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

Aging Well in the Gorge August 22nd 2017

Did you survive the eclipse? My wife and I were going to drive to her folks in Dallas, Oregon and return on Monday, but we came to our senses and decided to stay put. For one thing, I didn’t want to test how long I could last between bathroom breaks while stuck in traffic. But if you missed seeing this total eclipse, you’ll have to wait till August 12, 2045 for the next bicoastal eclipse.

When I was a child, I was afraid of what might go bump in the night, and I would hide under the covers, hold my breath, and not move a single muscle.

But it’s not the “goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties” I’m afraid of now. It’s me I’m worried about going bump in the night: stumbling over a bookcase, tripping over the cat, or missing the door knob I usually grab. And the fear is real. During this year, I’ve known two folks who have fallen during the night and they both broke their hips.

One reason we are more at risk of falling during the night is we get up more often. Well, at least I do. My bladder isn’t as elastic as it once was, and those night trips to the bathroom have become a regular routine.

But there are precautions you can take. You can install nightlights in your bedroom, and safety frames or grab bars around the toilet. If you use a cane or walker, place it next to your bed - and use it. If you often get up for a drink, (and I’m talking about water, otherwise that is a different kind of problem), put a water bottle next to your bed.  If you wear slippers, make sure they are non-slip. Make sure your furniture is stable and strong enough to support your weight, and check your medications (especially new prescriptions) for any side effects that may cause dizziness or restlessness.  And it’s always a good idea to “fall proof” your house such as making sure the pathways to the bathroom or kitchen are free from clutter.
These suggestions will help make sure during the night, when you may still be half asleep and in a hurry to get to the bathroom, you aren’t the “bump in the night”.

The Center is hosting the Cascadia Mobile Legal Clinic on September 12 and 13 from 11 to 2 pm. The clinic is staffed by attorneys from Martin & Richards, LLP and the legal services they offer include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives, landlord/tenant, probate estates, elder abuse, and civil disputes. You will receive a free 30-minute consultation, and then if any additional legal services are needed, they will be free for eligible clients or on a sliding fee scale based on income. To ensure a appointment call 503-444-3449, but walk-ins are also welcome. You can find more information at their website

The NU-2-U Shop is doing “gangbuster” business ever since the store reopened in its new expanded space. You’ll find nice, gently used clothes (every week new items are added), shoes, jewelry, puzzles, and a variety of miscellaneous knick-knacks. Donations are appreciated, but because the Center has limited space for storing and processing donations, at this time we are only accepting good used clothing. You can drop off used clothing downstairs during our regular business hours from 9:00 – 5:00.

The name of the humor magazine first published in 1952 that satirized all aspects of cultural life was Mad Magazine. (I received correct answers from Jim Ayres, Sandy Haechrel and Ed Anghilante - this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.)

The Marvel Comics brand debuted in November of 1961 with the first super hero team created by editor Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. The team of Mister Fantastic, Invisible Women, Human Torch and the Thing gained superpowers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific mission to outer space. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this super hero team? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the last known location of Dr. Doom.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to put together the pieces in the puzzle of life. Until we meet again, try to keep an open mind but don’t let your brains fall out.

“It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.” Ashleigh Brilliant

Aging Well in the Gorge August 15th 2017

It’s been said “The future ain’t what it used to be,” and that can certainly be applied to the future of aging in America.

But what can we expect in this new future?

Last month the best minds from medicine, social science, finance, public policy, and other disciplines met in San Francisco for the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics Conference to share the latest science, research, technology, and policy development in the field of aging.  

Sophie Okolo, an associate with the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, attended and wrote about some of the significant trends in aging for Next Avenue, a website for the “booming older population” produced by Twin Cities PBS.

One of the trends she heard was older adults are seeking ways to take charge of their own health using emerging technologies which includes finding self-care solutions to improve their health. In some rural communities, patients are already seeing a doctor using telemedicine; several start-up companies are developing virtual reality apps for physical exercise and pain treatment, and although this may sound as futuristic as a smart watch once did, Nestles is working on personalized digital nutrition to help deliver the ideal nutrition at the right cost. Pretty amazing.

