Bingo every Thursday and Saturday Nights. Doors open at 4:00 and games start at 6:00. New players encouraged to arrive by 5:30. Minimum buy-in is $10.

The 4th Annual Mid-Columbia Senior Center Holiday Bazaar will be held on Saturday November 18thfrom 9:00 – 3:00 PM. If you are interested in being a vendor, call the Center at 541-296-4788.

Saturday Holiday Breakfast on December 9th from 8:00 - 9:30 sponsored by Dennis Morgan and Dean Dollarhide.

UPDATED 10.20.17

Aging Well in the Gorge November 14th 2017

Ah, the holidays. A time to enjoy family, tell stories and eat too much. But it can also be a time of worries and stress: how long are my children and grandchildren going to stay; what presents do my grandkids want; and what do I talk about that won’t offend anyone?

Reducing the stress in your life whether during the holidays or for the rest of the year, can be described as “Down Shifting”, the third lesson from the Blue Zones - the name given to the five “longevity hotspots” discovered by Dan Buettner. If you recall, the first two lessons for living longer, healthier, and happier lives are to “move naturally” and have a “purpose”. 

Reducing stress is important because stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. To cope with everyday stress, the inhabitants of the Blue Zones have built into their daily routines ways to reduce stress: praying, enjoying happy hour, or my favorite - taking a short “power” nap.

Here are some additional tips that can help manage stress particularly during the holidays.
1. Reach out. If you need help, ask for it. Friends can provide support and companionship during stressful times. 2. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect. At our age who are we trying to impress? And I always figure someone has to lower the bar, so others can raise it later. 3. Set aside differences. Holidays are a time to come together - not to be pulled apart. If you hear irritating opinions, just listen this time. You will be better prepared for when you can tell them later how nuts they are. 4. Plan ahead. To avoid the last-minute panic, plan your shopping, cooking and visiting. It can give you a feeling of control – even though control may just be an illusion.
5. Take care of yourself. Learn to say no. Eat well, get enough sleep, and keep moving.

The holidays are to be enjoyed - not a time to worry. Benjamin Franklin had the right attitude when he said “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

The Center still has a few seats available for the matinee performance of the Singing Christmas Tree in Portland on Sunday, November 26th. The cost is only $75 which includes transportation. Call the Center to purchase your tickets.

The Holiday Bazaar season has started and this Saturday, you can shop for your Christmas gifts at the St. Peter’s 39th Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s Academy and across 10th street at the Center’s Annual Holiday Bazaar. I can almost guarantee you will find something you like.

It is exciting to hear that the first phase of the Civic Auditorium’s theater renovation has been completed including updating the ceiling and walls, installing the HVAC systems, and re-installing seating for approximately 400 people.

The next phase is restoring the lobby. Towards that end, the Civic has received a significant pledge from an anonymous donor but is looking for donations to match it. This season consider giving to the Civic Auditorium - the place “Where It Happens”.  

And speaking of happenings, the Trail Band will be returning to the Civic Auditorium for their annual Christmas concert on Monday, December 11th. Tickets are $25 which can be purchased at Klindt’s Booksellers, the Civic or online at

The name of the television spy series starring Robert Vaughan as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin was the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement). (I received correct answers from Diana Weston, Jerry Phillips, Jim Ayers, Sandy Haechrel, Don McAllister and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Tiiu Vahtel.)

Throughout the history of pop music there have been “novelty” songs - from Ray Steven’s “Gitarzan” to Weird Al" Yankovic’s “Eat It”. This week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1958 novelty song. When a young man couldn’t get a woman to return his love for her, who taught him to say the magic words “Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bang bang”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording by the Chipmunks.

Well, it’s been another week, preparing for the coming holidays. Until we meet again, as Helen Lynch recently told me, “Keep your feet and mind going”.

“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” Doug Larson

Aging Well in the Gorge November 7th 2017

During the holidays, when you are spending time with family, it can often be frustrating trying to follow the conversations if you have hearing loss. Having poor hearing myself, I find it hard enough listening to my wife at home with no distractions. But she also knows the frustration and can get, should I say, a little irritated when I ask her to repeat herself for the 10th time. (Actually, it never gets that far - after the third time it usually is a loud “Never mind!”.)

But I have found some tips that can help improve communication when talking with someone with hearing loss.

The first are common sense: do not talk from another room; speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting; pause between sentences or phrases; and keep your hands away from your face while talking.

But here are five tips you may not have thought of.

1. Say the person's name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus at the beginning of the conversation. 2. Tell the hearing-impaired person if the topic has changed. 3. Don’t just repeat over and over. Instead try to find a different way of saying the same thing. 4. If you are giving specific information -- such as a phone number have them repeat the specifics back to you. Many numbers and words sound alike. 5. Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. (To avoid embarrassment, I often just smile and nod if I don’t understand.)

