When you think of older adults and seniors what picture comes to mind? A single woman living on Social Security? A retired couple traveling to Arizona for the winters? A wife taking care of her invalid husband? Or maybe someone more glamorous. Sophia Loren, Morgan Freeman or Betty White?
Adults sixty and older are a diverse lot and hard to categorize. There are the usual attempts such as by age: the G.I Generation, born from around 1901 through 1924; the Silent Generation born from the mid-1920s to the early 1940s; and the Baby Boomers, born from 1943 up to the early 1960s; or by income level: affluent, middle income and those living only on Social Security.
But societal conditions have changed. Life expectancy has increased more than 30 years since 1900, working conditions have improved with higher wages and better pensions, and medical advancements have maintained the health of older adults - all providing more opportunities for older adults to blossom in their later years.
Today businesses are beginning to see the value of marketing to older adults, and are recognizing the diversity by identifying different subgroups. Some of these identified subgroups, based on values, consumer behaviors, health status and attitudes, are the Prosperous Empty Nesters, The Elders, Retirement Communities, Senior Sun Seekers, the Social Security Set, and Old Geezers. (Actually I made up that last group, and I know who you are!)
This diversity creates a challenge for any organization or business wanting to reach and engage the older adult population. An example of an attempt to address this challenge is the weekly newspaper I picked up in Salem, whose publisher may be familiar to many folks around here: David Thouvenal, once the publisher of the upstart “Weekly Reminder”. He now publishes the “Northwest Boomer and Senior News” which acknowledges the diversity of older adults by including two subgroups of older adults in the name of the newspaper.
It is also a challenge the Center is working to meet - providing opportunities and supports for the wide range of interest and needs of such a diverse older population - from the Prosperous Empty Nesters to the Old Geezers.
A quick heads-up so you can put it on your calendar. The annual Original Courthouse Regional History Forum Series for 2015, begins on February 7th at 1:30 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the 1859 courthouse at 410 West 2nd Place, This year’s forums will cover Japanese Families in the Mosier Area Prior to 1942 on February 7; General George Wright, Defender of the Civil War Pacific Coast on February 14; Time and Change on Mount Adams on February 21; and Delivering the Mail: Wasco County Post Offices on February 28. .
For the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on February 3rd, I will be discussing a fascinating topic that I haven’t determined yet. Come and be surprised.
And have I mentioned that on Saturday February 7th, Saturday Night Bingo will return to its regular starting time of 6:00 PM with a free dinner graciously prepared by Cherry Heights Living and served at 5:00 PM for the first 65 bingo players? I did? Oh, never mind.
For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on February 3rd, the crowd pleasing Andre, K.C. and Tom will be performing. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are always appreciated.
The fictional character that was a reformed jewel thief and safe cracker; and appeared in short stories, B-movies, and on radio and television was Boston Blackie ; (And the winner of a free Cherry Festival Breakfast is Renee Briggs who mentioned that you can still watch old Boston Blackie movies on the local getTV station.)
Diana Weston emailed me a collection of pictures of consumer items most anyone under 50 would not recognize: from a McGuffey’s Spelling Book to the inserts made for 45 records. One of those pictures gave me the idea for this week’s “Remember When” question.
What was the name of translucent pink styling gel with a unique smell and gelatinous consistency that was advertised on television in the 1960s? E-mail your answer to email@example.com, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a bag of Wil-Hold Large Brush Plastic Rollers.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember what the score is. Until we meet again, attitude can make the difference between a good day and a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
“There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.” ~Robert Brault
When I start writing this column, I usually have a particular topic in mind, in this case the diversity among older adults. But sometimes my thoughts just don’t come together - they need more time to incubate. So until they hatch (hopefully by next week), I have time to share several events taking place at the Center: cards, tax help, communicating with your doctor and a FREE dinner.
As you know the Center offers many activities. And even though I would like to say every activity is full with a waiting list, I can’t. Which is fortunate, because there is still room for you. For example, if you like to play cards, the Center offers three different games. There is pinochle every Thursday from 1:00 – 3:00 and every Friday evening from 6:00 – 8:30. On the third Tuesday of every month from 1:00- 3:00, there is Bunco - a fun, and easy-to-learn dice game of chance. And then on Friday afternoons from 1:00 – 3:00, you can learn to play Mahjong, a game which originated in China that is played with tiles instead of cards and reminds me of rummy. (But not to be confused with the Mahjong computer game that matches tiles.) Come join the fun. Your place at the table is waiting for you.
