Aging Well in the Gorge July 31st 2019

As we grow older, we really can’t imagine what it will be like. Okay, maybe we can: working in the garden or the shop at our own home; traveling across the country visiting grandkids; or just relaxing with not a cloud in the sky or a worry to fret about. But the older we get the better we know that may not be exactly how it turns out. There will be plenty of good times and great experiences, but there will be potholes and detours along the way. As my 97 year old relative who is recovering from his second broken hip said, “This is not what I expected”.

To prepare for the unexpected, Robert Mauterstock posted on the Forbes website “Three Important Questions You Must Ask Your Aging Parents”. But considering that many of you are the aging parents, I suggest asking yourself these questions or initiating the discussion with your adult children. I know they may want to avoid thinking about your future. But let’s face it, denial is not a good strategy.

The first question is: “If one of you becomes disabled or requires long term care, where do you plan to live?” If the answer is your home, how accessible is it? Are there stairs? Are the doors wide enough for a wheelchair or walker if needed?

The second question is: “If one of you needs continuing care, who will provide it?
Who is going to take care of the one in need of care? The other spouse, one of the adult children? Does everyone understand what it means to be a caregiver particularly 24/7? And if outside help is needed what are the costs?

Which leads to the third and last question. “If one of you needs long term care, how do you expect to pay for that care? Long term care insurance? But there are conditions and limitations, and most people don’t carry that kind of insurance. Medicare? Contrary to what many people believe, Medicare doesn’t pay for long term care. So, most likely long term care will have to be paid by personal resources until those resources are spent down to when the person qualifies for Medicaid.

We don’t know what to expect but the unexpected. And discussing these questions with your spouse, adult children, or loved ones now instead of later will give you a clearer understanding of what your options are so you will be better prepared to meet your future long term care needs.

Now time for a pop quiz from last week’s lesson. This is a self-graded test, but If you pass, you can be confident that you haven’t totally lost it! #1. Here are the answers from last week, but what were the three questions? Snowing, sowing, owing, wing, win, in, I. The numbers are ordered alphabetically based on their English spelling. 40 dollars. #2 When will Nicole Pashek be speaking at the Center on “Normal Memory Loss and Aging”? #3 What were the three words I wanted to remember during my health assessment?

Last week’s question was a tough one, but the name of the fortified diet drink introduced in the early 1960’s that I was thinking of was not Tang (which Julie Carter and Mike Carrico answered and I remember my family drinking because it was what the astronauts drank), but Metracal. I only received two correct answers (if I didn’t miss anyone) from Lana Tepfer and Elaine Lee this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Carol Earl.

During the 50’s and 60’s there were fewer airlines and flying was twice as expensive. But in 1978 the Airline Deregulation Act passed which changed the commercial flying landscape and not all airlines were able to survive. For this week’s “Remember When” question what airline was founded in 1930 and in its heyday carried the most transatlantic passengers of any airline, but in 2001 ceased operations ten years after its rival Pan American World Airways filed for bankruptcy? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a picture of Howard Hughes who acquired control in 1939 after which the airline became known as the “airline of the stars”.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to steer my way through the rapids to clear water. Until we meet again, don’t let feeling tired always keep you from doing what you want to do.

“Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life.” Kitty O’Neill Collins

Aging Well in the Gorge July 24th 2019

If you’re like me, you worry about memory loss: can’t remember a friend’s name; where you parked the car or why is my banana in the freezer? But memory loss can have more serious consequences: forgetting to turn off the stove or taking your medications.

So how do you know if your memory loss is normal or an indication of future difficulties? One method is a simple memory test such as I was given during my in-home health assessment provided by my Medicare Advantage Plan.

During the health assessment, I was asked to repeat three words: dog, couch, pizza. And since I’m concerned about my memory, I knew I had better remember those three words because I would be asked to repeat them later. But I was prepared!

I knew from the Center’s Brain Fitness Club a good technique to remember several words is to visualize them together. So, I created a mental picture of a “DOG, lying on a COUCH eating PIZZA”. (It also pictured quite a mess and my wife really wasn’t happy!)

