gniyalp rieht yrtnuoc dna nretsew skcil rof ruoy gnicnad dna gninetsil tnemyojne. Ereht lliw eb eip dna Eci maerc rof elas dna gnirb a wef skcub ot troppus eht dnab. Cisum strats ta 7:00, sdne yb 9:00 dna enoyreve si emoclew.

The answers to last week’s “Double your Pleasure” questions were the Rebel Without a Cause star James Dean and “Big Bad John” Jimmy Dean. (And the winner of five quilt tickets is Vicki Fricano.) But was that too easy?

If so this week’s Remember When question should be a little more difficult.  Who was one of America's best-known gossip columnists; who started working for the Los Angeles Times in 1938 and was considered much more vicious and unforgiving than her arch rival Louella Parsons, with whom she competed with for the title “Queen of Hollywood”? For five free Quilt Raffle tickets, e-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a large showy women’s hat of your choice.

Well, it has been another week trying to remember to pick up my feet. Until we meet again, if you learn to see without fear, you will find incredible opportunities.  

“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” Doug Larson


Follow by Email

Blog Archive