Another trend is the changing view of aging – acknowledging the challenges, but also embracing the opportunities, and creating a culture that supports the long life we experience today. You can look around and see how older adults create stronger communities and strengthen our economies. For example, did you know older workers over fifty are responsible for at least $7.6 trillion in annual economic activity?  

Although the future is not what it once was, with new and developing technologies and a more positive view towards aging, there can be a better future for all of us: the current generation of older adults and for future generations to come.

Katy Joblonski came by the Center to drop off a flyer for her class, “Shakespeare: The Early Plays” (English 201 - 1091658), which will be held at The Dalles campus of the Columbia Gorge Community College on Mondays from 10:00 – 12:00 starting September 25th.

As you can tell, it is for folks who have unchained themselves from the shackles of employment and are fancy free – if they can find time between the projects around the house, their volunteer commitments, and their trips to visit/babysit the grandkids.

But she told me the exciting news is the class is free if you are over 65 and want to audit the class. And in addition, although there is no guarantee, you may be able to audit many of the other CGCC classes for free or little cost.  If you want to know more about how to audit CGCC classes, call 541-506-6057.

Tuesday Night music at the Center may have played its last chords. Attendance has dropped and although everyone enjoyed the music and dancing, there just wasn’t enough people to make it worthwhile for the bands. But there is plenty of music in the Gorge - with only ten days a month when you can’t find a place to dance. For information about the dance locations, Sheryl Doty distributes a monthly calendar which you can pick up at the Center or you can call her at 541-296-3707.

The “bodacious hillbilly” that Barney Google met when he visited “Hootin’ Holler” was Snuffy Smith. (Several folks thought the answer was Li’l Abner which was another hillbilly humor comic strip, but the only correct answer I received was from Marta Moser - this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.)

Okay, this week’s “Remember When” question is not about a comic strip, but it did start out as a comic book before it turned into a classic American humor magazine. First published in 1952 and reaching its peak in 1974, this magazine satirized all aspects of cultural life, politics, entertainment, and public figures. What was the name of this humor magazine whose satire influenced a whole generation? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a book of Don Martin’s best comic strips.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember what doctor I’m supposed to see this month. Until we meet again, keep your foot on the peddle and your hands on the steering wheel.

“Life is surely worth a certain amount of struggle, but sometimes I wonder exactly how much?” Ashleigh Brilliant

Aging Well in the Gorge August 8th 2017

We’ve been hearing in the news about the opioid epidemic effecting many working-class communities in America. In the past when I thought of opioid abuse I thought of heroin use. But according to the most recent data, in 2015 over 13,000 people have died from heroin - but over 15,000 people have died from overdoses on legal prescription opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin, morphine, and others. In addition, every day over one thousand people across the country are treated in emergency rooms for misusing prescribed opiates.

But I was surprised to read in Terry Lynn’s article in the Oregonian, it’s not just young people affected by this epidemic.

In fact, in 2015, Oregonians age 65 and over are entering the hospital for opioid overdoses, abuse, dependence and adverse effects at a greater rate than any other state. In Oregon, the rate has tripled in the past decade; peaking at 700 hospitalizations per 100,000 elderly which translates to 4,500 people.

But why does Oregon have the highest rate nationally? While there is not a definitive answer, there are several possible factors.

First is history. Oregon has been a national leader in encouraging a more liberal use of medications that focus on treating pain. Consequently, doctors have continued to prescribe more opioids to older adults. Also, many people who started taking opioids when they were younger have likely stayed on them or resumed using them when experiencing arthritis or after having hip or knee replacements.
Second is a lack of awareness. Many doctors underestimate the effect of opioids on older adults.
Third is perception. Many doctors miss seeing opioid abuse in older adults, because they see substance abuse and addiction as a young person’s problem; or they might associate symptoms such as falls, delirium and memory loss, with aging instead of opioids.      
Chronic pain can dramatically affect your life. Thankfully, pain relieving opioids can bring some comfort particularly for hospice or cancer patients or for patients during or after surgery. But always be aware of the risks. Even when prescribed by a doctor, regular use of opioids can lead to dependence, and even overdose and death.

