Aging Well in the Gorge February 23rd 2016

Hearing loss is one of those invisible chronic disabilities which can cause social isolation and loneliness; significantly impacting your health and well-being. Unfortunately, hearing loss won’t go away; you just have to learn how to best live with it.

With my hearing loss, I often depend on my good buddy “closed captions”. When I watch television or movies at home, especially when watching my favorite British mysteries, it really adds to the enjoyment when I can use closed captions to actually understand what is being said. It is amazing what a difference it makes. (And even if your hearing is normal, closed captions can also help decipher the strong English or Irish brogues - which no one I know can understand.)

But what about phone calls? How can you communicate with friends or family, or make a doctor’s appointment or answer the persistent telemarketer calls when you have hearing loss? I have my hearing aid connected to my smartphone so any conversation goes directly to my hearing aid which improves the quality considerably. But when I use a land line, I am often asking the caller to repeat themselves or having to moving into a quieter room. It is frustrating for both the caller and myself. And my hearing loss isn’t that severe.

But hearing loss does not have to limit the quality of phone conversations. The federally mandated Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) is a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive local and/or long distance telephone calls. The TRS providers, generally telephone companies, are compensated for the costs of providing TRS from either state or federal funds. There is no cost to the TRS user.

One of several forms of TRS is Captioned Telephone Service which is used by persons with a hearing disability but with some limited hearing. It uses a special telephone that has a text screen to display captions of what the other party to the conversation is saying which makes it possible to communicate with friends, family and businesses by phone.

Gary Waddington who works for CaptionCall, one of several companies that provides caption phones, will speak about “Telephone Options for the Hard of Hearing” at the next Tuesday lecture on March 1st at 11:00. He will discuss the benefits of different phone options for the hard of hearing; how you can qualify for a free caption phone; the requirements for installing a caption phone; and any other questions you may have.

Lucille Torgerson will be leading a discussion of the book Keep Moving - and other Tips and Truths about Aging written by Dick Van Dyke - who at the age of 90 should know a few things about “keeping fit as a fiddle and younger than springtime”. The first meeting will be at 10:30 on Wednesday, March 2nd and will continue through the month of March. It should be a fascinating discussion and I’m sure food for many future columns.

Although spring doesn’t arrive until March 19th, it sure feels like it - with folks getting out and enjoying the nicer weather and longer days. So starting March 1st, which means next week, the Center’s Tuesday Night music will start again at 7:00 with Andre, KC and Tom performing. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

On the Phil Silvers Show, the name of the master sergeant of the Fort Baxter motor pool who was always devising get-rich-quick schemes was Sergeant Bilko. And because of the popularity of the character, when the show was rebroadcast years later it was renamed Sergeant Bilko. (This week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Bill Booth.)

During one of those Center conversations reminiscing about songs we enjoyed when we were younger, this song was mentioned. It featured the lyrics, “I love you a bushel and a peck. A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck”. It was recorded by several artists in 1950, so for this week’s “Remember When” question, who do you remember singing “A Bushel and a Peck”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it in with a recording of the stage version of Guys and Dolls.

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep the lights on after the battery has run down. Until we meet again, as my wife often reminds me, “working in the garden means never saying you’re done”.

“There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.” WC Fields

Aging Well in the Gorge February 16th 2016

Everybody talks about eating healthy but what does that mean? You can find all kinds of studies about what is good for you and what isn’t - and often they seem contradictory. Should you eat chocolate or only dark chocolate? And what about coffee - is it good for you or not?

Even with all the often contradictory studies, there is a general consensus among nutritionists about eating healthy according Kris Gunnars, who writes for Authority Nutrition. Those ten nutrition facts that (almost) everyone agrees on are:
1. Added Sugar is a Disaster;
2. Omega-3 Fats Are crucial and most people don’t get enough;
3. There is no perfect diet for everyone;
4. Trans fats are very unhealthy and should be avoided;
5. Eating vegetables will improve your health;
6. It is critical to avoid a vitamin d deficiency;
7. Refined carbohydrates are bad for you;
8. Supplements can never fully replace real foods;
9. “Diets” don’t work, a lifestyle change is necessary;
10. Unprocessed food is healthiest.

Now if you want something more succinct, you can follow the advice of Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules. “Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Or closer to home, Adeline Knorr always reminds me to avoid the 5 S’s: Sugar, Shortening, Seconds, Salt, and Soda.