Now that you are starting to receive your tax information in the mail, you may be wondering when the AARP Tax Aide program begins. This year it will start on Friday, February 6th, and will be offered at the Center every Friday from 2:00 – 6:00 and every Saturday from 9:00 – 1:00 until April 11th. Make sure you bring the necessary documentation including: government issued identification, last year's tax return; Social Security card; records of any income; and records of your eligible expenses if you are going to itemize your deductions. In February it is pretty busy, but it usually slows down in March. The Tax Aide Program is available to all low to moderate income taxpayers and particularly those over 60 and is sponsored by the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program.
The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on January 27th will follow up on last week’s column about the importance of communicating with your health care provider. Linda Stahl from the Planetree Health Resource Center will discuss what you can do to ensure clear and accurate communication between you and your doctor so you receive the best healthcare possible. Linda will also discuss this year’s Go Red for Women’s Heart Health Expo on Friday, February 6th from 11:00 to 2:00 at the Civic Auditorium. (And if you register on line for the Heart Expo at the MCMC website, you can download a free copy of the Heart Healthy Recipe eBook.)
Because of the shorter days and uncertain weather during December and January, Saturday Night Bingo has been starting at 4:00 PM - two hours earlier than normal. But now that the darkest days of December and January have almost past, and there is a reduced chance of winter storms (I hope!), on February 7th Saturday Night Bingo will return to its regular starting time of 6:00 PM. And that night at 5:00, you can enjoy a FREE dinner catered by our neighbors Cherry Heights Living - to give you a taste of what it would be like to live where someone else will do the cooking for you.
For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on January 27th, the Highline Express will be performing. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are always appreciated
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, with his faithful dog Yukon King, is the answer to last week’s “Remember When” question. (The winner of a free Cherry Festival Breakfast is Don McAllister.)
I’m thinking this week’s “Remember When” question is going to be a tough one – it’s not one I would have remembered. What is the name of the fictional character that appeared in short stories, silent films, on radio, in 1940’s B-movies, and on television in the 50’s; and was a former jewel thief and safe cracker who was suspected whenever a daring crime was committed, but always managed to clear himself with the help of his sidekick Runt? Did you get all that? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a Boston Crème pie.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the sun – when I can find it. Until we meet again, don’t take your foot off the pedal or your eye off the road.
“I’ve reached the age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me.” Anonymous
Do you remember when a visit to the doctor was for an easily diagnosed and treated ailment: measles, ear aches, sore throats; not for complex health issues such as broken hips, knee replacements, urinary infections, feinting spells or heart problems? Life is so much more exciting these days!
But as we make our regular visits to our health care providers, it is important to communicate effectively with them. Research shows the better you communicate with your doctor, the better the health outcomes – which is your health. A critical factor in good communication is asking questions. A simple question can help you feel better, let you take better care of yourself, or even save your life. But there are many reasons you may not feel comfortable asking questions of your doctor: you don’t want to waste their time, they know more than you do, or you don’t want to give the impression you are second guessing them.
But don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your health care provider actually wants you to. It is in their best interest as well as yours that you understand what you can do to take ownership of your own health. The first step is to prepare a list of questions and identify the three most important ones, so you won’t forget what you really want to ask.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website (www,ahrq.gov/) has a section on patient involvement that provides tips and tools to help improve communication with your health care provider including questions you may want to ask before, during and after your appointment. The following questions are suggested to get you started.
What is the test for? How many times have you done this procedure? When will I get the results? Why do I need this treatment? Are there any alternatives? What are the possible complications? Which hospital is best for my needs? How do you spell the name of that drug? Are there any side effects? Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?
And after you ask the questions make sure understand the answers. Sometimes it is difficult to explain complex medical conditions in layman’s terms, but don’t just nod your head and give that look of understanding, when you really don’t have a clue. (That’s why I bring along my wife. She’ll ask the questions if I don’t.)
Be proactive and take responsibility for your own health. Maintaining your health is a partnership between you and your doctor. And it is critical to ask questions, because “Questions are the Answers” to your good health.
We will miss Dennis Davis, but the AARP Smart Driver class will continue with Dick Frost taking Dennis’ place teaching the class. And when you complete the class, you can still receive an auto insurance discount. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP members, and the next class is on January 19th and 20th from 8:45 until noon each day. There is still room and you can sign up by calling the Center at 541-296-4788.