Speaking of medications, often when you are discharged from the hospital, you will be prescribed an opioid such as Vicodin in case the pain returns. But what do you do if you don’t use it or any other medications?

Thanks to the partnership between YouthThink, MCMC and The Dalles Police Force, you can drop off your unwanted medications at The Dalles police station. Just walk inside, turn to your left and you will find a green container where you can safely drop your unwanted medications - but they will not accept needles or sharps, thermometers, medical waste or equipment, or inhalers.

No music on the 15th but the all-star band of Andre, K.C., Tom and Joe will be back at the Center on the 22nd playing blues, bluegrass, ballads and country rock for your dancing and listening pleasure.

The name of the comic strip first introduced in 1931 featuring a police detective was Dick Tracy. (I received answers from Marta Moser, Donna Smith, and several of the regular suspects: Ed Anghilante (who I also missed mentioning several weeks ago), Jim Ayres, Diane Weston, Jess Birge, Jerry Phillips, and Bob and Sandy Haechrel. But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket goes to Joel Brown who texted me his answer using his Dick Tracy-like smartwatch.)

Continuing with comic strips from the past, this comic strip debuted in 1919 and starred Barney Google with his Goo-Goo-Googly eyes. But in 1934, Barney visited “Hootin’ Holler” in the North Carolina mountains and met a “bodacious hillbilly” who became the star of the comic strip. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this character with the broad brimmed felt hat, scraggly moustache, and tattered britches? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a bottle of “corn-likker” moonshine in a plain brown paper bag so Sheriff Magill won’t confiscate it.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to decide, do I stay hydrated during the hot day, or do I sleep through the night. Until we meet again, as I was recently told at the Center, there are times when living by yourself is bad company.

“If you think communication is all talking, you haven't been listening.” Ashleigh Brilliant

Aging Well in the Gorge August 1st 2017

Would you consider yourself a child or an adult? Okay, that is a dumb question. But in the 1800’s, you were either considered a child or an adult - and back then you could be considered an adult, working and married, by the age of 16. Life was tough and childhood didn’t last long.

But starting in the early 1900’s a social revolution began. With new child labor laws, children encouraged to stay in school longer, sixteen to eighteen-year old’s waiting longer to marry, and with the automobile providing greater independence, another life stage evolved which became known as the “teenager”.

But teenager wasn’t the only term created to describe an age group. In a 1938 political campaign, senior citizen was first used as a euphemism for “old person”. It has since been abbreviated to senior and is generally defined as a person over the age of 65 - when retirement usually begins or social benefits generally start.

So here’s another question? Do you consider yourself a senior even though you are probably over 65? And to be a little more blunt, do you consider yourself old?

If you answer is no, you are not alone. There is growing number of individuals who are over 65 who see themselves as healthy and do not consider themselves seniors - as in “old”. For these individuals, their idea of retirement is not withdrawal - but active engagement including working into their 70’s, particularly if the work is flexible, traveling, and recreating. They feel they have many more active years left, and they aren’t ready to sit it out.

Understanding this new life stage of the “young-old” and the value of naming it, was the focus of several articles in the July 8th Economist. It was suggested that by giving a name to this life stage, it could dramatically change attitudes toward the “young-old” and create economic changes and new opportunities as was the case when the term “teenager” was created. 

But what do you call this new life stage? Some of the ideas suggested by the Economist are Geriactives, Sunsetters, “Nyppies” (Net Yet Past It) or “Owls” (Older, Working less, Still Earning). None of those suggestions sound good to me. But if you have an idea, email it to me. Maybe you can be on the cutting age of a whole new attitudinal revolution towards older adults.

