Aging in the Gorge February 20th 2018

Last week you may have read an article in the Chronicle’s 2018 Life Planning Guide, encouraging parents to start a conversation with their adult children about such things as their hopes and fears, their financial situation, their personal property and long-term care.  

But as adult children, what should you say to your aging parents, or more specifically what should you NOT say? On the Next Avenue website, Linda Bernstein writes about “8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents” to avoid the conversational potholes especially when their health and cognitive abilities are declining. And though it speaks to aging parents, it could be applied to any family member or friend.

Would you say any of these things?

1. “How can you not remember that!?” Short term memory often goes before long term memory. You can remember what happened on your wedding day but forget what you had for breakfast. It is scary thinking you may be losing your memory. An alternative is to use post-it notes and reminder calls.

2. “You could do that if you really tried.” It’s hard knowing you can no longer do things you once were able to do. And it doesn’t help to be reminded. Try to find out what the specific difficulty is and see if you can work around it or find someone to help.

3. “I just showed you how to use the DVR yesterday.”
It is difficult to learn any new technology, but even worse if your cognitive abilities and eyesight are declining.

4. “What does that have to do with what we are talking about.”
Often conversations go rogue. Maybe it’s a reduced attention span, or they haven’t been able to follow the conversation because of hearing loss. In these situations, gently bring the conversation back around or just listen.

5. “You already told me that.”
How many times have you repeated a story? Be patient - even though this is the umpteenth time you’ve heard about the space shuttle lifting off at Cape Kennedy.

6. “I want your silver tea service when you die.”
Nothing like coming across as a circling vulture! Do remind them that by making their wishes known, it could avoid future sibling conflicts.

7. “Wake up! I thought you wanted to see this.”
Darkened rooms or theaters can be an automatic cue to fall asleep. (I don’t think I have completely seen any of the recent Star War movies.)

8. “Hel-lo?! Your grandson’s name is Ryan.”
Sometimes it is not what you say, but how you say it. Say it gently with a friendly smile.

Conversations can be frustrating, especially with someone in the early stages of memory loss. But be patient and gentle. There may be a time when you will find yourself on the other side of the conversation.

Sunday, February 25th from 10:00 – 1:00 is the Center’s Bagel Brunch prepared by the Bagel Guy himself, Rick Leibowitz. You will have your choice of four kinds of bagels, (and these aren’t your Fred Meyer Bagels, but handmade bagels your grandmother would have made), three flavors of cream cheese, and smoked salmon. In addition, there will be apple crisp and fruit salad. Tickets are only $10.00 and can be purchased at the Center. The Bagel Brunch is sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek.

A brand-new production of The Sound of Music is coming to Portland’s Keller Auditorium and you can be there. I have eight tickets left for the Sunday matinee performance on March 11th. The ticket price is $75 including transportation.

The two-time figure skating champion who first started providing figure skating commentary during the 1960 Winter Olympics was Dick Button. (Although he didn’t show me a double axel jump, the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Dennis Wygal. And from last week, I forgot to mention Jim Ayers, and the person with the mystery signature, Dennis Davis.)

Sticking with the Olympics, for this week’s “Remember When” question, what female figure skater won a Gold Medal in the Ladies Singles at the 1968 Winter Olympics, the only Gold Medal won by the United States? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with an a bottle of Robitussin.

Well, it’s been another week, taking it as it come. Until we meet again, it is what it is.

“I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is ‘Yes’.” Leonard Bernstein

Aging Well in the Gorge February 13th 2018

It's a mystery!

A box of exquisite, embroidered quilt blocks was found in an empty house and donated to the Center’s Quilters. Each of the sixty-three quilt blocks had a signature stitched into them, but the blocks were never made into a quilt – until now.

Francie Yuhas assembled the blocks into a queen size quilt and the rest of the Center Quilters hand stitched the quilt together with batting and backing. The finished quilt is now on display in the dining room at the Center. But here’s the mystery. The Center Quilters don’t know why these signed quilt blocks were made. Could it be for a wedding or family reunion quilt, or a quilt made for someone leaving the area? Some of the names on the quilt blocks are: Ella Craig, Leola Egbert, Ruby Franz, Gertrude Maier and Isabel Sandoz. (You can find a list of all 63 names at the Center.)

The Center Quilter’s would appreciate any information as to why the sixty-three names are represented on the quilt. If you have any information, call the Center or you can find the Center Quilters downstairs at the Center every Monday between 10:00 and 3:00 PM.

Did you know rural Americans are twice as likely to die from opioid misuse as their urban counterparts—and adults ages 45 and older comprise nearly half of these deaths? You can learn more about the effects of opioid abuse by attending the Webinar “Opioid Issues & Trends Among Older Adults in Rural America” at the Center on February 21st starting at 11:30. Afterwards representatives from YouthThink will answer any questions.

