Aging Well in the Gorge May 26th 2015

Do you still have memories of summers past? Traveling across country in a ‘54 Mercury station wagon with push button shifting, cooling off in the river on hot summer nights. Or falling in love at first sight with that young woman you would eventually marry, who was wearing one of those new risqué two piece bathing suits? Ah, the days of summer when you needed no excuse to be lazy.

At the Center this summer, while most of the classes will continue as usual, there are a few changes: Tuesday Lectures are suspended until fall, and Strong Women meets only on Thursdays. But there is still music every Tuesday night and Bingo every Thursday and Saturday Nights. (On Saturday, May 30th, the payout for the last game is $1000 if you blackout in sixty numbers. That could pay for a nice summer trip!)

Also the Center has once again scheduled a variety of Wednesday day trips, thanks to the help of Ginny McNary.  And this summer we’ll be going in every direction! On June 10th we’ll be headed east going to Pendleton to tour the Pendleton Underground in the morning and the Woolen Mills in the afternoon with time for lunch in between. (The cost for all the trips includes admissions and transportation, but you will need to purchase your own lunch.) Because the Pendleton Underground Tour starts at 10:00, we will need to leave at 7:30. The cost is $40 and limited to 20.

On July 1st we’ll head north to the Goldendale Observatory and the historical Presby Museum. Cost is $25 and limited to 12. July 8th we’ll be going south to “beat the heat” for lunch at Timberline Lodge. The cost is $20, which does not include the lunch, and again limited to 12. On July 22nd we will head west on I-84 to visit the Pittock Mansion and the Chinese Gardens in Portland. Cost is $40 and limited to 12. And we will end the season with the Portland Spirit Cruise and Lunch on the Willamette, August 19th, and the cost is $60 and limited to 20. Call the Center to reserve your spot and create some new summer memories.

This Wednesday. May 27th, another class of the Walk With Ease Program will start. The Walk With Ease Program is an exercise program that can reduce pain and improve overall health. If you can be on your feet for 10 minutes without increased pain, you can have success with this program. It is motivating, safe, can improve you flexibility, strength and stamina and most importantly - is fun. The program meets from 8:00am – 9:00am (before the heat) three times a week for six weeks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Picnic Shelter at Sorosis Park. The program is open to all ability levels and all you need to do to register is show up. In addition, all participants will receive a pedometer and a water bottle. For more information contact Lauren Kraemer at OSU Extension, 541-386-3343 ext 258.

Like many non-profits, the Center relies on various fundraisers to pay the bills. One of the Center’s annual fundraisers is the summer rummage sale around the end of June. If you have any decent used items that you no longer need: clothing, household goods, furniture, your husband? - drop them off outside the basement of the Center. We’ll be glad to take them – but please include instructions with your husband.

Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on May 26th will feature the Elderly Brothers. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and ends by 9:00. All ages are welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The comedy duo who couldn’t figure out “who’s on first” was Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. (And the winner of 3 quilt raffle tickets is Sandy Goforth.) This week’s “Remember When” question was prompted by a conversation about shoes with Jenny Curtis, one of the Center’s Needle Nutzs. What was the name of the unconventional style of shoe invented in Scandinavia and first sold in America in 1970 which had thick soles and thin heels, thus featuring a “negative heal”? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the Danish yoga instructor Anne Kalso.

Well, it’s been another week, looking for gold in the golden years. Until we meet again, you know you are getting old when what you wore as a teenager, is now a new fashion trend.

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” Russell Baker

Aging Well in the Gorge May 19th 2015

Older adults are a vital part of our society. And if you look around at the volunteers who are involved in our communities, from elected officials to community non-profits such as Community Meal and the Warming Shelter, you will realize our communities would not be as strong and vibrant without older adults unselfishly giving their time and efforts.

Since 1963, communities across the country have shown their gratitude by celebrating Older Americans Month each May. The theme for this year is “Get into the Act,” recognizing how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.

 2015 is also the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act when President Johnson signed into law in July 1965. The Older Americans Act funds a network of services that support the dignity and independence of older adults. The Act provides funding for congregate and home delivered meals that support the meal sites here in Wasco and Sherman Counties, caregiver support, community based services, elder abuse prevention and much more. Those funds are distributed through the local Area Agency on Agency (541-298-4101) which is under the umbrella of the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments.

 During Older Americans Month, the 50+ EXPO was held last Saturday at the Readiness Center in The Dalles. I would like to thank all of you who attended and particularly the many exhibitors. The purpose was to provide a one stop place where you could learn about the wide variety of resources available for older adults. As the director of the Center for over eight years, there are times when I think I know everything there is to know about the resources available for Older Adults. But by talking to the many exhibitors, I was reminded once again how wrong I would be.

