Aging Well in the Gorge May 1st 2019

How do you know if you have hearing loss? I have found a very simple method. Ask your spouse! They will tell you - and often you don’t even have to ask. But for a more professional answer, Dr. Matthew Proctor will be discussing hearing loss at the Center on Monday, May 13th at 11:00 am.

If you have hearing loss you are not alone. The Hearing Loss Association estimates twenty percent of Americans experience some hearing loss with those between sixty and sixty-nine having the greatest amount.

Hearing loss is a serious chronic condition with significant health risks effecting a person’s emotional, social and cognitive well-being. But I don’t think people who can hear well understand. I didn’t until I experienced sudden hearing loss in one ear and discovered I needed a hearing aid for my other ear. I’ve found social situations particularly difficult; and experienced how easy it is to disengage because you can hear everyone, but you can’t understand a dag gone word anyone is saying.

If you want to learn more about hearing loss, Dr. Proctor will explain the effects of hearing loss and your options, as well as answer any questions.

Kerry Cobb’s next art presentation is a slide show of the Japanese Gardens of North America on Tuesday, May 7 at 1pm. Japanese-style gardens have been a part of North American culture for over 150 years, providing distinct pleasure with their artful landscapes set within tranquil, beautifully controlled environments. In this colorful presentation of exquisite photographs, Kerry will explore with you some of the most distinctive and exotic Japanese gardens in North America and learn how they took root and flourished.

It’s May and the memory of February snow is being shoved aside by thoughts of summer heat. But I shouldn’t jump the gun, and instead remind you of several traditional first Saturday in May events.

The Wasco County Pioneers 97th annual reunion and luncheon is on May 4th at the Readiness Center. For me it always feels like a big Wasco County family reunion seeing friends and acquaintances that I may not have seen since last year. Registration begins at 9:30 and costs $12.50 for an individual and $15.00 for a family. At the same time, you can purchase lunch for $15.00. As usual The Dalles Picture Boards will be displayed thanks to Gary Conley, Russ McDonald and their crew. The annual meeting begins at 1:00 PM when the Pioneer Man and Women will be honored; and the guest speaker will be John Brookhouse who will be speaking about the city of Celilo.

The 32nd Annual Community Clean Up will take place Saturday, May 4 from 9 to 3 PM in The Dalles. This year the event location has changed to the southwest corner of West 6th and Webber Streets where you can dispose of yard debris and large items such as furniture.

And although it hasn’t been a tradition for nearly as long, at the Center on May 4th from 8:00 – 3:00 PM is the Relay for Life’s annual Parking Lot Sale. There will be goodies of all kinds including clothes, toys, books, and more!

The answer to last week’s question was “Davy, Davy Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier”. I received correct answers (and several nice vocal renditions) from Cheri Brent, who I missed last week, Sue Ortega, Lee Kaseberg, Mary Hass, Laura Comini, Alice Mattox, Morris (I didn’t catch the first name), Lucile Stephens, Jess Birge, Jerry Phillips, Dale Roberts; and Bill Marick and Don Hansen who neither one is willing to give up their coon skin caps but are still winners of a quilt raffle ticket each.

Johnny Carson was the gold standard of late-night talk show hosts. When I attended Purdue University in the late sixties and didn’t have an early morning class, I often stayed up late to watch his Tonight Show monologue and his staple of recurring characters such as Art Fern or Aunt Blabby. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of his most popular character: a "mystic from the East", first introduced in 1964, who could "divine" unknown answers to unseen questions? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a large feathered turban and a cape.

Well, it’s been another week, accepting the mysteries of life. Until we meet again, I’d listen to my body more if it wasn’t always lying.

“Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery.” Erma Bombeck

Aging Well in the Gorge April 24th 2019

The Northwest Cherry Festival is just days away thanks to the hard work of the Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce team. As part of the festivities, the Center is hosting a 50’s Dance sponsored by Flagstone Senior Living on Friday, April 26th. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 6:30 with Randy Haines spinning hits from the 50’s including from his favorite vocalist Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra. The Pines and Freebridge will be providing the beverages. Tickets are $5.00 and will be sold at the door.

Then on Saturday at the Center between 8:00 – 9:30, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, ham, fruit and a beverage for only $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children twelve and under. The crowning of our special guests, the Cherry Festival Royalty, will take place at 8:30. And before everyone leaves for the parade, the drawing for a beautiful handmade quilt will be a 9:00.  It’s all fun down the “Cherry Brick Road”.

