Aging Well in the Gorge May 24th 2016

During the last twelve months, the Center has hosted many presentations about either Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease: explaining how to discern the signs, what behaviors to expect and how to respond to the often difficult behaviors in order to provide caring and quality care with patience and sensitivity. From those presentations, one may have learned more about these debilitating conditions, but is there some way to feel what it is like to live with memory loss every day? Now there is.

Providence Senior Village & Hospice is inviting you to join over 200,000 individuals and caregivers who have completed the Virtual Dementia Tour® where you can experience what it is like to be in a world of memory loss.

During a twenty minute Virtual Dementia Tour, trained facilitators guide you through common everyday tasks and exercises while outfitted with devices that temporarily alter your physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities - giving you the ability to experience the physical and mental challenges facing those with dementia.

From the tour, you will have a better understanding of how certain common behaviors such as repetitive actions, refusal to follow directions, and rummaging are actually normal coping strategies to deal with their confusion.

This free event takes place on both Wednesday, June 1st from 10:30am-5:30pm and Thursday June 2nd from 9:30am-4:00pm at Providence Hospice of the Gorge, 751 Myrtle Street, The Dalles. The tour only takes twenty minutes but you must call or email to schedule an appointment time.

Providence Hospice of the Gorge is also sponsoring a free community screening of Inside Alive, an award winning 2014 documentary that follows social worker Dan Cohen as he demonstrates music’s ability to combat memory loss to those suffering from it by restoring a deep sense of self. Alive Inside also includes revealing interviews with renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain), and numerous visionaries in healthcare including geriatrician and healthcare disrupter, Dr. Bill Thomas.

After the film there will be an open discussion lead by Providence Hospice of the Gorge caregivers - Colleen Ballinger, Hospice Nurse and Emily Vawter, Music Therapist. But the screening is tomorrow (or today depending on when you read the paper), Wednesday, May 25th at 6:30 at Flagstone Senior Living, 3325 Columbia View Drive. If you would like more information, about the Virtual Dementia Tour or the showing of Alive Inside, you can call Providence Hospice at 541-387-6370 or email

In time for these warmer days, the Center’s NU-2-U Shop has a nice selection of used spring and summer clothes. But they are beginning to run low in inventory. If you are sorting through your spring and summer wardrobes, the Center would be glad to find a home for your unwanted clothes. Just bring them to the Center and leave them at the front desk.

This coming Monday, May 30th is Memorial Day: a day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. In recognition of Memorial Day, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed for the weekend; and for the bingo players in the audience, there will not be bingo on either Thursday or Saturday nights.

Every Tuesday night at the Center there is live music and on May 31st, The Dufur Boys return to play for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome, and donations are always appreciated.

The Swedish born film actress, who starred in the 1936 movie Camille and was famously averse to any publicity was Greta Garbo. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Sandy Haechrel.)

With the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday in my home town, this week’s “Remember When” question is about the “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”. The Indy 500 is filled with traditions: the starting command “Gentlemen start your engines”, releasing the multi-colored balloons, the winning driver drinking milk in Victory Lane, and from 1972 until 2014 the tradition of this actor-singer singing “Back Home Again in Indiana”. Who was he? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it to the Center with a picture of the "addlebrained" gas station attendant on the Andy Griffith Show.`

Well, it’s been another week trying not to spill my milk. Until we meet again, if you fall flat on your face at least you’re moving forward.

“...treat people with understanding when you can, and fake it when you can't until you do understand.” ― Kim Harrison

Aging Well in the Gorge May 17th 2016

Let’s jump to a subject no one really wants to talk about, but all of us will experience in our lifetime. No, I don’t mean sex. (I haven’t had the nerve to talk about the subject yet.) I mean, you know - pushing up daisies, six feet under, succumbed, resting in peace, passed away. Okay, I’ll say it, death – a subject most of us want to avoid. It’s just not your typical after dinner conversation when you want to get the party started.

But the topic of death, or more specifically Death with Dignity, is the focus for this month’s “Beginning Conversations about the End of Life” on Tuesday, May 24th at 6:30 at The Dalles/Wasco County Library and facilitated by Julie Reynolds and Colleen Ballinger.

I imagine most of you haven’t thought much about how to prepare for the ultimate leveler - or how you would want to die.

Would it be in the comfort and peace of your own home with loved ones surrounding you? That’s the wish of most people; and although the proportion of adults over 65 who die in their own homes is increasing, it was still only twenty-four percent in 2007.

Do you want the most accurate and clear information about the consequences of different possible treatments and the chances for recovery, so you can make the best decisions about your care?

