Aging Well in the Gorge February 28th 2017

Sometimes it’s just nice just to get away for a day to explore and experience new places. The problem is that to go by yourself or to drive is often no fun. But the Center’s day trips offer the opportunity to get out of town with good company, while letting someone else do the driving.

The Center is again working on scheduling trips for this spring and summer, and would like to know if you are interested in any of the following ten possible trips: 
Sternwheeler cruise from Cascade Locks to The Dalles; 
the High Desert Museum in Bend; 
lunch at Hotel Condon; 
the Alder Creek Pioneer Carousel Museum with lunch at the Bluebird Inn, the oldest tavern in Washington, in Bickleton, Washington; 
The Wall That Heals – the touring 250 foot replica of Vietnam Veteran's Memorial stopping in Goldendale in September; 
a tour of several Gorge wineries; 
the Chinese Gardens;
and the Japanese Gardens in Portland, 
as well as two musicals coming to Portland: Jersey Boys and An American in Paris.

If you are interested in any of these trips or want more information, call the Center or visit and look under the tab Day Trips.

As you may have read in the Chronicle’s front page article by Mark Gibson, the Center has met its fundraising goal of $400,000 with Dave Griffith Motors and Toyota taking us over the top. Thanks to ALL of you for contributing so the downstairs can be accessible to everyone.

And construction keeps moving ahead. Next Monday, March 6th, the roof trusses will arrive and put in place to cover the new addition in front of the Center. Consequently, there will be NO activities or meals served at the Center on that Monday. The front entrance will be closed, and parking will be limited. If you have Center business, please use the 10th street side entrance to the Deschutes Room.

On Friday, March 3rd, the Center will be open, but between 1:30 and 5:00 you will also need to use the 10th street side entrance. During that time the current roof covering the walkway to the Center’s front door will be removed.

But everything will be picked up by 5:00, so you will be able to see Nehemiah Brown performing at the Center from 7:00 – 9:00 on Friday, March 3rd. Nehemiah sings a wide range of music from pop standards to gospel, and has received rave review from folks who have heard him. Because of The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center’s sponsorship, tickets are only $3 per person - which is a good price for a nice evening of entertainment.

I’m looking for another band to play at the Center on the first Tuesday night of each month. As of now, I don’t have a band for the 7th, but I’ll keep looking.
The 1968 Beatle’s song that included the lyrics, “… don’t make it bad/ Take a sad song and make it better/ Remember to let her into your heart/ Then you can start to make it betterwas “Hey, Jude” written by Paul McCartney. ( I received correct answers from Sandy and Bob Haechrel, Tina Castanares, Marcia Lacock and Sue Ortega who is this week’s randomly drawn winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.)

This week I’m concluding a month of song lyrics with one more song from the 60’s -  specifically the summer of 1967. (Wow, I keep forgetting that some of my best memories are from a half century ago!)

This song was involved in some controversy when it was performed on the Ed Sullivan Show". Jim Morrison, the lead singer, was asked to change the lyrics to "girl, we couldn't get much better"; but when he sang the song live with the original lyrics, Ed Sullivan refused to shake his hand when he left the stage.

For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the title of the song that included the lyrics, “You know that it would be untrue/ You know that I would be a liar/ If I was to say to you/ Girl, we couldn't get much higher”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with José Feliciano’s version of the song.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the balmy forty-five degree afternoons. Until we meet again, just because it is complicated doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

“Some people have a way with words, and other people . . . uh. . .not have way.” Steve Martin

Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon at the Center.
Wednesday (1) Lemon Garlic Tilapia (Soup and Salad Bar)
Thursday (2) Oven Baked Chicken   
Friday (3) Philly Beef with Mushrooms and Onions (Soup and Salad Bar)
Monday (6) Pork Medallion   
Tuesday (7) Potato Bar with Chili

Aging Well in the Gorge February 21st 2017

Have you noticed when we were younger, we would search around to find childcare, or the best life insurance policy, or what options we had for investing the little money we had left after raising our children?

But now in our greying years, we have different questions: where can you find a qualified caregiver for your spouse or mother, what are the best long term care options, or how do you enroll in Medicare? How times have changed.

When the Center receives calls about services for older adults, we often refer them to the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), a branch of the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments that covers the five-county region of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties.