Such as did you know Life Flight (503-729-5879), which covers all your your costs for a helicopter flight in case of a medical emergency, costs only $60 a year and could save you thousands of dollars if the service was ever needed; and Hood River Mobile Dental Hygiene (503-936-8422) provides thorough and convenient dental care to home or facility bound seniors who find it difficult to make it to a dental office for routine dental hygiene; and Legacy Stories, which is being promoted by Hearts of Gold Caregivers (541-387-0207), is a free award winning app for your iPhone or Samsung device where you can simply scan a photo and record your voice describing the person or event shown in the photo and what it means to you.

 Those are a just few of the resources I learned about at the 50+ EXPO. We will be evaluating the event to identify what worked and what didn’t, so we can make it even better for next year when we hope to see you then.

 Another reminder that Jim Petrusich will be speaking about hearing loss at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture 11:00 on May 26th. As the Columbia Gorge Hearing Care audiologist and with his own personal experiences, he understands the challenges of hearing loss. This will be your chance to ask questions to help you get back into the conversations around you.

 Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on May 26th will feature the Elderly Brothers. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and ends by 9:00. All ages are welcome and donations are always appreciated.

 The fictitious product seen on TV that contained concentrated "vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals", was 23% proof, and promised to help people who are "tired, run-down, and listless” was Vitameatavegamin – the product Lucy was selling in the famous I Love Lucy episode “The TV Commercial". (And the winner of 3 quilt raffle tickets is Marcia Lacock.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is another easy one but may bring back more memories of classic comedy routines of the past. What comedy duo couldn’t figure out who was on first baseball because of the ballplayer’s unusual nicknames in this famous routine that was ranked as the #1 comedy routine of the 20th century by Time magazine. Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a DVD of the 1945 movie The Naughty Nineties.

 Well, it’s been another week, when too often something stares me in the face and I still don’t see it. Until we meet again, the first step to remembering anything is to pay attention!

 “By the time you're eighty years old you've learned everything. You only have to remember it." George Burns

Aging Well in the Gorge May 12th 2015

At any age we can become socially isolated; lose contact with friends and family. Some people may even choose to be alone - there is no one telling you what to do, no one leaving the lights on or eating your piece of pie left in the frig. And if you only argue with yourself, you know at least one of you is going to win.

But there is also much that is lost.

During last Tuesday’s Lecture, Litxie Miranda, Lu Pang and Candace Lewis Laietmark, three graduate students at the PSU Institute on Aging, discussed social isolation and the value of social networks. They explained that social isolation is associated with lower general well-being, more depression, higher levels of disability from chronic diseases, and increased rates of premature death.

This is a particular concern for older adults because they are more susceptible to social isolation. Why? There are many reasons.

After retiring it can be hard to replace the social network at work. We lose many of our loved ones and close friends as we live longer. (40 % of adults 65 and older live by themselves.) Because of hearing loss, it may be more difficult to converse with others. Driving becomes more of a chore than a pleasure. And we may feel there is no longer a reason or purpose to meet others.

 But the social connections are important. They can provide help when needed, information about what is going on, and conversations that can stimulate your own thinking. They can keep you engaged in the world around you - because there is still much to discover.

But it is not easy. Most of us are not going to hit the bar or go back to school to find that natural milieu of potential friends. And it can be especially difficult if you never really were the “social” type..

But if you find yourself alone, coax or bribe yourself, whatever it takes, to explore new social situations. Volunteer, try exercise classes, play cards, learn a new skill or pursue a new interest. And the Meals-on-Wheel noon dinner at the Center is a great place to start.

 Eventually you will make new friends, and then you can complain again that someone is telling you what to do.

 There will not be a Tuesday Lecture on the 19th but at 11:00 on the 26th, Jim Petrusich will return to the Center to speak more about hearing loss. As the Columbia Gorge Hearing Care audiologist and with his own personal experiences, he understands the challenges of hearing loss and is an advocate for better education about this invisible chronic condition. Even if you have heard him speak before, I would recommend you take the opportunity to hear him again.

This is the last reminder for the first annual 50+ EXPO at the Readiness Center, adjacent to the CGCC, Saturday, May 16th from 9:00 – 2:00. There will be over 25 vendors including Curves, bringing several pieces of their exercise equipment, and The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center, who will be providing balance testing, as well as blood pressure checks and blood sugar testing. Plus they will have a drawing for a wine basket. I would like to thank all the exhibitors and speakers for making this opportunity possible for folks fifty and older.

Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on May 19th will feature the Simcoe Boys. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

The product that floated and was 99 44/100 % pure was Ivory Soap. But some of you may have remembered, as Jerry Phillips did, your mother making her own not-so-pure soap using lye and bacon grease (And Jerry is the winner of 3 quilt raffle tickets.)

 This week’s “Remember When” is about another product seen on TV, but this one was never sold. What was the name of the fictitious health tonic that contained concentrated "vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals", was 23% proof, and promised to help people who are "tired, run-down, and listless”. Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of the 1951 I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Does a TV Commercial".

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to repeat myself – wait, I said that last week! Until we meet again, as was heard at the Center, “We're not getting any older, we’re just living longer.”

 "Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar." John Glenn

Aging Well in the Gorge May 5th 2015

There are many benefits to getting older: more time for yourself, a more mature view of life and of course, grandchildren. But as all of us can attest, there are numerous challenges and questions as we navigate these later years.

To help answer many of those questions, the first 50+ EXPO will be held on May 16th at the Readiness Center adjacent to the Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles. And it is free.

The EXPO will start at 9:00 and end at 2:00 to allow enough time for the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue to set up for their 1st Annual Fireman’s Ball - celebrating their 20 year anniversary. Doors open at 7:30, tickets are $20 and there will be live music featuring “Countryfied”. But back to the 50+ EXPO.

There will be over 30 businesses and organizations represented at the 50+ EXPO (and there is still limited space available for additional vendors. Call me at the Center for more information) that promote healthy living - from Curves and Avalon Bioassage to the Area Agency on Aging and Mid-Columbia Medical Center.

There will also be speakers scheduled each hour to discuss a wide range of topics. The speakers and topics are:

10:00, Antoine Tissot - Timmons Law Firm, “Do-It-Yourself Advanced Directives”; and Lauren Kraemer - Instructor Oregon State University, “Staying Active as We Age”.

11:00. Jason Smith - Hausman Advisors, “Financial Planning Through the Ages”; and Russell Jones - Veteran’s Officer, “Veteran Support Services”.

12:00 Lena Weinman - OD, Obstetrics/Gynecology at MCMC, “Sex in Our Later Years”; Sherry Dufault - Flagstone Senior Living and Thomas Keolker - Hearts of Gold Caregivers, “Growing Old Ain’t for Sissies … Controlling Your Options as You Age”.

1:00 Colleen Ballinger - Providence Hospice of The Gorge, “How To Connect With People Who Have Dementia”; and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, “Home Safety”.

The purpose of the 50+ EXPO is to bring together in one place many of the resources available for those of us over 50 to answer our questions in order to enjoy the “Good life in the Gorge”.

Thanks to the small group organizing the event including: Thomas Keolker, Hearts of Gold Caregivers; Sherry Dufault, Flagstone Senior Living; Sharla Webber. MCMC; and Dave Peters, Columbia Cascade Housing. And a special thanks to the sponsors of the 50+ EXPO: Hearts of Gold Caregivers and BiCoastal Media.

Thanks to everyone who attended the Seniors-4-Seniors Dance at the Center on Friday night including Wahtonka staff and students and Candy Armstrong. Kyla Mitchell, a senior at the Wahtonka Community High School, and with the help of her cohort, Carol Roderick, produced quite a show with delicious snacks, games and prizes, and the special five piece band that kept the dance floor full. (I even saw a little “twisting” going on.) Everyone had a great time and all the money raised will help support the Wahtonka Community High School’s first graduation.

Next Tuesday at 11:00 on May 12th, I will lead a discussion on “Ageism –Does it exist?” I will be interested in hearing about your experiences - both negative and positive, where you feel you have been treated differently because of your age.
Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on May 12th will feature the country sounds of Martin and Friends. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

When the book Peter Pan was adapted into a musical for Broadway in 1954, the role of Peter Pan was played by Mary Martin – who I was reminded several times was the mother of the ruthless oil baron from Dallas - Larry Hagman. (And the winner of three quilt raffle tickets is Rick Wolf.)

This week I am going to keep it clean with this “Remember When” question suggested by Lyn Dalton. What was the name of the product that used the advertising slogans first introduced in the 1890’s, "It Floats!" and "99 44⁄’00% Pure"?  Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or ship it with a clawfoot, cast iron bathtub.

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to repeat myself – again. Until we meet again, here is more good advice heard at the Center - this time from Bea Dick. ”There are three things to do to live a healthy life. 1.) Don’t fall, 2.) Don’t fall and …… 3.) Don’t fall.”

“Almost all my middle-aged and elderly acquaintances, including me, feel about 25, unless we haven't had our coffee, in which case we feel 107.” Martha Beck


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