Aging Well in the Gorge June 30th 2015

Recently I seem to have misplace both of my hearing aids for my good ear which put me at a disadvantage this last Saturday while attending my wife’s family reunion. But there was an upside. All of her relatives think I am a really friendly, because I was always smiling and nodding, which I often do when I don’t have a clue what everyone is talking about!

But I haven’t panicked, because those hearing aids are at least six years old, and this may be the impetus to purchase a new pair sooner than later. .

But as I research new hearing aids, I find so much talk about the stigma associated with wearing them. I’ve worn glasses since grade school, and there hasn't been a negative stigma associated with them. Okay, maybe it is because the majority of folks with hearing aids are over 65; and that means if you have hearing aids you must be old - which everyone seems to want to avoid. But often because of the stigma (and the fact they cost as much as decent used car), too many people go without them - affecting their health and quality of life.

But I think if will do my part to take up the fight to reverse the stigma. Instead of trying to hide the hearing aids, why not flaunt them. I was thinking my next pair of over the ear hearing aids would be - bright red. Now your reaction may be the same as my wife’s which was “Are you nuts!” But how about Oregon green - or a calm ocean blue.

But I see several reason to wear a bright colored hearing aid.

First I’m proud of my age. Okay, I may find it difficult to climb out of the pool, but it was difficult when I was five and I didn't complain then. Also, since I only need one hearing aid, because my left ear is basically deaf, everyone will know my good ear and which side to sit or walk on. And finally, I can become a fashion icon for the older generations - a trendsetter, which is often hard to do in your sixties.

So if you see me with a wild colored hearing aid, don’t laugh. I will be walking tall, wondering where all the noises are coming from.

It will be an exciting “Fort Dalles Fourth” in The Dalles with live music, Independence Parade on Saturday starting at 10:00 and many more activities. Plus the largest fireworks show in Oregon. Thanks to all the sponsors and community support to make this event happen. And you can still donate online at

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Friday July 3rd as will government offices. And for all the bingo players, there will not be Bingo this coming Thursday or Saturday nights.

For next Tuesday Night Music and Dance its back to the top of the charts with Andre, K.C. and Tom playing on July 7th for your dancing and listening pleasure. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and over by 9:00. As always, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.  

The name of the place where Ted Walker had his swim team practice in the Columbia River before the Natatorium was built was called the “Dip”. Jerry Phillips (who is this week’s winner of three Quilt Raffle tickets) remembers it being located just downriver from the old ferry landing, or where the cruise ships now dock. And fortunately, back in those days, the Floozies weren’t around to distract them from their invigorating practices.

Does the hot summer days and nights remind you of your younger days, driving around town or the back country roads, late at night trying to stay cool while listening to one of the many summer hits? These recent hot days reminds me of one of those songs. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the rock band with folk roots that sang the #1 summer hit in 1965 that included the lyrics “Hot town, summer in the city/Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty”? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the name of your favorite summer song. 

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find that cool spot. Until we meet again, as Rob VanCleave once told me, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

“It is officially too hot when the lure of jumping into a cold pool is finally stronger than the horror I feel when I see myself in a swim suit.”

Aging Well in the Gorge June 23rd 2015

Do you remember those days when you could stay up all night hanging out with friends or studying for the big final or making out with your girlfriend in your grandmother’s ’63 Buick Skylark Convertible? I don’t know about you, but for me those days are long gone. But this week I could use some of that youthful stamina because I am running out time to write this column. So to get to the point, here are a few comings and goings for this week.

There was an overflow crowd of families, friends and well-wishers last Friday for the first Wahtonka Community School Graduation. It was exciting to watch the class of 2015 receive their diplomas and take the next step on their life journey. The following Ralph Waldo Emerson quote was read that evening to inspire the young graduates. But I thought the quote is also meaningful to us “older” folkss as we look back at our lives while also preparing for the new and often unanticipated adventures and challenges ahead.