Our local AAA provides a vital service: administering and supporting community-based care services to maintain and enhance the quality of life for older adults and to ensure their basic needs are met. The AAA provides a variety of services, so listen carefully as I mention just a few of them: support for family caregivers, the Friendly Visitor Program, Oregon Money Management, in-home assistance through the Oregon Project Independence (OPI), Medicare assistance, options counseling to assist individuals in making decisions about long-term care, and short-term interventions to help isolated seniors navigate and access services.

I know it can get confusing when looking for assistance, but the AAA has an excellent staff to answer your questions. You can reach them at 541-298-4101 or stop by their offices in the MCCOG building on the corner of 11th and Kelly Avenue.

When I was having dinner at Casa El Mirador, I saw Jorge Barragan, the owner, who mentioned that many Center members were using their yearlong 10% discount coupon. That coupon, as well as the Sawyer’s True Value coupon worth $10 off any purchase over $50 (good through March 31st), are just two of the discount coupons you will receive when you join the Center. Stop by to become a member, or mail your check and we will send you your member benefit discount coupons and membership card. The cost is $35 per person or $60 per couple - or $50 for a Super-Duper Membership.

I missed last week, but for this week, #17 of the “40 Great Things about Growing Older” – time to volunteer. And if you look, I guarantee there is a volunteer opportunity that will fit your interests - and the nice thing about volunteering is you can work it around your schedule.

Now that this winter’s snow storms have ended and we can instead enjoy the cool rain, I want to again thank Tom Brace of the Brace Brothers and Paul Lepinski of A&P Recycling for coming to the rescue by clearing the Center’s parking lot of snow and ice so many times during this difficult winter. It was truly appreciated.
For the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on February 28th, Country Road will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated.
What would you find “down at the end of Lonely Street”? Why, the Heartbreak Hotel - which was recorded by Elvis Presley’s and included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die”. (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Debbie Bush, Jeanne Pesicka, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Cheryl Green, Harold Stephens and the TDHS class of 63’s own hip-shaking Dennis Davis. And starting next week, I will continue mentioning everyone who submits the correct answer, but will only draw one name for a free quilt raffle ticket.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song that was released on August 26th, 1968; was more than seven minutes long; spent nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100; and included the lyrics, “… don’t make it bad/ Take a sad song and make it better/ Remember to let her into your heart/ Then you can start to make it better.”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Julian Lennon.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering what surprises are waiting over the hill and around the bend. Until we meet again, as the proverb goes, “It’s now or never.”

“When was the last time you woke up and thought this could be the best day in your life?” Dr. Steve Marshall

Aging Well in the Gorge February 14th 2017

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, one out of three adults 65 or older has a hearing loss - which includes me.  I’ve found hearing aids help – my wife knows when I forget to put them on because I keep asking “What did you say?” which she finds very annoying! Yet even when wearing hearing aids, hearing can be difficult because of distance and background noise. But wouldn’t it be nice if at different venues, you could hear everything directly from the microphone - whether it is in a theater, or church or at a city council meeting? Now you can at many places in The Dalles because of loop technology and the efforts of Tim McGlothlin and the Lions Club.

A hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by any hearing aid that is equipped with a telecoil. This system provides clear and clean sound without needing a headset.

Today, approximately 71 percent of all hearing aids dispensed in the United States have telecoils. But you may not have heard of telecoils because few consumers are told about them. You can contact your audiologist to determine if your hearing aid is equipped with a telecoil and whether it is activated.

When Tim McGlothlin, a member of the local Lions Club, learned about hearing loops he jumped on the idea. Lions Club support communities in many ways, but one focus you often hear about is on sight and hearing through the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation. (You probably have seen the collection boxes for recycled eyeglasses, hearing aids and cell phones around town including one at the Center.)

Since then Tim has been busy, installing hearing loops in public spaces in The Dalles including several churches, the City Hall, the Civic Auditorium’s Fireside Room, Spooky’s and just last week Tim, with the help of Ron Sutherland and Gary Patton, installed a loop in the dining room at the Center. Because Tim does the installation for free, the cost is affordable - for the Center it cost less than $800.

With the growing recognition of how hearing loss affects the well-being of millions of older adults, hearing loops are increasingly being installed in community spaces across the country. Thanks to Tim McGlothlin and the Lions Club for being the sparkplug in bringing this technology to The Dalles.