Do you want your anxiety and fears, the emotional toll you would most likely be experiencing, to be acknowledged and not ignored? 

Do want any pain to be managed and controlled so you don’t die in unnecessary distress?

And do you want to have the control and autonomy to make your own life decisions; that your Advanced Directive and treatment decisions will be followed and respected by your family and your medical providers, particularly if you aren’t able to speak for yourself?

Death with Dignity and end of life decisions are complex, nuanced, constantly changing and emotionally difficult - although we may all fantasize of a gentle exit. Death is an unavoidable part of life; a subject that may be uncomfortable, but should be discussed. And I promise talking about dying won’t kill you.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Center’s UpLifting Elevator Project. Through local grants and individual donations, the Center has raised over $156,000; and has been awarded $151,500 in foundation grants - totaling over $307,500. That is more than three-fourths of the estimated $400,000 needed to install the elevator which includes enclosing the exterior stairs. And two more opportunities are being pursued to complete the fundraising. It has been a long haul and the Center appreciates your continued support and patience as we hopefully get closer to construction.

This week’s Tuesday Night music announcement is for those who don’t know which direction they are going: forward or backwards. See if you can decipher it. .appreciated always are donations ,on lights the keep to and band the pay To .both or pants ,skirt a wear you whether welcome is everyone and ,00:7 at starts music ,00:6 at open Doors .playing be will Boys Simcoe the ,24th May on and ,enjoyment listening and dancing your for music live is there Center the at night Tuesday Every

The popular 50’s and 60’s destination drive-in for teens who were “cruising the gut” in The Dalles was the “Handout” owned by Tom Foley and later by Phil Hammond. (Although I didn’t receive one Hefty Henry with any of the entries, the winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Maxine Parker, Pat Fowler and Bob Thouvenel.)

I fell in love with this actress after watching her in the 1936 movie Camille while I was in college. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the Swedish born film actress, who received three Academy Award nominations for Romance, Camille and Ninotchka and was famously averse to any publicity - best described by her line in the movie Grand Hotel "I want to be alone; I just want to be alone."? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it to the Center with a picture of John Gilbert, the popular leading man of the 20’s and 30’s.

Well, it’s been another week looking for the possibilities in every new day. Until we meet again, it is always harder to turn left than to turn right.

“How can I die? I'm booked.” George Burns

Aging Well in the Gorge May 10th 2016

I have this vague impression I use to be mentally sharp. (But then when I can’t remember what I did four weeks ago, I guess I can imagine my self being anything forty years ago.) But I’ve discovered these days I seem to be living by the “Rule of Three”. I will take the same route three times before I learn to avoid the detour; or I have to follow a new simple office routine three times before I remember to do it automatically. But there are some advantages. I can enjoy watching a TV mystery three times before remembering who killed who. How things have changed. But I’m not going to let it bother me. I’m pretty sure sometime in the future I will be living by the “Rule of Four”, and then five - and who knows what after that.

The Mid-Columbia Senior Center Quilters do more than design and stitch together the beautiful quilts displayed in the Center’s lobby. They also have sewn over forty special one-of-a-kind baby and toddler blankets that make great gifts. In addition, they are available for hire to repair family quilts or complete any unfinished quilts. For more information, you can find the quilters downstairs at the Center every Monday from 10:00 – 3:00 or you can call the Center during those hours.

I wish I could peruse through the old pictures of my classmates and teachers; school clubs and sports teams from when I went to school in Indianapolis – and reawakening forgotten memories by those visual reminders. But if you attended one of The Dalles area schools, you can travel back in time by visiting The Dalles District Archive Museum, now open every Saturday from 10:00 - 3:00. You can find yearbooks, pictures, programs, and much more from local elementary, junior high, and high schools from 1911 to the present. And it is free! You can visit the museum, located at the Wahtonka High School building on 3601 W. 10th Street, by entering the school through the door closest to the athletic fields.  Call Rymmel Lovell at 541-296-6546 or e-mail for high school tours and class reunions scheduled this summer. Donations are always appreciated from school alumni.

The Center relies on volunteers, business supporters and its member to keep the doors open and the floors swept. A particular thank-you to the three hundred ninety-five members (five members in the last week) who have already joined during the Center’s 2016 membership campaign. But the Center is still fifty-five members shy of its goal of four hundred fifty members by the Center’s annual meeting in July. The cost is $35 for a single or $60 for a couple or $50 a person to be Super Duper member. Please join by stopping by the Center or online at

It is that time again to shake up your little gray cells. For this week’s music announcement, I’ll give you a chance to practice your backward reading skills. Start at the end of this paragraph and I’ll meet you back here. .detaicerppa syawla era snoitanoD .neewteb-ni ro tfel ,thgir era uoy rehtehw emoclew si enoyreve ,00:7 ta strats cisum ,00:6 ta nepo srooD .gniyalp eb lliw syoB eocmiS eht ,ht71 yaM no dna ,tnemyojne gninetsil dna gnicnad ruoy rof cisum evil si ereht retneC eht ta thgin yadseuT yrevE

The name of the controversial rock musical that portrayed the hippie counterculture in New York City was Hair. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Bill Van Nice.)