If you have an Apple or Android smartphone, you can learn more about what is healthy to eat, by downloading the app Fooducate - which I learned about from my sister. By using your smartphone to scan the bar code of practically any grocery store food item, the app will grade its health value and explain why. The app also offers daily tips and provides recipes with their nutritional value. But I have to warn you, as I learned from shopping with my sister – you should expect to add two hours to your grocery shopping experience.

But what if you are on some kind of special diet: low sodium or low fat, gluten or dairy free, or high fiber? It’s hard enough to eat healthy without adding more restrictions. But coming to your rescue is the OSU website “Food Hero” offering recipes for special diets as well as plenty of good advice about healthy and tasty recipes, meal ideas, budgeting, shopping, and many more cooking tips and tools.

If you want to learn more about good nutrition and particularly if you are on a special diet, you are invited to the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on February 23rd when Tracy Dugick, MCMC Registered Dietician, will discuss good nutrition and special diets.

Ginny McNary and I are working on scheduling day trips for this spring and summer. The first trip we have tentatively planned is a trip to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest in Woodburn, Oregon on Wednesday, April 6th. If you are interested, call or drop by the Center to sign up. You won’t need to pay now, but I expect it will cost around $20 which includes the transportation and admittance but not lunch.

We have also identified another eleven possible day trips and in order to arrange transportation we would like to know how many people would be interested in any of them. There is a list of trips at the Center. Or you can go to the Center’s website and click on the tab “Day Trips” where you will find instructions and a link to a questionnaire you can fill out.

At the Center on February 23rd starting at 6:30 PM, Country Road will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The title of the 1970 movie starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw that included the line, “Love means never having to say you're sorry”, was Love Story. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Ruth Radcliffe.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is once again from the golden age of television. On the Phil Silvers Show that ran from 1955 through 1959, what was the name of the master sergeant of the Fort Baxter motor pool who was always devising get-rich-quick schemes? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it in with your name and phone number on the back of $100 bill.

Well, it’s been another week stumbling my way towards mortality. Until we meet again, you know you are getting older when you hear everyone talking about dabbin and the only thing that comes to mind is Brylcreem.

“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” Michael Pollan

Aging Well in the Gorge February 9th 2016

Sunday will be Valentine’s day - a day to celebrate love and romance with a box of fine chocolates, or a bouquet of flowers from Sigman’s or maybe a candlelight dinner at home with a glass of wine.

My wife and I have celebrated Valentine’s Day as a married couple for over forty years. And as with most older adults, we feel our marriage has improved and these later years have been some of the happiest years of our lives. Part of the reason is I have learned the secrets of a happy marriage: put down the toilet seat, (apparently it looks gross to women), put the cap back on the toothpaste; and answer any request from your wife with a gentle “As you wish my dear”. (But I have still been able to maintain a certain level of cave man aesthetic which I am sure she has come to lovingly appreciate.)

But then as life often happens, your spouse passes away, leaving only memories and pictures of all the special times. It is a tremendous adjustment and changes your world - even more than when you had your first child. But you learn to adapt, and life continues. And then one day, after you have learned to accept the solitude, you unexpectedly find a second love, a companion, someone to share new stories and adventures with.

It may be someone you knew from church, or an old friend from your school days you accidently found on Facebook. And you decide to remarry, or just live together or be friends with benefits. And surprisingly, you find you have never been happier in your life.

It happens to many. And Valentine’s Day reminds us when love is lost, it doesn’t mean all is lost forever - because it is never too late to find a little romance one more time.

A big thank-you to Dave Griffith Motors for sponsoring the Center’s successful Southern Fried Chicken Dinner. It would not have been possible without Griffith Motors and all the volunteers including the Red Hat ladies (Pat Lucas promised to bring me a red hat to wear next year); the donated desserts from Petite Provence and Shari’s Restaurant; Debra Jones and Donna Baldwin for arranging the center pieces for the tables; Andre Lemoreaux, KC Kortge and Sheryl Doty for the music; Denise Patton, Rick Leibowitz and the kitchen volunteers for preparing the food; and to Joan Silver for leading the charge. And last but not least, thank-you to all the folks who attended the dinner so the Center can continue to provide opportunities and supports for older adults.

There is still room in next week’s AARP Smart Driver class on Monday and Tuesday (February 15th and 16th) from 8:45 to 12:05. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP members. You need to bring your driver’s license and a pencil. You will learn the current rules of the road, defensive driving techniques and how to operate your vehicle more safely in today's increasingly challenging driving environment. And with completion of the class, you should be able to receive a discount on your auto insurance.