The elevator installation is moving forward. Unfortunately, now that the concrete has been poured for the expansion in front of the Center, the outside stairs are closed. To enter the downstairs, you will need to walk around to the back. But the weather is warming up, so you won’t be slipping and sliding on your way.

Dick Frost had to cancel the AARP Smart Driver Class in January because of the weather, so he is eager to start teaching the class again. The class will be held on Monday and Tuesday, February 20th and 21st from 8:45 – 12:05 each day. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP Members. Besides learning how to be a smarter driver, you may be able to receive a discount on your auto insurance. To sign up, just call the Center.

Tuesday Night Music has started back up at the Center and on February 21st the Simcoe Boys will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated.
The singer was Johnnie Ray - who I found out attended high school in Dallas, Oregon at the same time as Harold Stephens. And Johnnie Ray’s No.1 hit in January, 1952 was “Cry”. (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Lucille Stephens and Betsy Ayres.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is about a song released on January 27, 1956 and reached the top five on the Country and Western, Rhythm 'n' Blues and Pop charts simultaneously. What was the name of the song that included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Alvin Krolik, the man who “walked a lonely street”.

Well, it’s been another week, reminding myself to stand up straight. Until we meet again, I’m finally beginning to feel spring may just be around the corner.

“You can never lose a homing pigeon – if your homing pigeon doesn’t come back what you’ve lost is a pigeon.”

Aging Well in the Gorge February 7th 2017

There has been plenty of news in the last several weeks about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, most of the discussion focused on how it would insure millions of citizens who did not have health insurance. What was seldom mentioned in all the noise were the benefits ACA provided for older adults.

More than a decade ago, knowing the hardship older adults faced paying for prescription drugs, Congress, with a strong push from the George W. Bush administration, passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, which created Medicare Part D.

Medicare Part D covered for the first time a portion of the cost of most outpatient prescription drugs which older adults often could not afford. But there was a catch: a temporary gap in coverage described as the Donut Hole. In this donut hole, the cost of prescription drugs between what the Part D prescription plan would cover (up to $3700 in 2017), and when the out of pocket expenses reached an amount considered catastrophic (which in 2017 is $4950), the Part D enrollees were responsible for the total costs of their medications.

The ACA, signed by President Obama in 2010, made prescription drugs more affordable for many older adults by closing the donut hole in stages, eliminating it by 2020. Since the ACA was passed in 2010, more than 11 million people have saved an average of more than $2,100 per person on prescription drugs.

Even though the Republicans have been promising to repeal and replace the ACA, they have not yet come to a consensus of how to do it. There have been several proposals to replace the ACA and many including Rep. Tom Price’s (who is President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary nominee) Empowering Patients First Act, does not include the gradual elimination of the donut hole in Medicare Part B as well as other benefits for Medicare recipients such as screenings for breast and colorectal cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

It is important that older adults of both political parties advocate to include the provisions of the ACA that improve the health of older adults in any new legislation, particularly the gradual elimination of the Donut Hole, so no older adult must choose between their critical prescriptions and their basic necessities.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. #16 – Looking Great at any age. Maybe I am a little biased but looking back at my high school yearbook, with the bouffant hairdos and the flattop haircuts, I think we look much better now: wiser, more mature - with a few wrinkles to show we know what we are talking about. 

Tuesday night music at the Center on February 14th will feature Martin and Friends performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated.

"I just want to say one word to you - just one word.... 'Plastics.'” was the career advice told to Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman, in the 1967 movie The Graduate. (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Betsy Ayres, Jerry Phillips, Sandy Haechrel, and Mary Davis.)

This month I’m going to see if you remember the song lyrics from the 1950’s and the 1960’s – back in the day when you could understand the lyrics even with the scratched records and simple transistor radios.

This song is from the 1950’s and has an Oregon connection since the singer spent part of his childhood on a farm in Dallas, Oregon before moving to Portland, Oregon, where he attended high school.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song that included the lyrics, “If your heartaches seem to hang around too long/ And your blues keep getting bluer with each song/ Well now, remember sunshine can be found
Behind a cloudy sky/ So let your hair down and go right on and …”. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it in on the back of a postcard from Hopewell, Oregon.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to pick my feet up so I don’t trip and fall head first into a snow bank. Until we meet again, remember everyone has a piece of the truth.

"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." -- Lord Byron


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