In the Sunday Chronicle, you may have seen the picture of one of the new informational kiosks and bike racks recently installed along Second Street. If you examine closely the kiosk shown in the picture, you will see a photograph from the 1962 The Dalles High School Yearbook of this popular 50’s and 60’s destination for teens “cruising the gut” or just hanging out. What was the name of this popular drive-in? And for bonus points who owned it? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a Hefty Henry and its special sauce.

Well, it’s been another week searching for the questions before I forget the answers. Until we meet again, although we may be over 60, life is far from over.

“Sometimes we can't find the thing that will make us happy, because we can't let go of the thing that was supposed to.”  Robert Brault

Aging Well in the Gorge May 3rd 2016

I dread the day when I have to give up the car keys. (Although I won’t miss the maintenance costs and the insurance payments!) But before I am forced to or worse, before I injure someone, I hope I’ll have the courage to know when the risk is too great and it’s time to let someone else do the driving.  

But how does anyone know when it is time?

AARP has suggested these following questions to help decide when to retire from driving or at least have your driving accessed.

Do you find other drivers honking their horns at you – and they’re not waving to say hi! Do you stop at green lights or brake inappropriately; have trouble making turns, especially left turns; feel confused when exiting a highway or by traffic signs? Do you find yourself easily distracted or have difficulty concentrating? Do you get lost on familiar routes or have trouble remembering where you are going.  Or do you often ask yourself, “Why doesn’t any want to ride with me?!” (Okay, that last question I added. It replaced the question “Do you often forget where you left your car?” which if we answered honestly, half of us wouldn’t be driving.)

Maybe you feel your driving is okay: you’ve modify your driving - no longer driving after dark and staying off the freeways, but you know someone who has stubbornly held on to their car keys way too long. If so, Oregon has an At-Risk Driver Program. You can file a report about an unsafe driver using a Driver Evaluation Request, which you can find at the Center, the DMV office, or can be downloaded at the DMV web site.

But we aren’t talking just about older drivers. Oregon’s at-risk driver criteria are based solely on whether a driver, at any age, has any physical, cognitive or medical limitations that affect their ability to drive a vehicle. A report needs to be specific based upon observed unsafe driving behaviors or medical conditions that may impair a person’s ability to drive safely and not solely because of a person’s age.

You can learn much more about Oregon’s At-Risk Driver Program at the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on May 10th, when Kristopher Kyes, Medical Programs Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation, will be speaking.  

The Dalles Annual Community Clean-up co-sponsored by the City of The Dalles and The Dalles Disposal is on Saturday, May 7th. Residents of The Dalles can dispose of yard debris and unwanted items from 9:00 – 3:00 AM at the old county sheds at the corner of 10th and Walnut using the west entrance on Walnut Street near the 9th Street intersection. Household garbage, tires and hazardous waste will not be accepted at the collection site.

And if you’re a senior who doesn’t have a way to take your unwanted items to the community collection site, you can call Cindy Keever at The Dalles Public Works 541-506-2004 and she will arrange to have someone come and pick up the items.
The Center will be the location for the Relay for Life’s Parking Lot and Bake Sale on Saturday, May 7th from 8:00 – 3:00 PM. There will be goodies of all kinds including clothes, toys, books, and more!

Every Tuesday night at the Center there is live music for your dancing and listening enjoyment, and on May 10th, Martin and Friends will be playing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The young American musician/songwriter and 50’s rebel rocker who recorded "Sittin’ in the Balcony", and "Somethin’ Else" before he died in 1960 at the age of 21 was Eddie Cochran. (And the winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Jim Heitkemper (who still has the record of “Sittin’ in the Balcony”) and Don Hanson.)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, we step back to the bright lights of Broadway when this musical opened forty–eight years ago this week. What was the name of the controversial musical that portrayed the hippie counterculture in New York City and defined the “rock musical”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail your answer with a vinyl soundtrack of the original Broadway cast album.

Well, it’s been another week looking for my scraps of paper with all my to-dos on them. Until we meet again, open up the windows and “Let the Sunshine In”.

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream.” CS Lewis


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