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  

If you are traveling this summer, by trains, planes or automobiles, you may want the company of a good audio book to take along with you. Thanks to a generous donation, the Center has a large variety of books on CD that you can pop into your car’s CD player to enjoy your favorite thriller or mystery. A list of the donated CD’s are on the Center’s website, and you can just stop by the Center to check one out.

The Center’s annual rummage sale has been condensed from the usual three day sale to one, so you can find all kinds of bargains on Saturday June 27th from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. We’re going to set up on Friday so you can still drop off any good used items (preferably nothing that has been through two yard sales already) by Friday morning.

I need to give a big thank-you to the MCMC volunteers who spent Friday morning working on long delayed projects around the Center: painting railings, trimming trees, and removing flower beds. I didn’t think a group of volunteers could accomplish so much in one morning. They definitely showed their commitment to the community!

Next Tuesday is the fifth Tuesday which means The Dufur Boys will be playing for the Center’s Tuesday Night Music and Dance. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and over by 9:00. As always, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.   

Dr. Frank C Baxter, as Dr. Research, was the host of the eight Bell Laboratory science specials – considered to be some of the best known and remembered educational films ever made. (The winner of three quilt raffle tickets is Bob Earls – who I forgot to mention for answering last week’s question.)

With the Grand Opening of the wonderful North Wasco County Aquatic Center, including an eight lane 50 meter pool, water slide and a free Splash Park, this week’s “Remember When” question has to be about swimming in The Dalles.

Ted Walker came to The Dalles as a swimming instructor and started The Dalles Swim Team in 1955. He was instrumental in the construction of The Dalles Natatorium, which in 1993 was renamed in his honor. But I also heard at the Grand Opening that before the pool was built, Ted Walker’s swim team practiced in the Columbia River. What was the name of the place where they practiced? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of one of the early swim teams. Also if you have any Ted Walker swimming stories send them to me. I would like to learn more about the person who did so much for swimming in The Dalles.

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to fall asleep at the wheel. Until we meet again, stay cool but keep your clothes on.

“Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” Steven Colbert

Aging Well in the Gorge June 16th 2015

Now that the summer’s first extreme heat advisory is over, it is a reminder, if anyone had forgotten, what summer can be like in The Dalles. But knowing there will surely be more hot days ahead (July and August are the hottest months of the year with the all-time high in The Dalles reaching 111 on July 26.1998), it might be good to review some of the precautions you should take when it becomes extremely hot again.

Heat is a particular concern for older adults and anyone with a chronic illness because they are at a high risk for heat related illnesses. But heat related illnesses can be prevented by “staying cool, hydrated and informed”.

Stay cool. If you do need to go outside during extreme heat conditions, early morning or later evening are the best times. Limit your sun exposure between 11 am - 5 pm. Dress in loose, light-weight, light-colored clothing that covers the skin. Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or more 10 minutes before going out.

Know the signs of heat stroke: high body temperature (104 F or higher); altered mental state or behavior; changes in sweating; nausea or vomiting; flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, and headaches. If you notice any of these symptoms call 911.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your level of activity even if you are not thirsty. If you have lost your mind and need to work outdoors in the heat (we should leave that to the young bucks) drink between 2-4 cups per hour. And not all fluids are beneficial - avoid sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks.

Stay informed. Stay connected with family, friends and neighbors, in case you need to help each other. On those extended stretches of extremely hot weather, a broken air conditioner, can be a life threatening situation.

By staying cool, hydrated and informed, you can avoid serious heat related illnesses, because as Dinah Shore once sang, “Baby, it’s hot outside” – or something like that.
In The Dalles there are excellent facilities that provide a variety of long term care options. But there are occasions when it is important that an advocate is available to support the resident if he or she has a complaint. The Long Term Ombudsman was created to provide that type of support and at 11:00 on June 23rd, Gretchen Jordan, Coordinator of Volunteers for the Oregon Long Term Care Ombudsman program, will be speaking about the Ombudsman program. Certified Ombudsmen Volunteers are independent citizen advocates who visit the residents of long-term care facilities, identifying complaints and concerns. They investigate these complaints and work with the staff of the facilities to resolve problems, advocating from the resident’s point of view to protect their rights and dignity.

