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UPDATED 10.12.17

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 mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, 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


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