I was then asked several more questions testing my memory: what day is it? what time does a picture of a clock without the numerals represent? I answered them both correctly as I kept mentally focused on a picture of a “DOG on COUCH eating PIZZA”.

There were more general health related questions and I seemed to remember being told what vaccines the “DOG on the COUCH eating PIZZA” needed and something about an Advanced Directive that all “DOGS on COUCHES eating PIZZA” should have.

As expected at the end of my interview I was asked to repeat those three words and I calmly answered, “WIFE chasing me around LIVING ROOM with a BROOM!”. No, that’s the wrong picture. It’s “DOG on a COUCH eating PIZZA”.

The good news is I passed the memory test. But unfortunately, if you asked me to repeat anything else I was told - I wouldn’t have a clue.

If you are concerned about your own memory (and who isn’t), you will want to attend Nicole Pashek’s presentation about “Normal Memory Loss and Aging” on Wednesday, August 7th at 11:00 at the Center. Write it down!

Until then here are three riddles to work your brain’s neurons and synapses. (Answers will be in next week’s column or you can find them on the Center’s website:

#1. One snowy morning, Jane awoke to find that her bedroom window was misty with condensation. She drew the word "SNOWING" on it with her finger. Then she crossed out the letter N, turning it into another English word: "SOWING." She continued this way, removing one letter at a time, until there was just one letter remaining, which is itself a word. What words did Jane make, and in what order?

#2. The Number Row. The numbers one through 10, below, are listed in the following order: 8 5 4 9 1 7 6 10 3 2. What is the rule that causes them to be in this order? (Hint - don’t think mathematically.)

#3. Counting Bills. I had a wad of money in my pocket. I gave half away and of what remained, I spent half. Then, I lost five dollars. That left me with just five bucks. How much money did I start with?

The Danny Thomas Show ran on CBS from 1957 through 1964, but it first aired on ABC in 1953 as Make Room for Daddy. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Alice Mattox, Cheri Brent, Beverly McKinney, Mike Carrico, Jess Birge, Betsy Ayres and Debra Sorrels this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I enjoy scanning the advertisements in magazines from the 50’s and 60’s and reminiscing about some of the products that have faded away. Jean Hockman and I were doing just that when looking through a Life magazine, Jean came across an advertisement for a popular diet product - before the days of Slimfast.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this brand of diet drink introduced in the early 1960’s that originally came as a powder fortified with vitamins and minerals which was to be mixed with water? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with the November 20th, 1964 edition of Life magazine.

Well, it’s been another week, keeping my cool. Until we meet again, if you are going to walk on the moon you have to get there first.

“I am never upset for the reason I think.” Helen Schueman

Aging Well in the Gorge July 17th 2019

Does anyone have a crystal ball I could borrow? Because wouldn’t it be nice to know what our future looks like so we could be better prepared – but on the other hand maybe not? Well, I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

But we don’t know what unexpected events may come our way; what’s going to slap us across the face. We’d like to consider what we would do if we won the Power Ball jackpot (And when you do, the Center, Meals-on-Wheels and other non-profits are always looking for donations!) rather than what we would do if there was a train derailment or a threatening forest fire. So, we don’t prepare believing it won’t happen to us until the unexpected happens and it does.

Let’s take a minute then to think about this situation. If there was an emergency and you had to leave your home immediately with all your important documents, what documents would you take?

Here is a list of documents from an article Donnamae Grannemann emailed me titled “Key Documents You Need to Take with You in an Emergency” that the author suggests putting together in an easily accessible Go-To-File.

1.) Important contacts such as family members, doctors, dentist, lawyer, insurance broker and other key resources.

2.) Cash because if the power goes down and the ATM’s and other machines no longer work you won’t have time to find all your extra cash you have hidden around the house.

3.) Identification records such as original documents of your birth certificate, passport and Social Security card. (I am assuming you are always caring your driver’s license, bank and credit cards, and health insurance identification cards.)

4.) A video of your residence and possessions which you can easily record using your cell phone camera.

5.) Copies of your insurance policies, especially for home and auto insurance, to contact your insurer if you need to start a claim.

6.) Recent financial statements such as your most recent statements from your credit card companies, banks, brokerage firm, retirement accounts, car loan and company in case you also need to contact them.