It has been said that as long as the first and last letters in a word are in their proper place, you can scramble the rest of the word and it's still readable. Let’s test that theory by scrambling the letters in the Center’s Tuesday Night Music announcement.  Tseuady Ngiht Misuc and Dnace at the Cneetr on Jnue 23rd wlil frutaee the Eldrley Brtoerhs – and conarrty to rorums, tehy are no ritlaoen to the Eevrly Brreohts. Droos oepn at 6:00, msuic sattrs at 7:00 and oevr by 9:00. All aegs are wocelme and daoniotns are aywals acietaprped.

The 1950’s television drama starring Richard Carlson and based on the life of Herbert Philbrick, who infiltrated the U.S. Communist Party on behalf of the FBI was I Led Three Lives. You may also remember Richard Carlson starring in several of the Bell Laboratory Science specials that by the mid-sixties had been seen by an estimated five million schoolchildren and half a million college students. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the host of this series that included Hemo the Magnificent and About Time. Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Dr. Research and Dr. Fiction Writer.

Well, it’s been another week, spending too much time looking for the delete key. Until we meet again, you know you are getting older if you meet an attractive young women and wonder if she is single - because you’d like to introduce her to your unmarried son.

“When my grandmother was sick in the hospital, I foolishly quoted her the saying, 'never regret growing old; it’s a privileged denied to many.' She glared at me and responded, 'spoken like a truly young idiot.” ― Dan Pearce

Aging Well in the Gorge June 9th 2015

We may not want to believe it, but hundreds of thousand older adults are abused, neglected or exploited every year. The abusers may be men or women, people in position of trust, friends, and even family members. Specifically, financial abuse and exploitation, costs older adults throughout the United States an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually - funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs.

Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It occurs at every income level and can happen to anyone. It is estimated that only about one in five of these types of crimes are ever discovered.

To provide an opportunity for communities to better understand and help prevent elder abuse, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

As part of this international awareness campaign, Fred Steele will be speaking about elder abuse in Oregon at the Center on Monday, June 15th at 1:00 PM. As Oregon’s Older Americans Act Legal Services Developer, Fred focuses on advocating for infrastructure improvements to enhance the rights, independence, and safety of vulnerable adults. Fred is a graduate of Willamette University College of Law and of Portland State University with a Master’s in Public Health.

But more specifically, what is elder abuse? In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. According to the Oregon Department of Justice, forms of elder abuse touch on almost every type of victimization possible including: physical injury to an older person that is not accidental; sexual abuse or exploitation; neglect that leads to harm such as failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection; abandonment of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person; mental or emotional anguish inflicted by threat, humiliation, or other conduct; and stealing or taking advantage of an older person’s finances, property or resources through deceptive means.

For more information, including signs of abuse, you can visit the website for Oregon Department of Justice’s Crime Victims’ Services Division. And if you suspect an older adult is being mistreated, call the Aging and People with Disabilities office in The Dalles at 541-298-4114 or the local Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

As part of the Center’s Creative Arts Program, there will be a Card Making Workshop at Urban Papers on Monday, June 15th from 1-4. During the class, Jill McDonald will be showing some new card making techniques. There is no limit on the size of the class and the cost is only $3.00 which includes all the supplies - thanks to a Wasco County Cultural Grant. Sign up by calling the Center at 541-296-4788 or Debra at 541-298-2131. As Jill posted on the Urban Papers’ Facebook page, “Being creative is not a hobby, it is a way of life”.
Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on June 16th will feature the popular Simcoe Boys. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and ends by sunset. All ages are welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The person who took over the family shoe repair business in The Dalles and was also one of the original Northern Wasco County PUD sponsors, instrumental in establishing The Dalles City Bus, and stopped the bulldozers from demolishing the 1859 Wasco County Courthouse was Alf Wernmark.  (And the winner of 3 quilt raffle tickets is Jerry Phillips.)