This may yet be the hottest week of the summer, so don’t take any chances in the heat. Stay cool, drink plenty of liquids, keep informed and stay connected with family, friends and neighbors. And have a plan for an emergency which could be as simple as losing the power in your house to operate your air-conditioner.  

If you don’t have air conditioning in your house, don’t forget the old-fashioned ways to stay cool: fans, cold water foot baths, ice packs, and cool showers. And if you know of anyone, who needs, but cannot afford to purchase a fan or air conditioner, the Center has two fans and one small window air conditioner that have been donated to the Center to loan out for emergencies.

For the second and fourth Tuesdays in August, Andre Lamoureux and his band will be performing at the Center for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The name of the liquid detergent soap that in 1968 was advertised as being strong enough to remove the “ring around the collar” was Wisk. (I don’t believe I received any correct answers this week although several folks, including my wife, thought the answer was TIDE.)

It’s a new month and the theme for this month’s “Remember When” questions is “Comic Strips from the Past”. This comic strip was first introduced in 1931; featured a police detective who fought various villains including his popular rival Flattop Jones; and included comic characters who were caricatures of celebrities such as B.O. Plenty, (Gabby Hayes), Vitamin Flintheart (John Barrymore), and Spike Dyke (Spike Jones).  What was the name of this comic strip? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a two-way wrist watch – preferably an Apple watch.

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the shade. Until we meet again, don’t let the sun beat you down.

“If you're going to do something tonight that you'll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.” Henny Youngman

Aging Well in the Gorge July 15th 2017

You don’t get things done by complaining or by wishing upon a star. You have to put on your boots and get to work. And over the last year, there have been several examples of community organizations who like the “little engine that could”, never gave up: Wonderworks, the children’s museum that was featured on the front page of Sunday’s paper, The Dalles/Wasco County Library’s new children’s space, and the Civic Auditorium which received $745,000 from the Oregon state lottery for their theater.

Another community success was celebrated last Tuesday when The Dalles Chamber Ambassadors held a ribbon cutting for the opening of the Center’s new addition. It was a chance to recognize all the individuals, local businesses and foundations that made the new addition possible. And although every successful fundraising campaign needs hundreds of small donors, there is usually one major donor who makes the project possible. 

For the Center that person was Roberta Heisler. She donated $50,000 earlier in the fundraising campaign, and then after it was decided to hire a general contractor even when we didn’t have all the necessary funding, she walked in and gave the Center another $25,000 which took us over our fundraising goal.

But also in every project, someone has to have the drive to keep pushing the project forward even when everyone else is wondering whether it will ever happen. For the Center’s UpLifting Elevator Project, Joan Silver was the engine that drove the UpLifting Elevator train: writing all the grants and keeping everyone on task.

Joan is an example of the older adults throughout this community who decide to use their “retirement” years to make a difference - not for financial gain or for personal recognition. And you know who they are. They are found in your service clubs, churches and other organizations - folks who are giving back to build a healthy community for everyone.

But unfortunately, Joan can’t move mountains - or elevator inspectors. So you aren’t able to ride the elevator yet. It still needs to go through the elevator company’s inspection process and then the final inspection by the State of Oregon. We will announce in August when the elevator will be operating. But until then, you are now able to use the enclosed stairs instead of walking outside and around to the downstairs’ back doors.

Last Tuesday was a busy day at the Center. Besides the ribbon cutting, in the afternoon the Center held its annual membership meeting - which included a delicious dinner catered by Cherry Heights Living. At the meeting, the membership approved changes in the bylaws to allow up to eleven board members from the current seven. If you are interested in serving on the Center’s board, call the Center for an application. But one caution, it is a working board!