Also try to minimize extraneous background noise when talking. But if a noisy situation is unavoidable, like in a restaurant, consider the following: have the person with hearing loss sit with their back to a wall, avoid sitting near the kitchen and bar area, and if possible sit in a booth.

And finally, be patient. Hearing aids greatly improve the ability to hear but it doesn’t return the user’s hearing back to normal. They may hear the sounds but not understand the words. Or as I often tell my wife, “I heard you say something, but I have no clue what it was”.  

The Center’s Wednesday Lecture on Nov. 8th, at 11:00 will feature Rod Runyon who will share his experiences and the touching stories he heard while participating in the ten-day, 2,600 mile “Run for the Wall” motorcycle ride to honor military families. It will be a fascinating presentation.

National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner identified five “longevity hotspots” in the world where the inhabitants live much longer than expected. By investigating the lifestyles of the inhabitants of these Blue Zones, nine lessons have been identified to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

The first is to “Move Naturally” which I described last week. The second lesson is to have a “Purpose” – your reason for waking up in the morning. There is evidence that knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

Sometime early next year the local Blue Zones Project with be conducting Purpose Workshops. Each workshop is a two-hour facilitated process to identify your gifts, talents, passions, and personal values to help you live a more fulfilled and intentional life with purpose. Until then, what are your reasons for getting out of bed on a cold autumn morning - besides a hot breakfast!

The player who was nicknamed “Mr. October” because of his baseball heroics in October (as when he hit three consecutive home runs in the clinching game six of the 1977 World Series) was Reggie Jackson. (I received correct answers from baseball aficionados Don McAllister, Jerry Philips, Jesse Birge, Jim Ayers, and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Vince Zanobelli.)

This television series ran from 1964 through 1968 and led the spy-fiction craze on television. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television spy series that involved the two-man team of Napoleon Solo and the Russian Illya Kuryakin working for multi-national secret intelligence agency? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of the show’s pilot originally titled Ian Fleming’s Solo.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the cycle of the seasons. Until we meet again, don’t let the blues be the only color in your life.

“One is never wounded by the love one gives; only by the love one expects.” Marty Rubin

Aging Well in the Gorge October 31st 2017

The winter holidays are fast approaching: a joyful time to spend with family and to cherish and share all the holiday memories. But if you have lost a loved one with years of special memories, the holidays can accentuate the grief you may already be experiencing. Grief is very personal and there is no right or wrong way to experience it, no matter what well-intentioned advice you may hear. And as you navigate your way through the healing process, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

There are several bereavement groups in the area, one of which meets at the Center on the first Tuesday of every month starting at 9:00 am. It is open to anyone, you just need to show up. During the November meeting on the 7th there will be a discussion of experiencing grief during the holidays.

The Center has purchased 12 tickets to see the Singing Christmas Tree for the 2:00 matinee performance on Sunday, November 26th. It is back at the Keller Auditorium in Portland where we have good seats on the orchestra level and in the balcony. The cost is $75 which includes the transportation, so you don’t have to worry about driving through downtown Portland. Everyone who has seen the Singing Christmas Tree in the past has raved about the performances. The tickets should go fast, so call the Center ASAP.

Last week I discussed the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles and the “Power of 9”: nine actions you can take to live a longer, healthier, and happier life. But I did not list them, and instead asked you to think about what they could be. Could you think of nine?
Well, we’ll see how well you did over the next nine weeks starting with the first of the “Power of 9”: Move Naturally. This is usually the first on everyone’s list, but usually mentioned as exercise such as walking, spending time in the weight room or the gym. But to move naturally is a bit more nuanced.

The inhabitants in the Blue Zones don’t necessarily think about moving. They just do it as part of their everyday lives - such as gardening or riding their bicycles to get around. And they don’t have all the modern conveniences that we see today as making life easier. So what can you incorporate in your everyday activities that provides more opportunities to keep moving naturally?

If you enjoy making and selling items for the holidays, there are still spaces available for additional vendors at the Center’s 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 18th. If you are interested, call the Center to sign up.

In 1957, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York. And how did they acquire the nickname Dodgers? At one time they were called the Trolley Dodgers, which was then shortened to Dodgers, because in the 1890’s when the electric trolley cars was first introduce, they proved much more dangerous than the horse drawn streetcars they replaced resulting in 51 deaths in 1883. And if you think it strange to be known for dodging trolleys, they were also called the Bridegrooms from 1888 through 1898.

(I received correct answers from Diana Weston, Ron Nelson, Sandy Haechrel, and Jerry Phillips, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And once again I was reminded I forgot someone last week: this time Sandy Haechrel who also receives a free quilt raffle ticket for my forgetfulness.)

