In the United States, we are living longer than ever with the average lifespan in 2013 of 79.8 years according to the World Health Organization. In large measure, this is the result of medical advancements in reducing the number of deaths due to heart disease and stroke.
The idea of lifespan came up this last weekend when my wife and I spent time with my son who was in Oregon for the weekend. During his visit, we had aso I can enjoy those extra bonus years.f study which is the biology of aging or trying fascinating discussion about his field of graduate study: the biology of aging. He talked about genomes, DNA and RNA, telomeres and proteins (I wish I had remembered more from my high school biology classes!). In those discussions, he mentioned the difference between lifespan – how long you live, and healthspan - the period of your life during which you are generally healthy.
Lifespan I am familiar with since it is one of the most common indicators of health. But when I think about it, an increase in lifespan can’t be the whole picture. Without an increase in healthspan, it could just mean more years with illness and disability. For example, with the rising life expectancy there is a growing number of dementia cases which some researchers are projecting. As we add more years to our lives, don’t we still want to enjoy the life in our years?
Even with all the life extending medical advancements, there is a growing awareness that life expectancy may not be the best indicator of overall health. Consequently, I expect there will be a greater focus on research that will address what is most important: the ability to maintain our health as we age, so we can stay active, engaged and able to really enjoy the bonus years.
But as of now, there is no quick fix to healthy aging - no magic fountain of youth. A long and healthy life comes down to making sensible lifestyle choices: exercising, eating well and staying connected with others. And a little bit of good luck.
Now that the Center has sold all twenty tickets for Guys and Dolls, the next show is I Love Lucy On Stage which is a brand-new, feel-good stage show adapted from the beloved television hit of the 50’s. Thirteen seats are still available for the 2:00 Saturday matinee on April 11th at the Keller Auditorium in Portland. The cost is $75 including transportation. Drop by the Center to purchase your tickets.
If you are staying home on St. Patrick’s Day you are missing some great music. The annual “St. Pat's at St. Pete's” concert at St. Peter’s Landmark starts at 7 p.m. Cascade Children’s Choir and instrumentalists will join the Cascade Singers choir, ensemble, and "Almost-All-Irish-Almost All-Brass Band" for Irish favorites and sing-alongs. Admission is a free-will offering to benefit St. Peter's Landmark.
And as I have mentioned before, the Center is having their St. Patrick’s Day Supper and Concert featuring the local Irish band “Barley Draught”. The Irish Potato Supper starts at 5:30 and Barley Draught will be performing from 7:00 till 10:00. Clock Tower Ales will be providing the Guinness Draught, so it is an over 21 event. The cost is $12 for both supper and concert and $7 for concert only.
I heard from a lot of folks that it was “Howdy Doody time” - the answer to last week’s “Remember When” question. (The winner of five raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt is Ed Anghilante.)
This week I’m going back to local history for all the old and not-so-old timers. At the MCMC Health Foundation’s Compassion Awards event, my wife and I had the pleasure of sitting with Jim Slusher, the director of the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program (this year’s winner of the Community Service Organization Award), and Phil Brady. When they started talking about some of the old landmarks in The Dalles back in their days far, far away, my ears perked up. For those of you who were around back then, what was the name of the grocery store, located on the corner where The Dalles Chronicle building sits today, and known for its sign with a rotating grocery cart on top? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a twenty pound bag of groceries.
Well, it’s been another week, looking for the next right answer – or at least something close. Until we meet again, keep your chin up and your nose clean.
“Life is simpler when you plough around the stump.” Cowboy wisdom