7.) Tax returns - at least the last three years.

8.) Legal documents such as your car registration and car title; your property deed and mortgage papers; as well as your will, power of attorney, and other legal documents.

And let me add one more item that wasn’t mentioned in the article, but I would be up a deep creek if I lost them – my passwords! How many times have I forgotten my Apple or Google password and had to go to my little black book to find it? As we do more of our business online, knowing our passwords is essential.

Having these important documents in a Go-To-File is not only helpful in emergencies, it is just a good idea for any unexpected situation. If you and your spouse or loved ones know where to find the information, it can save you and your family from additional stress that you don’t need during difficult times. If you want to learn more, you can find the complete article on the Center’s website at

The baseball coach who led the New York Yankees to nine World Series during the 1950’s and returned to coach the expansion team New York Mets in 1962 (who won only forty games and lost 120 games that first season) was Casey Stengel. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Jim Ayres, Mike Carrico, Jess Birge, Tiiu Vahtel, Jack Lorts, Doug Bloomdahl and Rhonda Austin who wins a free quilt raffle ticket for her persistence.

Let’s dial the time machine back to the 1950‘s again, but this time looking at the fast growing medium: television. From 1957 through 1964, the Danny Thomas Show was usually one of the top ten shows on television. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the original title for the show when it first aired in 1954? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the back of a picture of Angela Cartwright who played Danny’s adopted daughter.

Well, it’s been another week, dodging arrows that keep coming.  Until we meet again, you discover at a certain age modesty is no longer something you can afford so you might as well wrap it up and mail it to your 18-year-old granddaughter who could probably use it.

“Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.” Mel Brooks

Aging Well in the Gorge July 10th 2019

Are you living with several chronic conditions - conditions that won’t go away and you have just learned to live with? A 2017 study by Rand Health showed that over 82% of adults 65 and older have more than one chronic condition that range from an irritant to life threatening.

But living with a serious chronic condition for years is a struggle and each person finds their own way to cope. Such was the case for Carole Anderson who turned to writing and painting to support her healing for over thirteen years after being diagnosed with Lymphoma.

To share her story of the healing power of art, Carole, Corliss Marsh and Scott Stephenson, the new director of The Dalles Art Center, have created a fascinating ongoing and evolving exhibition this month at the Art Center called “In Process: My Handmade Life”. The exhibition features writings and paintings from Carole’s book My Handmade Life which she hopes will provide encouragement and comfort for others living with cancer or another serious chronic condition. The opening reception was last week, but at the Art Center on July 11th from 5:30-7:30 pm, you can hear Carole read excerpts from her book as well as view many of her paintings.

This exhibit is both an opportunity for Carole to share her story of living life with a chronic illness which she describes as a patchwork quilt; and an opportunity to build community. And this is where you can participate. Using the idea of a quilt, you are invited to add your own personal thoughts and feelings to a community quilt that will hold the individual experiences within a community.
To create this community quilt, you are invited to “sew-ins” on every Thursday in July from 1:00 – 4:00 led by local quilt maker, Corliss Marsh. Everything will be provided to create your own quilt block that will be added to the quilt. And if you want to keep your thoughts private, you can write them on a sheet of paper that will be used as the batting for the quilt. Upon completion at the end of July, the community quilt will be permanently displayed at the Art Center.

I hope you will find time to hear Carole’s story and participate in this inspiring community-building exhibition that is a work in process. Visit Facebook (The Dalles Art Center) and Instagram (@thedallesartcenter) for more information.

The Center is offering trips during the summer and the Center’s next trip will be on Thursday, July 18th to the Old Aurora Colony Museum. You will have a chance to explore the five-building museum complex including: the Ox Barn, Steinbach Cabin, Kraus House, Will Family Summer Kitchen and Tie Shed. The cost is $45 which covers the transportation and admission. If you want to take the Guided Tour that will be an additional $5.00. For lunch there will be a stop at the Filbert’s Farmhouse Kitchen where you can order off the menu. Call the Center to sign up.