One last baseball question to celebrate this year’s amazing World Series. Now that the baseball season has been extended through the month of October, there have been several players who have come through in the clutch during this critical month. One of those players was nicknamed ”Mr. October”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the player nicknamed “Mr. October” by catcher Thurman Munson? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a number 44 New York Yankee’s jersey.

Well, it’s been another week, always looking for the car in the parking lot. Until we meet again, don’t worry about what you can’t control, but focus on what you can.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’” Hunter S. Thompson

Aging Well in the Gorge October 24th 2017

Why do people in some regions of the world live seven to twelve years longer than would be expected? That is the question that has driven National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner to search for the lessons learned from these “longevity hotspots” in order to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

It started with the demographic work by Gianni Pes and Michel who identified Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean near Italy, as the region of the world with the highest concentration of male centenarians. On a map, Pes and Poulain drew blue circles around those villages of extreme longevity and began to refer to the areas inside the circles as “Blue Zones.”

Dan Buettner took the concept of “Blue Zones” further, identifying four other parts of the world with exceptional longevity including Loma Linda in California. Dan and his team of researchers studied those areas and found nine evidence-based common behaviors of the inhabitants which they called the “Power of 9”.

But what about genetics? Your genes do have an influence, but only between 20 - 30% variation in life span is due to genetics. The rest is due to environmental factors and lifestyle choices.  

Last Wednesday, Brett Ratchford from The Dalles Blue Zone Project team spoke at the Center about how the project team was working with community partners to use the lessons from the Blue Zones to improve the health and well-being of everyone in The Dalles. It is a three-year effort and right now they are just starting. But by January you should be hearing more about their work to make healthy choices easier so we can all enjoy more “years in our life and life in our years”.

You may have noticed I haven’t listed the nine common behaviors of the “Power of 9”. In the coming weeks, I will describe each of them, but until then what do you think are the nine behaviors for living a longer, healthier, and happier life?

As you may have read, the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG) is divesting itself of the programs they administer. That includes the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which provides valuable services for older adults in the five-county region of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties.

Because of MCCOG’s action, the State Unit on Aging, is now responsible for identifying a new administrative home for the AAA. To that end, the State Unit on Aging will be holding public meetings in all five counties to hear what the communities would like to see in a new AAA. In Wasco County, the meeting will be held at the Center on Tuesday, October 31st at 1:00 pm. (If you need transportation, you can call 541-298-4101.) And in Sherman County the public meeting will be held at the Sherman County Senior & Community Center in Moro on Friday, November 3rd at 12:00 pm.
The Center’s 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar will be on Saturday November 18th. There is still room for additional vendors, and if you are interested call the Center. And on the same day is the St. Peter’s 39th Annual Holiday Bazaar which will be held across the street from the Center at St. Mary’s Academy. This gives you a chance to check out two bazaars within walking distance for your holiday gifts.

The pant style from the 60’s when the legs of a pair of store bought pants were cut and sewn so they would be skin tight were called “pegged” pants. (I received correct answers from Diana Weston, and Deloris Schrader this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And a raffle ticket also goes to Rhonda Austin who I forgot to mention last week.)

Since the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros begins this week, I must ask a baseball question for all the baseball fans in the audience. In 1957, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. For this week’s “Remember When” question, where did they move from? And for bonus points, why are they called the Dodgers? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of Ebbets Field.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to get use to the darker mornings. Until we meet again, it’s never too late to try something new - but don’t expect it to be easy.

 “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Aging Well in the Gorge October 17th 2017

Do you care for a loved one? Maybe you help with their grocery shopping, house cleaning, medications or provide emotional support. Or maybe you are a 24/7 caregiver caring for a spouse with advanced dementia or a serious chronic condition, assisting with their personal care and daily activities.

If you are caring for someone and are not paid, you are one of approximately 34.2 million family caregivers in America who provide unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. To acknowledge the importance of caregivers and their invaluable contribution to our communities, November has been designated National Family Caregivers Month.

In conjunction with National Family Caregivers Month, there is going to be the first ever gorge wide Caregiver Appreciation Day. It will be held on Saturday, November 4th from 10:00 – 4:00 at The Hood River Valley Adult Center (2010 Sterling Place, Hood River). It is free to all unpaid caregivers in the Gorge, and respite care for a loved one will be available. (Screening required.)

The event will start with opportunities for caregivers to pamper themselves: massage, acupuncture, and self-care workshops, followed by lunch with keynote speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom, geriatrician at OHSU and co-author of The Gift of Caring. Then in the afternoon there will be educational sessions.

If you are an unpaid caregiver or know of anyone who is, you can register by going to the registration site at Or if you are unable to register online, contact either Melissa at 541-298-4101 ext. 1005, or Britta at 541-298-4101 ext. 1007 at the Area Agency on Aging. This event is organized by the Area Agency on Aging, Providence Volunteers-in-Action, Hood River Valley Adult Center and sponsored by many local organizations and businesses.