Nehemiah Brown will be back for the first of his 2019 performances thanks to the support of The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center. He will be performing on Friday, May 3rd between 11:30 and 1:30 - before and after the Meals-on-Wheels’ noon dinner. With a buttery smooth voice, Nehemiah sings pop, country, and gospel standards from the 50’s and 60’s. There is no cost, but you are welcome to enjoy lunch for a suggested donation of $4.00 for anyone 60 and over or $6.00 for anyone under 60.

Once again, a big thank-you to Bruce and Lori Harris of Today’s Rays for checking and turning on the Center’s irrigation system. Besides the sugar ants making their appearance on my kitchen counter, I always know it’s finally spring when Bruce shows up.

And a quick plug for volunteer drivers. The Meals-on-Wheels program is looking for volunteers to join their loyal cadre of drivers. Every driver can share stories of how they have personally connected with the folks on their route. Besides receiving one nutritious meal a day, the daily connection can make a critical difference in a person’s life.

Also, GOBHI (Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc.) is looking for volunteer drivers for their Non-Emergency Medical Transportation program to better connect eligible community members in need of rides to healthcare providers. Volunteers receive training and support and will be reimbursed at the Federal Rate for travel which I believe is now fifty-eight cents per mile. If you enjoy driving, have a dependable car and like working with folks, call GOBHI at 541-298-2001 or email

The name of a coin-operated music playing device was a Jukebox. I received correct answers from Betty Weston, Jim Ayers, Ron Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Marvin Elsberry, who remembers dropping a dime in 613 to play “Surrender” by the King, and Alice Mattox, the winner of a quilt raffle ticket, who remembers table top jukeboxes at Johnny’s CafĂ©. But I must also mention Betsy Ayers’ answer, Nickelodeon, which she remembers from Teresa Brewer’s #1 hit in 1950 “Put Another Nickel in the Nickelodeon” because “All I want is having you and music, music, music”.

When we can no longer remember where we parked the car - or whether we even drove it, we will probably still be able to spontaneously belt out the Mickey Mouse Club theme song. But there was another song from a 1950’s television mini-series in the same “we will never forget” category that many of us also remember - especially the boys in the audience.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, this popular 1955 ballad was about a frontiersman who was (now this is where you can start singing – but not too loud. Your younger friends may think you have lost it!) "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee/Greenest state in the land of the free/Raised in the woods till he knew ev’ry tree/Kilt him a be ‘are when he was only three/ … king of the wild frontier.” Who was the king of the wild frontier? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer inside a coonskin cap.

Well, it’s been another week, doing what I can with what I have. Until we meet again, every day is a gift – although sometimes hidden, wrapped in a crumpled month-old newspaper.

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.” Cynthia Heimel Writer/Humorist

Aging Well in the Gorge April 17th 2019

When you get behind the wheel in your car, do you really know how far back you should adjust your seat? Or what angle you should position the steering wheel? Or what you should consider when adjusting the mirrors? I don’t. I just make the adjustments based on how it feels, not what might be the safest if I were in an accident.

According to the CarFit organization, older drivers are often the safest drivers: more likely to wear their seatbelts, and less likely to speed or drink and drive. However, older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured when a crash does occur due to the greater fragility of their aging bodies.

During a CarFit event you and your car will go through a 12-point checklist, such as checking your steering wheel tilt and head restraint, distance from your chest to the steering wheel, line of sight above steering wheel, position of gas pedal and brake pedal and operation of your car’s controls.

The CarFit event is this Saturday, April 20th from 10:00 – 2:00. To guarantee a twenty-minute CarFit checkup, call the Center to register; or if you are one of those “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing until I’m doing it” type of person, just show up and they will try to work you in. (I just wish CarFit had a 13th checkpoint: how to avoid the pain in my “buttocks” after driving for two hours. That I would really appreciate!)

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan you might want to see if your plan covers Silver&Fit fitness centers. The Center now belongs to the Silver&Fit fitness network and offers three Silver&Fit classes: Chair Yoga, Strength Yoga and Zumba Gold. Silver&Fit will pay for one class a day and up to twelve in a month. And your first time for each class is FREE.  

