I hope you are enjoying the 4th of July holiday. I’ll be home celebrating a day off by working in the yard and taking care of other chores my wife has planned for me.
But it is also a time to celebrate this great country we live in. And as older Americans, the benefits we enjoy because of the courageous efforts of many individuals and organizations to pass critically important federal legislation often against great odds: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, funding for senior housing, public transportation, and the Older Americans Act which supports meal sites, in-home care, and abuse prevention. These are programs and services that could not have been started by ourselves individually but became possible through collective effort by many.
But we often forget the work of these Americans that by working together made these programs and policies possible. Today more than ever, we live in a society where the emphasis is on the individual and what you can do for yourself to improve your health and well-being. You hear the messages constantly: stop smoking; eat healthy and save for retirement.
All of that is necessary - but not sufficient. When the only message is about individual lifestyle choices to improve your health and well-being, it ignores societal factors and impedes support for policy interventions at the state and federal level that affect our social and economic conditions which ultimately affects our health and wellbeing. We shouldn’t think either/or, individual choices or collective action. The health of older adults depends on both.
Undoubtedly in the future, there will be changes in many government programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to maintain their financial viability - as has happened in the past. But we must be vigilant to make sure the fundamental values of those programs are protected, and the cost of medical and long-term care is not shifted to the individual who cannot afford the constantly increasing medical costs.
America’s population is aging which offers tremendous benefits and challenges. As Americans we need to work at both the individual and societal levels to ensure a healthy future for ourselves and for future older generations. We should not tolerate the veiled idea that society just can’t afford old people.
Thanks to the sponsorship by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center, Nehemiah Brown will be back on July 6th from 7:00 – 9:00 PM for his only evening performance at the Center this year. The cost is $4 which includes a delicious Root Beer float served between 6:30 and 7:00. All ages are welcome.
If you’re looking for something cool to do on those hot summer evenings, whether you’re 81 or 18, look no further than Thursday and Saturday Night bingo. We’re not one of those large bingo halls run by professionals in the name of a non-profit, but a small operation run by all volunteers with good payouts averaging a total of over $1400 every night. All the remaining revenue from Thursday Night Bingo supports Meals-on-Wheels and from Saturday Night Bingo the remaining revenue supports the Center.
And if The Dalles can celebrate the 4th on the Saturday before, then the Center can celebrate the 4th on the Saturday after. During Bingo on Saturday, July 7th, you can purchase a special $2.00 meal of hamburger or cheeseburger with baked beans and potato salad.
The observation tower built in 1962 for the Century 21 Exposition, considered a Seattle icon, is the Space Needle. And for the bonus question, President Kennedy was not able to attend the exposition’s closing ceremony because he was dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis. (I received correct answers from Sharon Hull, Virginia “Lucky” McClain, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Carolee Lyddon.)
I imagine this will be a more difficult question, but let’s give it a shot. In the last 50 years medical advancements have accelerated dramatically. For example, approximately 3500 heart transplants are performed every year in the world with post-operation survival periods averaging 15 years. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the doctor that on December 3rd, 1967 performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant? Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the long days. Until we meet again, don’t be afraid of veering off the beaten path.
“With freedom comes responsibility.” Eleanor Roosevelt