Caregiving is rewarding, but also demanding. Here are ten tips from the Caregiver Action Network to help caregivers care for themselves while caring for another.

1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone! 2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one. 3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. 4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors. 5. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one. 6. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it. 7. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often. 8. Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find. 9. Make sure legal
documents are in order. 10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

What is this Blue Zone Project that has come to The Dalles? And why are the zones called blue? If you would like to learn more about the local Blue Zones project and the 9 components of living a longer, healthier, and happier life, you are invited to attend the Wednesday Lecture at the Center on October 18th from 11:00 – 12:00.

The name of the television show that aired on NBC from 1950 – 1959 and featured versions of the top songs in America was “Your Hit Parade”. (I received correct answers from Jim AYERS, Don McAllister, and she who does not want to be mentioned. But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Tiiu Vahtel - who can still remembers the closing song.)

Fashion is a funny business with fashion trends recycling through time. Today you see all ages of people wearing skinny pants thanks to the new elastic materials. But back in my high school days, skinny pants were also the “cool” thing to wear. And since I couldn’t find them in the stores, I had to beg my mom to sew the pant legs so skin tight I could barely push my feet through them. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was this style of pants called? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of yourself wearing this kind of pants.  

Well, it’s been another week, wondering what good news will come next. Until we meet again, as anonymous once said, “Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change.”

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” Hank Aaron

Aging Well in the Gorge October 10th 2017

As we age we encounter many different life stages. In August, I mentioned three stages when planning your retirement described by George H. Schofield, Ph.D.: New Freedom, New Horizons, and New Simplicity.

But there is another stage many of us will reach that isn’t as appealing. A time when the mind may be willing but the body isn’t; and your world seems to shrink and your options appear to evaporate. This stage can seem so scary, we often ignore it and avoid preparing for that time when we must make some very difficult decisions.

In an article for Next Avenue, Debbie Reslock urges us to understand what we fear so we can take responsibility for our lives and discover options that alleviate those fears, so we can make decisions that create a future we can accept and enjoy. And to do it before someone else makes those decisions for us.

There are three aging decisions she thinks we should start considering.

Continue to drive or hang up the keys? Most of us fear the day we can no longer drive. Ever since we were young, the car was a sign of our independence: our ability to be in control of our lives. We don’t want to lose that independence and become a burden for someone else. 

Stay in your home or move? Your home may now be more than you can handle, but it is familiar and full of memories. Do you modify your home, move into an accessible apartment, a retirement or assisted living community or move near your children?

Continue caring for yourself or ask for help? Struggling with daily life on your own not only presents challenges as we age but can contribute to depression and isolation. But no longer being self-reliant is hard to accept.

These are difficult decisions and the answers are unique for each individual. But it is not too early to be proactive. Start imaging your future life while understanding all the options and consequences, so if you do have to give something up, you can do it on your own terms. Because the ultimate loss of independence is when others, often well-intentioned, start making decisions for you.

Now that the elevator is running up and down, we have started straightening up around the Center and have found there is stuff that the Center really doesn’t need or have room to store. So, on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00 – 1:00, there will be a “house cleaning” sale downstairs that will include file cabinets, bookcases, motorized scooters (without batteries), lift chair, and miscellaneous odds and ends.

The next AARP Smart Driver Course will be held at the Center on October 16 and 17 from 8:45 am to 12:05 pm on both days. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP Members. Call the Center at 541-296-4788 to sign-up. And at the class, you can enroll in a free 20-minute CarFit Safety event that will follow the class.

The title of the instrumental recording composed by David Rose that reached #1 in 1962 (and whenever you hear it you want to start gyrating and throwing your clothes off!) is “The Stripper”. (I received correct answers from Jim Ayres, Diana Weston and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Marcia Lacock.)

I have a faint memory of wanting to watch this television show so I could hear the week’s most popular songs – although I was always disappointed when the original artists didn’t perform. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television show that aired on NBC from 1950 – 1959, sponsored by Lucky Strikes, and featured versions of the top songs in America. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a group picture of Snooky Lanson, Russell Arms, Dorothy Collins, and Gisèle MacKenzie.

Well, it’s been another week, wishing and hoping. Until we meet again, don’t let doubt keep you from living. 

“What you eat today walks and talks tomorrow.” Esther Blumenfeld

Aging Well in the Gorge October 3rd 2017

How do you know it’s the end of summer? The leaves falling? The cooler mornings? The football hysteria? No, it’s a mailbox full of solicitations from Medicare insurance plans.

And why? Because October 15th is the start of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period. Since each year the insurance companies can adjust their Medicare plans, the Open Enrollment period gives you a chance to decide if your Medicare plan is still the best option for you or if it’s time to switch to another plan.