The Aging in the Gorge Alliance ts promoting their second community-wide book reading as part of the Dementia Friendly in the Gorge Initiative. The book is Gerda Saunder’s Memory’s Last Breath where she eloquently describes her experiences as her memory worsens. Copies have been distributed to The Dalles/Wasco County library. The Center’s Strong Women’s class will be hosting a discussion group on May 7th at 3:00 PM in the Center’s Deschutes Room to discuss the book and to learn more about how individuals and community organizations can support individuals with dementia, so they are respected and included. You can learn how to become a dementia friend at or call 541-387-6404 or email

I you want to find out what is happening at the Center, check the Center’s website at It is generally up-to-date and 95% correct. (You have to find the 5% that isn’t because I couldn’t. It’s remarkable how often you can’t find your own mistakes.)

The Cleveland disc jockey who in the 1950’s coined the term “ Rock and Roll” to describe the new type of music that was gaining popularity was not Wolfman Jack, Casey Kasem or Dick Clark, which were all good guesses, but Alan Freed who may not be as well-known because his career collapsed after he was caught up in the payola scandal; and later died from alcoholism in 1965 at the age of 43. And the musical group that starred in Rock Around the Clock was Bill Haley and the Comets. I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Cheri Brent and Lana Tepfer but only two knew of Alan Freed: Betsy Ayers and Renee Briggs who will each receive a free quilt raffle ticket. And by the wa, the drawing will be held during the Center’s Cherry Festival Breakfast on Saturday, April 27th.

Before iPods, Walkmans and transistor radios, you could go to the nearest teen hangout, order a milkshake and put a dime in a device to play the latest hit record for you and your friends. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was this coin-operated music playing device called? And was there any special song you remember playing? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a picture of a 1952 Seeburg M100C which was seen in the closing credits for the television comedy series Happy Days.

Well, it’s been another week, looking under the couch for the balls I’ve dropped. Until we meet again, experience the satisfaction of mastering something new no matter how small.  

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” Ann Landers

Aging Well in the Gorge April 10th 2019

Are you interested in receiving periodic volunteer assistance from neighbors in your community? Or are you interested in lending a hand to friends and community members around you? In The Dalles and the surrounding area, the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation is launching a pilot program known as Circles of Care.

Circles of Care matches seniors with trained local volunteers who are available to lend a hand assisting with everyday tasks such as transportation, meals, errands, light cleaning, technology support, friendly check-ins, minor yard and household maintenance and much more!

Circles of Care is a way for older adults to feel supported by local volunteers with various tasks that may have become more challenging to complete. And it gives both older adults and volunteers the opportunity to engage in meaningful connections while bridging generational gaps and strengthening our communities.

In The Dalles we have some of the best independent and assisted living communities. But most of us desire to live in our own homes for as long as we can. It is familiar and less expensive.

But with the increasing number of older adults requiring long term care and the costs growing, alternative models to support older adults in their homes need to be developed. Circles of Care is one such model.

The founder of Circles of Care, Keren Wilson, has an incredible resume. She has over 30 years of experience in long-term care and supportive housing. During the 1980’s she was the principal architect of the Oregon model of assisted living and has founded three assisted living companies. Currently, Keren is President of the Jessie F Richardson Foundation, a charitable organization working on housing and service issues for very low income and hard-to-serve elders.

You can meet her and learn more about the benefits of this innovative program and how to get involved when she speaks about Circles of Care on April 17th at 1:00 PM at the Center.

You probably read about it in the Chronicle several weeks ago but here is a quick reminder about “Bone Soup” - Home at Last’s fundraiser sponsored by Valvoline Instant Oil Change. It is on Saturday, April 13th, from 6-10 pm at the Civic Auditorium and will include a gourmet soup dinner, music, and great auction items. Tickets are $25 advance or $30 at the door. You can purchase tickets by visiting the Home-at-Last website, calling 541-296-5189, or visiting Klindt’s Booksellers or the shelter at 200 River Road. This fundraising event will help Home at Last continue to care for the homeless animals of Wasco and surrounding counties. And could this also be the time to consider adopting a new furry companion?

Last week I mentioned the benefits of walking. Every morning driving to work I see folks out for their “morning constitutional”. The Center would like to start a walking group with a little twist: using Walking Poles - which has been growing in popularity. They provide stability and exercise your upper body if done properly. If you are interested in walking with poles call the Center and we will see what we can get started.

