When I hear about age-friendly communities it is usually concerning the inclusion of older adults, including those at the oldest ages, so they can stay connected and actively participate in community activities; and for older adults who can no longer care for themselves providing appropriate supports.
But that is just the quick and dirty explanation. This Wednesday, May 23rd, you can learn more about age-friendly communities and share how age-friendly you feel The Dalles is in areas such as housing, transportation, public spaces and civic participation. Oregon AARP is facilitating this community conversation which will be held at the Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) office at 401 E. 3rd Street, The Dalles, from 3:30 to 5:30 pm on the 23rd.
Staff from Oregon AARP will collect your ideas and priorities and will use them to help guide their work in helping communities become more livable and Oregon an age-friendly state – as well as sharing the information with the Governor’s Commission on Senior Services and decision makers across the state.
But even though in the field of aging, the emphasis is on older people, the idea of age friendly communities is about supporting ALL ages. And although we often think our communities don’t have adequate supports and infrastructure for older people, the same can be said for our youth - whether it is a lack of sidewalks for children to walk to school, transportation options, healthy social activities – or a lack of respect.
One coalition trying to address the needs of our youth by building upon their strengths is the Gorge Youth Center. On May 12th I attended the dedication of the site for the future Gorge Youth Center and it was inspiring hearing the passion and vision for how the Youth Center will make a positive difference for our youth and the whole community.
As with the Center whose focus is older adults but serves and supports all ages, the Gorge Youth Center will be similar but focusing on our youth while open to all ages. For example, in the initial design there is an indoor track which will provide a place for older adults to walk during the winter cold and the summer heat.
But the Gorge Youth Center will not be possible without the support of the whole community and particularly, older adults. Older adults are often portrayed as a liability to society. But according to the report “Longevity Economics” developed by the Gerontological Society of America, people aged 50 years or older make nearly 70% of the contributions to charities, churches, and other philanthropic organizations - averaging $100 billion per year.
We as the older generations will have to step up to make this dream a reality - just as we have with the Center’s UpLifting Elevator project, The Library’s Children’s Wing and the restoration of the Civic Auditorium. I hope you take time to learn more about the Gorge Youth Center and how you can financially support this important effort.
And a special challenge to my fellow Boomers. We were the children of what has been appropriately call the “Greatest Generation”. But aren’t we the “Can Do” generation? Maybe we haven’t changed the world – or maybe we have, but we can continue use our “Can Do” attitude to make the Youth Center a reality and The Dalles a healthier community for ALL ages.
The religious leader who hosted the night-time radio program The Catholic Hour before hosting two television programs and was Bishop Fulton Sheen. (I received only one correct answer and that was from Lana Tepfer who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.)
Once in a while I get whiff of this oil’s aroma that immediately takes me back to the 60’s – and I don’t mean a whiff of what is now legal up and down the west coast. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what is the name of the oil derived from a plant native to tropical Southeast Asian countries; been described as having a dark, musky-earthy aroma; and was associated with the “counterculture” movement of the 60’s? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a muddy ticket from the Woodstock Music Festival.
Well, it’s been another week, sticking notes in odd places. Until we meet again, don’t take life so seriously you don’t leave room for life’s silliness.
“Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.” Lois Wyse