To help decide, you should take time to review the “Annual Notice of Change” which describes any changes in your current plan for next year and which you should have received by now. Then ask yourself the big three Medicare questions. Does your plan allow you to go to the providers you want including your pharmacy? Are your prescription drugs covered? And how much does the plan cost?

Even if you are satisfied with your current plan, you still may want to look around to see if there is a better deal, especially if you have avoided the hassle of comparing plans over the past several years and just opted to automatically renew your current plan.

Choosing the right Medicare plan can be frustrating, perplexing and downright confusing. But all health insurance is complicated. Before I was enrolled in Medicare, I relied upon my employer or insurance agent - insulating me from the complexity of choosing a health insurance plan.

But there are many places where you can find help. You can visit and use the Medicare Plan Finder; study the “Medicare & You” handbook; call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) where help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends; or visit the Oregon SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) website. If you’d rather talk to someone face to face, you can meet with a private insurance broker who specialize in Medicare, or you can call the Center and make an appointment with a trained impartial SHIBA volunteer who will help guide you through the process.

In the meantime, if you want to better understand the ins and outs of Medicare Part A, B, C, and D; Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans; and all the timelines and deadlines, you are invited to attend a Medicare 101 class at CGCC’s The Dalles Campus, on Thursday, October 12th from 1:00 – 3:00. The class is free but seats are limited. Call 541-308-8211 to register or register online at

Tomorrow’s 11:00 Wednesday Lecture at the Center will feature Marylyn Urness discussing the fascinating history of the Chinese community in The Dalles as detailed in her book “Chinatown”. Last May, Marilyn spoke at the annual Wasco County Pioneer Association meeting and her presentation was so impressive we invited her to speak at the Center.

Then at 11:00 on October 11th, Colleena Tenold Sauter from the local Aging and People with Disabilities office will provide an overview of the many services her office provides including elder abuse prevention and investigations, caregiver support, food assistance and long-term care for those who qualify.

Last Wednesday, Kerry Cobb, executive director of the Columbia Center for the Arts, gave a very enlightening presentation on the life and work of five female artists. Fortunately, she will be back at the Center on October 11th at 1:00 to direct a table read of several humorous one-act plays about older adults. There is still room for several more readers. If you are interested, call the Center to sign up.

The popular music pianist and top selling piano recording artist known for his 1955 recording of "Autumn Leaves” was Roger Williams. (I received correct answers from Betsy Ayres, Jeannie Pesicka and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Pat Foster.)

During some reminiscing at the Center with Jeanne Pesicka, this easily recognizable song, which I hadn’t thought of for decades, came to mind. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of the instrumental recording composed by David Rose, that reached number one on Billboard's Top 100 in 1962 and is often associated with the entertainment at a bachelor party? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of Gypsy Rose Lee.

Well, it’s been another week, watching the leaves dance down the street. Until we meet again, keep up the good work. 

“Here is the test to find whether you mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach

Aging Well in the Gorge September 26th 2017

Seeing a doctor today is not the same as back in the Dr. Welby days – which is not surprising with new medical treatments, increased focus on health outcomes, more doctors retiring than graduating, and longer life spans so there are more of us older folks.

Today communication with your doctor is no longer a one-way street: the doctor giving directions and you following them. Now it is more a partnership, working as a team so you receive the best possible medical care to keep you healthy.

But good communication is critically important and is particularly true for older adults. We often have more serious health conditions and treatments to discuss, affecting more aspects of our lives. If your doctor doesn’t know what you are experiencing, how is she going to treat you effectively. And if you don’t understand the how’s, what’s and why’s of your diagnosis and treatment, how are you going to implement the doctor’s orders.  

But how do you make the most of an appointment with your doctor?

In an earlier column, I’ve explained how to prepare for your doctor’s appointment: prioritize a list of your concerns, plan to update your doctor of any health changes, take pertinent information with you such a list of your medications, and consider bringing another set of ears.

But how best can you use the time with your doctor? Here are a few tips provided by the National Institute on Aging.

1.) Be honest. Don’t just say what you want the doctor to hear - that you have been exercising even when you haven’t. Tell it like it is so she will have accurate information for her diagnosis and treatment.
2.) Decide which three or four questions you’ll ask and state them at the beginning of the appointment so they aren’t overlooked.
3.) Stick to the point. I always enjoy the friendly small-town chats. But keep it short and get to the reason you are there by briefly stating your symptoms, when they started, how often they happen and if they are getting worse or better.
4.) Share your feelings about the visit. Tell your doctor if you feel rushed, worried, or uncomfortable. If you are confused, ask your doctor to clarify. If you are worried about your condition, and would like to talk more ask her for more time or schedule another appointment.