Consequently, there will not be a 11:00 Tuesday lecture, but on the 23rd, Tracy Dugick, MCMC Registered Dietician, will discuss how to eat healthy while on special diets.

At the Center on February 16th starting at 6:30 PM, the Simcoe Boys will drive all the way from Goldendale to perform for your dancing and listening pleasure. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The football the team that won four Super Bowls in the 1970’s and included future all-stars Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, “Mean Joe” Greene, Mel Blount, and Lynn Swann was the Pittsburg Steelers. (The winner of one of the hot-selling quilt raffle tickets is Morris Melton.)

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, this week’s “Remember When” question is about a film considered one of the most romantic by the American Film Institute (ranked number nine). What is the title of the movie released in 1970 starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw and made famous the line, “Love means never having to say you're sorry.”? (Was it really forty-six years ago?) Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the book of the same title written by Erich Segal.

Well, it’s been another week running further behind, but enjoying every minute. Until we meet again, as Milton Berle once said “If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.”

“Love isn't something you find. Love is something that finds you.” Loretta Young

Aging Well in the Gorge February 2nd 2016

When talking to folks at the Center, I find many are using what was once considered non-traditional medical practices. In fact in the U.S more than 30 percent of adults, use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine. Two of the most common practices are natural products such as herbs, vitamins and minerals, and probiotics; and mind and body practices including the most popular practices: chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, meditation, massage therapy and yoga.

But when I hear of these non-traditional methods, I often describe them as “alternative” or “complementary” medicines, often interchanging the terms because I really didn’t know the difference. But while searching various websites for reasons I have since forgotten, I found this rather straight forward explanation on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) website.

If a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it’s considered “complementary.” If a non-mainstream practice is used in place of conventional medicine, it’s considered “alternative”.

Today with the growing research on the effectiveness of various “complementary” and “alternative” practices, modern medicine no longer ignores the benefits of many of these non-western medical approaches. For example, MCMC was an early adopter when they opened the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in 1996, offering stress management, exercise, nutrition counseling and an array of non-traditional therapies to address the whole patient and their health needs.

If you are considering a complementary practice, I have learned there are several things to consider. Do your homework. Find out how effective the practice is and make sure it is safe. (For supplements, drug interactions and possible contamination are two concerns.) The NCCIH website ( is a good place to start. Also talk to your health care provider to make sure there are no conflicts with your current medications; and to make sure you are not missing a more serious and preventable health condition.

Like any decision concerning your health, decisions about whether to use a non-mainstream practice are important. Make sure you understand the benefits, but also the possible risks.

Last chance to remind you of the Southern Fried Chicken Dinner sponsored by Dave Griffith Motors this Friday night, February 5th, from 4:30 – 7:00 PM at the Center. Tickets are $15.00 per person and $7.50 for children 12 and under, and can be purchased at the Center or at the door on Friday. We hope this becomes a regular event on your calendar as the Baby Back Rib Dinner is on the first Friday in October.

Cuba has been in the news since President Obama started liberalizing travel restrictions in 2011 and recently reestablished diplomatic ties. Last fall, Sandy Haechrel and Susan Gabay took advantage of this thawing in relations by spending eight days in Cuba on an educational People to People Exchange.  Among the many sites they visited were the cities of Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, and Trinidad; the Cienfuegos Province Botanical Gardens and Cienaga de  Zapata National Park; the Bay of Pigs; and Hemingway's winter home; as well as schools, senior housing, and many art and music venues. They will be sharing their experiences and impressions with a slide show at the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on February 9th.

At the Center on February 9th starting at 6:30 PM, Martin and Friends will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

Many folks remembered the Palmer Method and its uniform system of cursive writing. But this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is LaVerna Bolton Harmier, who started school in 1926 at Fairfield School, a one-room school near Wrentham, graduated from Dufur High School in 1938, retired from teaching in 1982, and is now living with her daughter in Portland. She learned the Palmer method as a child, and also taught it to her students, so she knows from experience.

Since next Sunday is the Super Bowl (when you can watch really expensive advertisements for really large companies scattered between really big guys banging their heads together), you know what this week’s “Remember When” question is about.

In the 1970’s, what football team won four Super Bowls and included future all-stars Terry, Franco, Joe, Mel, and Lynn. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a steel curtain.

Well, it’s been another week losing my note pad with my to-dos that I didn’t want to forget. Until we meet again, keep moving, keep laughing and keep making the best of every day.

“If it weren't for electricity, we'd all be watching television by candlelight.” George Gobel


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