During the Red Scare after WWII, there were several movies and television shows depicting the threat of communist agents. What was the name of the television drama that aired from October 1953 through January 1956 staring Richard Carlson and was loosely based on the life of Herbert Philbrick, a Boston executive who infiltrated the U.S. Communist Party on behalf of the FBI in the 1940s? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a poster of the movie The Red Menace.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find a place in the shade. Until we meet again, “stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed”.

“Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.” Washington Irving

Wednesday (10) Taco Casserole (Soup and Salad Bar)
Thursday (11) Baked Potato with Chili
Friday (12) Baked Chicken and Gravy (Soup and Salad Bar)
Monday (15) BBQ Meatballs over Rice
Tuesday (16) BIRTHDAY DINNER Glazed Ham

Aging Well in the Gorge June 2nd 2015

The summer is the time to enjoy the outdoors, visit the kids and grandkids and try to stay cool in the shade. So who wants to think about some natural emergency situation that could strike at any time? But because of drought conditions and above normal fire potential, and possible earthquakes my wife is always reminding me about, it is best to be prepared for any unforeseen emergency. (At least I don’t have to worry about tornadoes and thunderstorms during the summer as I did growing up in Indiana.)

Besides keeping a basic emergency supply kit, (water, three days of non-perishable food, battery powered radio, flashlight, first aid kit, plastic bags, whistle, pliers, dust mask, manual can opener and cell phone with charger), and creating a personal support network, you should consider signing up with Wasco County Citizen Alert. It is a reverse 9-1-1 system when in case of an emergency situation, you are called instead of the other way around.
If you have a landline you should already be in the system. 

But if you want to be notified by other means such as your work phone, email, or a voice or text message on your cell phone, you need to register. And when you do register, you can also choose to be notified about different types of critical information: severe weather, wildfires, floods, street and road closures, missing persons, law enforcement activities and evacuation notices. You can register at and click on the Citizen Alert Notification icon at the bottom of the page. If you need assistance, you can also register by calling Wasco County Communications Manager at 541-506-2760.

I don’t know if The Dalles-Wasco County Public Library can also help you with registering for Citizens Alert, but they do offer free, hands-on, computer classes to residents of Wasco County. These classes are ideal for the new and not-so-new computer user who wants to learn and practice in a casual, low-stress environment. Space is limited to ensure personalized instructions and advance registration is required.  To register for any class, call 541-296-2815 or stop by the circulation desk.

Last week I mentioned that many folks enjoy traveling during the summer and our friends at Sherman County Transit are no different. They have scheduled a trip to Lincoln City from Tuesday, June 16th through Thursday, June 18th. They will be staying at the Liberty Inn just a couple of blocks from the Chinook Winds Casino. The rooms are $89 a night plus taxes and the cost of transportation is $100. Besides the casino, a trip to the Connie Hansen Garden Conservancy is planned for $3.00 per person. The bus will be leaving Moro at 7:30 AM and stopping in The Dalles at 8:30. To join the fun, call the Sherman County Transit at 541-565-3553. And the Center still has a few spaces left for the June 10th trip to the Pendleton Underground and Woolen Mills for $40.00 per person that includes transportation and the cost of admissions.

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

The name of the unconventional style of shoe designed with thick soles and thin heels and first sold in the United States in 1970 was the Earth Shoe. (And the winner of 3 quilt raffle tickets is Sandy Haechrel.)

Thanks to a suggestion from Jerry Phillips, I’m going stay with old shoes but with a local history twist. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who took over the family shoe repair business in The Dalles and according to Jerry never had your shoes repaired when you went to reclaim them, but would dig them out of the pile and repair them promptly when you did show up? And if that is not enough of a clue, he was also one of the original Northern Wasco County PUD sponsors, instrumental in establishing The Dalles City Bus, and stopped the bulldozers from demolishing the 1859 Wasco County Courthouse. Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the Fulton/Taylor house at 705 Case Street.

Well, it’s been another week, too hard of hearing to notice the ticking of time tip-toeing past my door. Until we meet again, take time discovering all the beautiful colors between black and white.

"You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred."  Woody Allen


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