Remember the doctor patient relationship is more a partnership these days, and it is important that you ask questions and stay informed about your medical care. And even though the best doctors may not have all the answers to your questions, they still may be able to help you find more information or refer you to a specialist. But if a doctor keeps brushing off your questions and symptoms as simply a part of aging, you might want to look for another doctor.

You can learn more by picking up a copy of the National Institute on Aging’s “A Guide for Older People – Talking with Your Doctor” at the Center or you can go to their website

I know many of you are not carrying around your daily planner - so that you won’t forget, here is your last-minute reminder. Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 27th at 1:00, Kerry Cobb, executive director of the Columbia Center for the Arts, will be discussing the “Life and Art of Five Famous Female Artists”.

I didn’t receive any correct answers last week although several folks thought it was Burma Shave - known for its rhyming road signs. But the name of the shaving cream popular with soldiers during WWII and packaged in a distinctive red, white and blue stripes design mimicking a barber’s pole was Barbasol.

Billboard magazine ranks this American popular music pianist as the top selling piano recording artist in history with 18 gold and platinum albums to his credit.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the professional name of this entertainer who in 1955 recorded "Autumn Leaves", the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on Billboard's popular music chart, as well as “Born Free” in 1966? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with the name of the founder of Rhode Island.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the cool mornings. Until we meet again, a complaint is just a wish in disguise.  

“If you keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it’s just possible you haven’t grasped the situation.” Jean Kerr, writer

Aging Well in the Gorge September 19th 2017

This last week has felt like too many long nights in a smoky bar that you just want to forget. Each morning I would wake up and wonder, “Will I be able to see the Klickitats today?” (And who would have thought the air quality would be so bad it would close school.) But after these weeks of smoky air, I am at least better informed and prepared.

For instance, I now know the type of mask to purchase (N95 respirator mask) and that it needs to fit properly to be effective. (Breathing through the mask requires greater effort and may feel uncomfortable. But if you find it easy to breathe with the mask on, you are probably breathing the unfiltered air entering around the edges of the mask.)  I now know I can go to the website to find the latest air quality index for The Dalles (or any other major city in the world) to confirm that the air quality is as bad as I think it is. And I now know that the North Central Public Health District can lend portable air purifiers which were recently set up at the Center.

But enough of these lessons learned. Hopefully this week’s anticipated rain will end this year’s fire season and cleanse the air of the unhealthy smoke that has lingered around too long. And we can put on our sweaters and coats and enjoy a sunny autumn before winter comes.  

I’ve been hearing that Pickleball (which combines elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis) is the rage in town - as well as across the country. Tim McGlothlin has been promoting the sport - and paid the price when he forgot he wasn’t the young man he once was. But a little encounter with the bleachers hasn’t stopped him from leading several CGCC Community Education Pickleball classes at the Readiness Center starting September 28th and continuing for 12 weeks. The beginning Pickleball class is from 5:00 – 7:00 on Thursday nights. And on the same nights there are also two sessions of Competitive Pickleball for intermediate and advanced players: 3:00 – 5:00 or 7:00 – 9:00. The total cost is $44 for either class. You can find more information on page 24 in the CGCC Fall Class Schedule that you received in the mail. You can register online or call CGCC at 541-506-6011.

Besides pickleball, there are other Community Education classes you may find worthwhile including Medicare 101 from 1:00 – 3:00 on October 10th, or Social Security 101 from 1:00 – 3:00 on November 8th - which are both free. Or even Beginning Photography which teaches how to use a smartphone or other inexpensive camera to take great pictures. This 10-week class starts on September 27th and costs $69.

For several years, the Center has scheduled northwest vocalist and crowd favorite Nehemiah Brown to perform two Friday nights a year. But this time we have scheduled Nehemiah to perform this Friday, September 22nd from 11:30 to 1:30 during the Meals-on-Wheel noon dinner. There is no admission charge for the performance; we only ask that you buy the dinner for a suggested donation of $3.75 for anyone 60 an older or $5.50 for everyone else. Nehemiah’s performance is sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center that provides a continuum of care bridging the gap between hospital and home whether it is short-term rehabilitation or long-term care.

In 1958 the American vocal group that recorded the number one hit “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” was the Platters. (I receive correct answers from Sandy Haechrel and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Betsy Ayres.)

While browsing through the online version of my hometown newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, I came across an article about one of Indy’s own who invented a shaving cream used by millions. It was first sold as a white cream that came in tubes and during WWII was a staple item in post exchanges and military ration kits. What was the name of this shaving cream that gave you a “smooth, cool, clean, shave with no rubbing, no lather, no brush and no hot water”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording by “Singin’ Sam”.

Well, it’s been another week, wandering and wondering. Until we meet again, as my dad always said, “Tomorrow is another day”.

