Because Americans are living longer than ever before, there will be 11.5 million Americans over the age of 85 by 2035 - more than double today’s 5 million. And closer to home, it’s projected by 2030, 25% of residents in Wasco County will be 65 years of age or older, compared to 19.9% in 2014.
But as many of us know all too well, as we get older our bodies don’t always cooperate; and with longer life spans, more older adults will be living with disabilities or frailty. Today, 65% of Americans over 65 already have one or more physical or functional limitations. And yet as the number of frail older adults increases and needing assistance, caregiving by family members will be less available because of smaller and more mobile families and other changes in family structures in American society.
These very real and unavoidable demographic changes will have a significant impact on our communities; and on us who are or will be those older adults. For example, there will be a greater need for paid home caregivers; appropriate housing and services for older adults; and community planning.
Now is the time to start thinking as a community about the health and welfare of this growing aging population: creating age-friendly communities where structures and services value and support older adults with varying needs and capacities; and where the strengths of older adults are emphasized rather than their deficits.
By looking at all aspects of our communities from this perspective including housing, transportation, outdoor spaces, social inclusion, civic participation, employment, communication, healthcare, and the caregiver workforce, we can create friendlier communities not only for us as we age, but also for people of all ages and abilities.
To discuss the idea of age-friendly communities, the speaker for the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday lecture on March 29th will be Tina Castanares: doctor, leader in rural healthcare, board member of One Community Health and currently a caregiver. She will be asking what does an age-friendly community look like and what can we do to make our communities more age-friendly?
Besides flowers sprouting and warmer temperatures, we know its spring at the Center when Bruce Harris, owner of Today’s Rays, shows up unannounced to turn on the water for the sprinkler system. The Center wants to thank Bruce, who for years, has donated his time to check the sprinkler system before and after the winter months to make sure it is running smoothly.
Northwest singer and entertainer, Nehemiah Brown, will be back in town on April 1st for his spring concert at the Center. Nehemiah’s performance includes pop, country and gospel standards of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s in the smooth style of Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole. The concert is from 7:00 and 9:00 and costs $4.00 or $3.00 for Center members.
For the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on March 29th, “Slick and Slippery” will be playing for your listening and dancing enjoyment. (Actually the band is composed of “slick” Andre Lemoreaux and his “slippery” musician friends who are filling in for the fifth Tuesday in March.) Doors open at 6:00; music starts at 7:00. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.
John H. Dick was the starting 6-foot-4-inch basketball forward who grew up in The Dalles and played on the 1939, University of Oregon basketball team known as the “Tall Firs” which won the first NCAA Basketball National Championship. (The winner of quilt raffle tickets are Laura Comini and Jerry Phillips - who remembers that one of the other players on the team, Ted Sarpola, coached at The Dalles High School in the '50's.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is a little vulgar and crude – at least that was the impression when this contraption first became popular in the 1930’s. What was the name of the gag gift first created during the 1920’s that simulated a familiar noise when the air inside rushed out, and when introduced was known alternatively as the “poo-poo cushion” and the “boop-boop a doop”? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the scene from the 1942 movie “Road to Morocco,” where Bob Hope and Bing Crosby slipped this device under a sheik to the audience’s amusement.
Well, it’s been another week trying to remember - is it better to be safe or sorry? Until we meet again, enjoy these first days of spring and enjoy a happy and blessed Easter.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.