As several folks figured out, last week’s two missing consonants were t and l. This week, I’m giving you a break, but I won’t guarantee there aren’t any missing letters. But if there are, they are not intended – just one of my mistakes I didn’t catch.
For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on January 20th, the popular Simcoe Boys will be playing. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome - because the music is too good to keep anyone away. And donations are always appreciated.
Clint Eastwood was the actor who played Rowdy Yates in the TV western series Rawhide before finding international fame in Italy where he starred as the “Man with No Name” in three “spaghetti” westerns from 1964 through 1966 (And the winner of a Saturday breakfast in April is Sam Bilyue.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1950’s television series. What was the name of the outdoor action television show that was broadcast on television from 1955 through 1958 but first aired on radio in 1938 as The Challenge of the Yukon? E-mail your answer to email@example.com, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with an autographed picture of “Yukon King”.
Well, it’s been another week, watching the days get longer and the nights get shorter. Until we meet again, don’t let your fears rule your day - or go bump in the night
“Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed.” Mason Cooley
Last week I shared twenty tips I’ve learned over the last eight years about aging well. I hope you found them useful, but I imagine some of you might have thought they were just a bunch of hooey. (Does anyone use the word “hooey” anymore besides myself and Dick Cheney?)
So this week I am going to a more respected source, the International Council on Active Aging, and summarize for you their 10 research based tips on how to lead healthier lives in 2015. (You will find these tips apply to all ages including your adult children - if they would only listen.)
1. Think positive. Negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling. And never let your age be an excuse.
2. Turn your spark into a flame. Find your passion and nurture it.
3. Keep your motor running. Don’t underestimate the ability to recharge through lifestyle changes and “attitude” adjustments.
4. Eat a balanced diet. Use a common-sense approach – lots of fruits and vegetables, go easy on the sugar and salt.
5. Regular Exercise. If you're already exercising regularly, congratulations. If you are starting, set realistic goals. Remember you are exercising the body you have now, not the one you had fifty years ago - or even 10 years ago.
6. Connect with people. Keep socially active. Volunteering and other kinds of civic involvement can contribute to better health.
7. Don’t STAY down. Feeling down at times is normal but it can sap your energy and interest. If you're feeling out of sorts for two weeks or more, talk with your doctor.
8. Keep learning. You may not be Grandma Moses but you can start learning new subjects or pick up a new skill at any age. So why not start today?
9. INVEST in you. It may take energy and effort, but the results will be worth it.
10. Have fun! Fill your life with joy and laughter. Have a good time and make 2015 the best year ever to be alive.
Now will you consider those suggestions? And even though we may try our best to stay healthy, we don’t live in Shangri-La. I was reminded of that recently when I received an early birthday card from my friends in the local chapter of the Oregon Retired Educators Association that asked. “What happens when people eat right, exercise and really take care of themselves? They get old anyway!” Ah, so true. But we can still wring every last drop of excitement, adventure and laughter out of these remaining years, because life is worth living.
The Creative Arts Program at the Center has been a tremendous success thanks to the efforts of Debra Jones and the support from local artists and businesses that have provided professional instruction as well as class supplies. The classes have offered an opportunity for older adults to explore a variety of artistic mediums from water colors and glass design to card making and flower arranging. Now, thanks to a Wasco County Cultural Trust Grant, the classes will continue this spring. Debra Jones is already planning for the classes and once they are scheduled, I will make sure you know.
Last week the three missing consonants were f, h and s. How about one more time for the “Gipper”, but this week only two consonants are missing.
For uesday Nigh Music a he Cener on January 13h, Marin and Friends wi be performing. Music sars at 7:00 bu you can arrive as eary as 6:00 when he coffee wi be ready for you. Anyone can aend and your donaions wi keep the music fowing.
The name of the critically acclaimed Cold War spy novel, which was at the top of the New York Times’ best seller list for 34 weeks in 1964 was The Spy Who Came in from the Cold written by British author John le Carré. (And the winner of a Saturday breakfast in April is Alex Currie.)
Now time for this week’s “Remember When” question. What is the name of the actor who starred in a popular TV western series before finding international fame in Italy where he starred in three “spaghetti” westerns from 1964 through 1966? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of the “Man with No Name”.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to tie up some loose ends without tripping over the string. Until we meet again, if you are going to be a fool, be a big fool – at least you’ll be entertaining.
“I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the years'.” Henry Moore
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