Every second and fourth Tuesday at the Center, we push back the tables and the band sets up, so you can dance, dance, dance from 7:00 to 8:30 PM. And as I mentioned last week, on Tuesday, August 1st, Truman will be back in town for one night playing his Country Gold. And no matter if your hair is silver, blonde or a nice beaver orange, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

In the 1960’s animated commercial, a rabbit was always trying to trick a group of children out of their bowl of cereal, but was always caught and told “Silly rabbit, TRIX are for kids”.  (This week I received answers from Sharon Hull, Kim Birge, Tiiu Vahtel and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Darlein France.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is once again about advertising slogans from the 50’s and 60’s. What was the name of the liquid detergent soap that in 1968 was advertised as being strong enough to remove the “ring around the collar”? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a kitchen utensil used to whip eggs.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep all the eggs in one basket. Until we meet again, as Marcia Lacock reminded me, stay cool, calm and collected.

“[A] youthful old age is the rich and mellow autumn of life... the mind is ripe in wisdom... the intellect is still active and vigorous... spiritual character has reached its full terrestrial maturity of virtue.” W.J. Hunter, "How to Keep Young," Health Magazine, October 1899.

Aging Well in the Gorge July 18th 2017

I just spent the weekend driving to San Diego with my daughter where she will be starting her new job. Once again, she will be adjusting to a different environment with new friends and new responsibilities.

As with many young people, her last five years have been filled with constant adjustments: teaching English overseas, attending graduate school and then back home again to look for work.

But for many of us, those anticipated changes and adjustments are distant memories. We are no longer working, at least for a paycheck, and have become comfortable in our everyday experiences: same house, same friends, and same interests. And although we may have slowed down, most things are still familiar.

Then our life changes, whether we want it to or not, and we move from the familiar to the unfamiliar: moving into a retirement community because our children are concerned about our safety; no longer being able to enjoy our hobbies because of chronic pain; or worse of all, losing lifelong friends because they have moved or passed away.
Moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar can be scary and confusing. You may wonder how to deal with things you don’t want to deal with? How do you adjust and cope with what you feel you cannot endure? But cope you must, because there is no such thing as not coping. You either cope well or poorly.
Joan Chittister in her book, “The Gift of Years” eloquently discusses how adjustment is a part of aging and it is up to us to decide whether to live our later years with despair and anger or with joy and anticipation.
For instance, you can decide to fight the changes, blaming others and destroying once good relations when you need them the most. Or you can passively accept your new situation, but emotionally refuse to adjust - living in the gloom of what once was but no longer can be, and making your life a real struggle.
Or you can cope with the stress of change with courage; experiencing the losses, but also seeing the new gifts surrounding you while anticipating the joys of the daily small stuff.
Joan Chittister believes the challenge of these years is “that we must consciously decide how we will live, what kind of person we will become now, what kind of personality and spirituality we will bring into every group, how alive we intend to be”.
But the blessing “is being able to live so openheartedly, and to adjust so well, that others can look to us and see what being old can bring in terms of life, of holiness, of goodness to make the world new again”.
When we were young, we were constantly adjusting to new situations: marriage, children, careers. Then we became comfortable with the familiar. But once again moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar; living life as it comes to you, not as you insist it be, may be our greatest opportunity for personal growth.
Music has returned to the Center on every second and fourth Tuesdays nights starting at 7:00 PM. In addition, on Tuesday August 1st, Truman Boler will be singing. Truman was a regular Tuesday night performer until he moved to the Portland area. But he has been persuaded to come back to play one more time. So, stop by, say hi and once again enjoy an evening of Truman’s Country Gold.

The cigarette commercial that appeared on radio and television from 1954 until 1972, was “Winston taste good like a cigarette should”. (I received answers from Sandy Haechrel and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket non-smoker Jerry Phillips.)

Continuing this month’s theme of popular television commercials, this 1960’s animated commercial, featured a silly rabbit who was constantly trying to trick a group of children out of their bowl of cereal, but was always caught and told the cereal was “only for kids”.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the cereal? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the story of Sisyphus, the King of Ephyra.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find the dots to connect. Until we meet again, keep on truckin’.

“To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.” Swiss philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel


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