The name the 1963 hit song whose lyrics were so unintelligible they were thought to be obscene and consequently banned in several places was “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen. And the other band that recorded “Louie, Louie” in the same studio (411 S.W. 13th Avenue in Portland) and around a week later was Paul Revere and the Raiders. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Cheri Brent, Mike Carrico, Mark Bartel, and Jim Heitkemper this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I missed Carol Earl from last week.

Baseball was a big part of many boys lives back in the day: throwing a baseball back and forth with your dad or listening to the baseball world series during school. So how about a question about “America’s Pastime”?

The New York Yankees were dominant in the 50’s playing in nine World Series and winning seven of them. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was their coach that said after being fired by the Yankees in 1960 “I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again”? And for bonus points, when he returned to major league coaching in 1962 which expansion team did he coach? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a 1963 Topps baseball card of "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the beautiful days in the Gorge.  Until we meet again, keep writing your own life story.

“God invented mankind because he loved silly stories.” Ralph Steadman, illustrator

Aging Well in The Gorge July 3rd 2019

Laughter can be a life saver as we age. As the teacher and writer Bel Kaufman wrote, “Laughter keeps you healthy. You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy. You can’t laugh and be angry, you can’t laugh and feel sad, you can’t laugh and feel envious.”

I always enjoy a good laugh particularly at my expense, But some of the humor about aging portrays older adults as incapable and out of touch: at home after lunch snoring in an over-stuffed chair, still trying to learn Windows XP, or constantly forgetting their car keys. But we know these perceptions aren’t true. (Okay it was embarrassing when I was on the Coffeebreak last week and I couldn’t remember the Center’s phone number. But give me a break. I don’t often call the Center!)

But if the underlying assumptions of these jokes are accepted, they reinforce the negative perception of older adults - and the awe-inspiring stories of super seniors are just the exceptions that prove the rule.

Worse though is these stereotypical beliefs about older adults can affect how we perceive ourselves and affecting our confidence, so some mistake we wouldn’t even thought about years ago, becomes another indication of our declining abilities.

Sadly, this self-doubt can limit us. We may choose to stop volunteering afraid of making mistakes or stop walking afraid of falling or avoid new experiences because we are afraid of looking foolish.

As we age, we all know there are many challenges, but we needn’t underestimate ourselves but see ourselves as capable, so when there is an obstacle or even an opportunity, we can face it with confidence

As the actor Alan Alda said “Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. “

So periodically I will share a joke I feel projects a positive view of aging. Here is one which demonstrates the cunning of older adults.

One day a police car pulled up to Granny’s home and Grampy got out. The deputy explained that this elderly gentleman had said he was lost in the park.

“Why sad Igor,” said Granny. “You’ve been going there for more than 30 years! How on earth could you say you got lost?”

Leaning close to Granny so the police officer couldn’t hear, he whispers, “Wasn’t exactly lost. I was just too tired to walk home.”

One of the Center’s most popular programs is the medical equipment loan closet. On the average, the Center receives four requests a day, but recently we have not been able to fill many of the requests because the Center’s cupboards are practically bare (except for walkers which we always seem to have). If you have any borrowed medical equipment you no longer are using just drop it off at the Center. And if you have any medical equipment you no longer need, we would certainly appreciate the donation.

Before I enter the home stretch, a quick reminder. The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be open July 4th but closed on July 5th and there will not be Bingo on the 4th or 6th.

Tommy James and the Shondells sang about their baby doing the “Hanky Panky” which was the title of their 1966 number one hit song. I received correct answers from Mark Bartel, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Jerry Phillips, Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, and someone I’ve forgotten but who once I remember will be the winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I was pretty na├»ve growing up and it wasn’t until my adult years while listening to an oldie-but-goldie by the Starlight Vocal Band I realized “Oh, that’s what ‘afternoon delight’ means!” There have been many controversial songs including this 1963 hit whose lyrics were so unintelligible they were thought to be obscene and was banned by several localities including my home state of Indiana.

For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of that ever-popular party song produced by Ken Chase, a Portland radio personality on KISN radio? And for bonus points what two Portland bands recorded the song? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the back of a photo of the plaque placed by the City of Portland at 411 SW 13th Avenue.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep life in perspective.  Until we meet again, stay safe and enjoy a wonderful Independence Day.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles Schulz


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