The Flu can have serious complications particularly for older adults. This year the flu is hitting particularly hard, so don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have a persistent cough, fever higher than 102 F and chills, a hard time breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain when you cough. If tests show you have the flu and your symptoms started within the last 48 hours, your doctor may suggest antiviral medicine which can make you feel better and shorten your illness by 1 to 2 days. And to help prevent the spread of the flu, wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds including the areas between your fingers and around your nails.

Have you ever wondered who is an Odd Fellow and what they have to do with cemeteries? Well, “Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and Its Cemeteries” is the third of the February Regional History Forums at the Original Wasco County Museum on February 17th starting at 1:30 p.m. The sexton of the local Odd Fellows Cemeteries, Craig Hector, will share the unique history and values of the I.O.O.F. and how since the nineteenth century, the lodge's concern for common folks, beyond their fraternal organization, led them to sponsor cemeteries that were open to all.

Friday night you missed a fantastic International Chicken Dinner prepared by Rick Leibowitz with assistance from Tammy and her outstanding crew from the Baldwin Saloon; and with delightful desserts from Petite Provence served by the fun loving Red Hat Ladies. The whole evening was sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek, who will also be sponsoring the Bagel Brunch, once again prepared by Rick Leibowitz, on Sunday February 25th from 10:00 – 1:00. Tickets are only $10.00 and can be purchased at the Center.

The name of the type of British-French supersonic passenger jet airliner that was first flown in 1969 was the Concorde. (I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket whose name was left on my desk but I couldn’t read the signature!)

Figure skating is one of the most watched Winter Olympic sports, and even though I can’t remember who ever won, I do remember the always present TV analyst. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was the two-time figure skating champion (1948 and 1952), who first started providing figure skating commentary during the 1960 Winter Olympics? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center while performing a double axel jump.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to catch my breath. Until we meet again, take to time to discover and share your gifts.

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” Jacki French Koller

Aging Well in the Gorge February 6th 2018

It’s February, that time when you find out whether you paid Uncle Sam too much or not enough. There are many excellent tax preparers in the Mid-Columbia region, but if your tax situation is relatively simple, there is free help available through AARP Tax Aide. Since Tax Aide is supported by the AARP Foundation but also other federal and private grants that focus on helping low to moderate income persons or families equally, Tax Aide cannot give preference to any particular age group.

Tax Aide started last weekend and will continue through April 14th. In the area, there are three Tax Aide sites: The Center from 2:00 – 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 – 1:00 on Saturdays; Tygh Valley Community Center from 9:00 – 1:00 pm on Thursdays, and the Rufus Community Center in Sherman County on Saturdays where you’ll need to call 541-993-1054 to make an appointment.

For your Tax Aide appointment, you’ll need to bring several documents: last year’s tax return; government issued identification for both tax payer and spouse even if both are not present when the taxes are being prepared; and a Social Security identification card (original, photocopy or a photo on your smartphone) for all individuals listed on the tax return.

And finally, don’t forget the obvious: all tax documents or statements that show income received and all tax documents or itemized statement that show expense incurred by you and your family.

One benefit of getting older is that there are some things you just don’t have to do anymore. For example, I’ve met more folks my age who tell me they don’t drive at night anymore. But I’ve realized as I was driving to Portland after dark, you must be out of your mind to want to drive at night - no matter your age! Think about it. The dark stretches of road where you can only see as far as your high beams reach; the barely visible street markings, the blinding headlights of oncoming traffic, and I won’t even mention the fun of driving through the rain in the dark.

How did I ever think that was such a pleasure? And now if I don’t need to drive at night, I can say to myself, “No, I think I’ll pass” and enjoy the evening at home with my wife.

Whether you are a railroad buff or not, you should check out the second of the annual February Regional History Forums at the Original Wasco County Museum on February 10th starting at 1:30 p.m. Retired math teacher Loren Delaney, who was born in The Dalles and raised in Wishram, will present “Fourteen Miles on the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad” - a tour of north shore railroad history between mile posts 94 and 108.

A couple quick reminders since I hear all too often, “I was planning on coming to (fill in the blank), but I forgot!”

The International Chicken Dinner is this Friday, February 9th from 5:00 – 7:00 sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek and prepared by Rick Leibowitz with assistance from the Baldwin Saloon and desserts from Petite Provence. The cost is $20 per person and only 200 tickets are being sold.

And Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of the Columbia Center for the Arts, will be speaking about “The Art & History of Photography” at the Center on Wednesday, February 7th at 10:30. Learn about the origins of the photographic arts and experience the work of noted photographers.

The American who won a 1932 Olympic swimming gold medal and starred in the science fiction film serial Flash Gordon was Buster Crabbe. (I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, who also remembers Buster Crabbe as Tarzan, Joanne Scott and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Kay Tenold.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the type of British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner that had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound and was first flown in 1969? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a 1997 New York to London round trip ticket on this type of airliner which cost at the time only $7,995.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying this unusually mild winter weather. Until we meet again, remember forgetfulness isn’t a memory problem, it is just a retrieval problem.

“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” Neil DeGrasse Tyson


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