“Some days you’re a bug. Somedays you’re a windshield.” Price Cobb, race car driver

Aging Well in the Gorge September 12th 2017

Improving your brain’s performance is a hot topic these days. And you probably have heard various recommendations to improve your memory from drinking a glass of red wine to watching your grandkids (as long as you don’t do it every day!)  

But at the top of every list is the recommendation to give your brain a daily workout. Last week I shared some Brain Teasers to test your out-of-the-box thinking. But this week’s assignment will test your working memory: the ability to keep information stored for a short period while using the information. But they aren’t easy. And you may find them frustrating because you must really concentrate. So get that glass of wine, send the grandkids home, and see if you can master these mental tests.

1. Say the days of the week back­wards, then in alphabetical order. 2. Say the months of the year in alphabetical order. Now back­wards, in reverse alphabetical order. 3. Find the sum of your date of birth, mm/dd/yyyy. 4. Name two objects for every letter in your first name. Work up to five objects, trying to use different items each time. 5. Look around wherever you are and, within two minutes, try to find 5 red things that will fit in your pockets, and 5 blue objects that are too big to fit.

And as I promised, here are the answers to last week’s brain teasers.

1.) Which word in the dictionary is spelled incorrectly? Answer: Incorrectly. 2.) A girl who was just learning to drive went down a one-way street in the wrong direction, but didn’t break the law. How is that possible? Answer: She was walking. 3. Imagine you are in a dark room. How do you get out? Answer: Stop imagining. 3.) Mom and Dad have four daughters, and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the family? Answer: Seven. 4) While some months have just 30 days, others have 31 days. How many months have 28 days? Answer: All twelve months. 5) How many times can you subtract 5 from 25? Answer: Just once.

Have you wanted to learn more about the how, when and where of public transportation options in The Dalles? For the Center’s Wednesday 11:00 Lecture on September 20th, a representative from LINK will discuss public transportation options including the door-to-door service in The Dalles and the fixed route service to and from Portland.

If you enjoy the creative arts, the Center will be hosting two presentations provided by the Columbia Center for the Arts (CCA). The first is “Five Famous Female Artists” – a visual presentation covering the life and art of five famous female artists and will be held on September 27th at 1:00.

The second is a One-Act Plays Table Reading - a table read of several humorous one-act plays written specifically for older adults and will be held on October 11th at 1:00. This one is limited to 6-8 people, so you will need to call the Center to reserve your place. Both presentations will be led by Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of CCA.

The Beach Boy album released in 1966 and ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the second greatest album of all time was Pet Sounds. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Sandy Haechrel.)

This last week, when I felt like I was sitting on the wrong side of a campfire, you may have been thinking of the song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” - a show tune written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for their 1933 musical Roberta. Since then it has been recorded by many artists including Paul Whiteman, Irene Dunn, and Nat King Cole. But the most remembered recording was released in 1958 when the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 music chart. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the American vocal group that recorded “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” in 1958? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a 3M Cool Flow N95 respirator mask.

Well, it’s been another week, wishing and hoping. Until we meet again, “be the person your dog thinks you are”.

“If you hear of someone speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself, you should say, “He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.” Epictetus, philosopher

Aging Well in the Gorge September 5th 2017

At our age, its common to worry when you can’t remember a name or you can’t find that word on the tip of your tongue. When that happens, I often ask myself, is this just normal for my age? Or am I in the early stages of dementia? And then the more I worry, the more I seem to forget!

To relieve my anxiety, I found an article by Dr. Mike Davis who gives the following three examples demonstrating the distinctions between normal memory loss and dementia.1.) Misplacing keys is normal; forgetting what they are for is dementia. 2.) Forgetting a person's name is normal; but not remembering knowing the person is not. 3.) Forgetting to turn into a familiar street is normal; becoming easily disoriented or lost in familiar places for hours is not.”

Good. I don’t need to worry. I often misplace my keys, but I do know what they are for. I seem to have a harder time remembering names, but they eventually come to me. And when I’m in a hurry, there are times I do turn down the wrong street, but so far, I’ve always found my way home.

But then I read the next sentence. “These lines are distinct for most of us, BUT in early dementia patients, it can be tricky to tell.”

Now what the heck does that mean, tricky to tell?  Could my forgetfulness seem normal, but because of some subtle signs, I could unknowingly be in the early stages of dementia? Should I still be worrying?

It does give me pause. But there is one sign that gives me hope. I figure as long as I can spell Alzheimer’s without looking it up, I’m okay.

If you want to learn more about brain health, join the Brain Fitness Club which returns at 1:00 on September 18th showing the online video series: How to Improve Your Brain Health.

In this series renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Wendy Suzuki, will show how the brain and memory works through a mix of personal stories and solid brain science. There will also be simple, specific activities to make your brain stronger and potentially even make your life better.