One of the most popular Mouseketeers on the original Mickey Mouse Club and who went on to become a successful American actress and singer was Annette Funicello. (I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Betsy Ayers, Lana Tepfer, Jess Birge, Diana Weston, Jerry Phillips and Jim Heitkemper, winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, and who was born on the same day, month and year as Annette but I don’t believe ever dated her – as far as I know. And last week I was bad - missing both Cheri Brent and Betsy Ayers.

In the 1950’s the term Rock and Roll was coined by a Cleveland disc jockey who during the height of his popularity in 1956 and 1957 was featured in four movies: Don’t Knock the Rock with Little Richard; Rock, Rock, Rock! with Chuck Berry, Mr. Rock and Roll and Rock Around the Clock. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was this disc jockey’s name? And if that question is too difficult, what musical group starred in Rock Around the Clock? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a 1952 ticket to the Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland believed to be the nation’s first-ever rock and roll concert.

Well, it’s been another week, forgetting what I forgot. Until we meet again, keep up the good fight.

“Never forget. We are alive within mysteries.” Wendell Berry, Writer/Farmer

Aging Well in the Gorge April 3rd 2019

No pain - no gain - NO WAY! At our age, the maxim “No Pain - No Gain” should be tossed like an old mini-skirt or flowered bellbottoms: something that was appealing years ago but just doesn’t work today. Signs of pain when we exercise could be a warning of something serious or at least a sign to slow down.

Today instead of forcing ourselves to push through the pain, the challenge is to push through the indifference or apathy when it comes to exercising. I know. For the last several months I have been “thinking” I need to return to that 15-minute exercise program that my PT recommended 2 years ago; and to get back in the pool swimming laps. But I can always find some excuse to postpone it to another day.

One of the simplest activities you can start is walking. Most everyone can do it - even if you need a walker; it doesn’t cost much except for a good pair of shoes; and you can do it with friends which always makes it more enjoyable.

But if you experience any pain, check it out. Chest, shoulder or mid-back or arm pain plus shortness of breath, lightheadedness, or cold sweats are potential signs of a serious cardiovascular problem and you should seek medical attention ASAP. And to avoid pain in your feet, knees or lower back consider complementing your walking by enrolling in one of the strength and flexibility classes offered at Water’s Edge, The Gorge Athletic Club in The Dalles, or at the Center which offers Chair Yoga, Strength Yoga and Strong Women classes.

So start walking and enjoy the fresh air and the cool and sunny days. Just avoid the pain!

CarFit is a free educational program developed in collaboration between AARP, AAA and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Older drivers go through a 12-point checklist with their car to identify ways they can better “fit” in their cars to reduce their risk of injury during a crash. You won’t find the class offered many places in Oregon, but it’s available in The Dalles because of the efforts of Dick Frost the local AARP Smart Driver Instructor. The CarFit event will be held on April 20th from 11:00 – 2:00 in the Center’s parking lot. Dick is also looking for volunteers to help. The volunteer training is April 6th from 11:00 to 3:00 at the Center. For both the CarFit event and the training call the Center at 541-296-4788 to register.

It’s more than three weeks away but pin this on your calendar. The Center has scheduled a 50’s Dance Party on Friday April 26th during the Northwest Cherry Festival with Randy Haines spinning the playlist, 50’s decorations and your favorite beverages supplied by The Pines and Freebridge. The cost is $5.00 per person and the doors open at 6:00.

But we will make sure you don’t stay out too late so you can come back Saturday morning for the Center’s Cherry Festival breakfast with the crowning of the Cherry Festival Royalty and the quilt raffle drawing – all just a part of the Northwest Cherry Festival presented by the fabulous folks at The Dalles Chamber of Commerce. 

The name of the style of telephone first introduced in 1959 and because of its compact design and light up dial was often found in the bedroom was a Princess Phone. I received correct answers from Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Laura Comini, Dennis Morgan, Sandy Haechrel and Tiiu Vahtel the winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Since the Center’s April dance is highlighting the 50’s, this month’s questions will focus on that decade starting with a question about The Mickey Mouse Club televised on ABC for four seasons from 1955 to 1959.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was one of the most popular Mouseketeers of the original Mickey Mouse Club (and I thought the cutest, although Dennis Morgan was keen on Darlene with her pigtails) and who went on to become a successful American actress and singer? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a DVD of the first “Beach Party” movie starring Frankie Avalon.

Well, it’s been another week, having fun while trying to make a difference. Until we meet again, don’t try to clean up the garden all in one day.

“I've been looking over the list of spring chores I made up last fall, and darned if they aren't fall chores, after all.” Robert Breault


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