But why wait till then. Here are a few brain teasers to rattle your noggin’. I’ll share the answers next week.

1.) Which word in the dictionary is spelled incorrectly? 2.) A girl who was just learning to drive went down a one-way street in the wrong direction, but didn’t break the law. How is that possible? 3. Imagine you are in a dark room. How do you get out? 3.) Mom and Dad have four daughters, and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the family? 4) While some months have just 30 days, others have 31 days. How many months have 28 days? 5) How many times can you subtract 5 from 25?

And remember when challenging your brain, it is not so much getting the correct answer, as it is the effort you put into trying to solve the problems. 

The name of the college Mike, Mark, Zonker, and B.D attended was Waldon College which was modeled after Yale - the school Gary Trudeau attended from 1966 through 1970. (I received correct entries from Bob and Sandy Haechrel who both win one half of a quilt raffle ticket.)

During my high school days in Indianapolis, I remember buying the Beach Boy’s “I Get Around” and dreaming I had a surf board on the top of my “Woodie” and was headed to the sandy ocean beaches – even though there wasn’t an ocean wave within a thousand miles. Today, Brian Wilson the genius behind the Beach Boys, at the age of 75 is on a world tour recreating on stage the sounds from their acclaimed eleventh studio album which included the hit “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this Beach Boy album released in 1966 and ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the second greatest album of all time? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of goats being fed at the San Diego Zoo.

Well, it’s been another week, thinking that I think I can. Until we meet again, find time to add a little spark to your daily routine.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” Robert Frost

Aging Well in the Gorge August 29th 2017

What will it be like living past 50 through old age? For those of you who find 50 a faint distant memory, you already know. But for those of you who are still transitioning through this period in your life, what’s it been like? One distinct period following a familiar and expected roadmap? Or a time of zigs and zags; stops and starts following no particular script?
George H. Schofield, Ph.D. in his book How Do I Get There From Here? Planning for Retirement When the Old Rules No Longer Apply describes three overlapping life stages between 50 and old age that are not defined by age, but defined by the life situations each person experiences. By knowing these life stages, Schofield believes it can make it easier to deal with the expected and unexpected changes that will undoubtedly occur.

The first stage is New Freedom. Often this stage starts when you become an “empty nester”: the kids have moved out, and you have extra time, now that your life no longer revolve around the kids.

Or you have been at your job for some time and have met most of your career goals. You then begin to realize there is more to life than your career, triggering a reevaluation of your life’s priorities. But it can be disorienting and confusing, not knowing what to do with the extra discretionary time.

The second stage is New Horizons. You start feeling comfortable with the new freedom, and begin to realize what you want to do with the extra time by learning more about yourself. What are you curious about? What do you want to learn? What do you want to be good at during this stage in your life? It could be starting a new career, working part-time doing something you truly enjoy or acquiring a new hobby.

The third and final stage is New Simplicity. You’re tired of all the competing demands and have decided you no longer want to or no longer can handle all the complications in your life. It is just too much: too much house, too much yard, too much clutter, too many volunteer commitments, and too many dreams and goals that will never be realized. You start to take time to scale back.

Have you experienced any, or all of these stages? Possibly by knowing these three stages, it can help you navigate through this period in your life between 50 and old age, so you can be that pioneer discovering your own future.

A reminder for the free Cascadia Mobile Legal Clinic coming to the Center on September 12th and 13th. Although walk-ins are welcome, it would be best to call 503-444-3449 to make an appointment. You can find more information at their website,

After the summer break, several of the Center’s classes will be returning in September. The first will be the Wednesday Lectures (formally known as the Tuesday lectures). The lectures will cover a wide range of topics from local history to services for older adults. The first lecture will be Wednesday, September 6th starting at 11:00 with Linda Stahl providing a preview of the exciting MCMC Fall lecture series.

Marvel Comics’ first superhero team which debuted in 1961 and included Mister Fantastic, Invisible Women, Human Torch and the Thing was the Fantastic Four. (Although I’m sure everyone has heard of Marvel Comics, no one sent in the correct name of the superhero team. But this week’s question should be easier especially for the boomers in the crowd.)

Debuted as a daily comic strip in 1970, Doonesbury was the first daily comic strip to win a Pulitzer prize in 1975 for editorial cartooning. (Many newspapers considered it too political and moved it from the comic page to the editorial page.) Doonesbury followed the lives of various characters including Mike, Mark, Zonker, and B.D. who all lived on a commune while attending college. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the college they attended and for extra points, what Ivy League school was it modeled after? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Jane Pauley’s husband.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to tip-toe across the stage without being noticed. Until we meet again, even in doubt, there is a time to act.

“There are three stages of life: youth, maturity, and “My, you’re looking good!” Dwight David Eisenhower

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