Aging in the Gorge December 18th 2019

Was it in the 60’s that there was a media frenzy about the “Generation Gap”? And were you one of the boomers who challenged their parents and their generation because they were out of touch, espoused different values, and were too slow responding to crises of the times: the Vietnam war and civil rights? And do you remember the phrase popularized by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin that summarized that time, “Don’t trust anyone over 30”?

Wow, how times have changed. Now we know how our parents felt because today the boomers are being ridiculed with the catchphrase “OK Boomer” used by the Z generation. It mocks boomers for being out-of-touch, close-minded and too slow responding to many of our current crises: climate change and income inequality.

But we should be careful not to encourage this new “generation gap” because we have been there before - and it perpetuates stereotypes of both the young and old: older adults describing today’s younger generations as pampered, unable to work hard, and without meaningful person-to-person relationships because of their smartphones! And young adults characterizing boomers and older generations as unproductive, a drain on society and technologically inept (So I don’t know anything about Tik Tok! Is that a bad thing?)

We do know more about being young than the young know about being old, but it often seems that we have forgotten when young boomers were described as lazy, pot smoking, unpatriotic hippies. And that we did plenty of stupid things – which I am reminded of whenever I see an egg!

The generations do have different life experiences. With age we see the world with all its complexities, vulnerabilities, and challenges that we may not have appreciated when we were younger.

As a society we should appreciate the strengths of each generation. As the boomers have grown older, experiencing their own personal successes, failures and mistakes, they have become who they are - which isn’t all that bad. And so will the younger generations.

As the end of 2019 approaches, this is your last chance to donate to your favorite non-profits to lessen your tax burden while supporting important community organizations. So this year consider contributing to the Oregon Cultural Trust as well. If you make a donation to any of Oregon's arts, heritage and humanities non-profits including twenty-two in Wasco and Sherman Counties (listed at and make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust, you can then claim your contribution to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit. The Oregon Cultural Trust is an innovative public-private fundraising and grant making program that funds local coalitions including the Wasco County Cultural Trust Coalition that annually distributes $500 to $1000 grants to area schools and non-profits which in the past has included the Center.

The name of the singer who pioneered a weekly musical variety television show, but was particularly known for his Christmas television specials beginning on Christmas Eve 1948 was Perry Como affectionately known as Mr. C. I received correct answers from Laura Comini, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Glenna McCargar, Cheri Brent and Izetta Grossman this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And once again I missed several folks last week: Virginia Johnson, Laura Comini, and Barbara Cadwell.

To prepare for Christmas day, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Center will also be closed on New Years Day to celebrate the new year but more importantly to watch University of Oregon play Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

Another Christmas related question, but this one I believe you will find much more challenging. There are many classic children’s Christmas specials from the 60’s that were narrated by well-known actors. For this week’s “Remember When” question answer one of the following three questions correctly. Who was the narrator In Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964)? Who voiced the Grinch in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (1966)? And who narrates and sings the title song in Frosty the Snowman (1969)? You only have to answer one question correctly. Email it to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with the Vince Guaraldi jazz score for the first Peanuts special: A Charlie Brown Special (1965).

Well, it’s been another week, hoping for some “warm” 45 degree days. Until we meet again, as John Fredrick told me, you know you’re getting older when you walk down the high school halls and the students call you “sir”.

Commandment #14 for growing older - You thought growing old would take longer.

Aging Well in the Gorge December 11th 2019

There is a point in your life when you learn to accept the fact you will not live forever - no matter how well you eat, exercise and do all the right things. There will be an end. The question is how do you want to experience your end-of-life journey?

Last week Heart of Hospice spoke at the Center about “Demystifying Hospice” and there was much about hospice services I didn’t know, and you may not know either.

Did you know that hospice is about staying in your own home? Hospice can provide doctors, nurses, care managers, CNAs, social workers, bereavement coordinators and trained volunteer that come to YOU in your home.

Did you know you continue to call the shots? You aren’t forced to do anything. (Except the unavoidable paperwork necessary to qualify.) This is your journey. You are in control. 

Did you know hospice is not just about pain relief?  It is much more. It is enhancing your quality of life by taking the burdens off you and your family by facilitating medical visits, social interactions with friends and family and providing spiritual and emotional support - if desired.

Did you know that you don’t have to worry about who is going to pay? Necessary services are covered with little or no cost to you and paid by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance companies. Think - no co-pays.

Did you know who is eligible for hospice services? There is no exhaustive, black-and-white list of conditions which make a patient hospice-appropriate. Often a doctor can suggest hospice but there are many times when a family requests hospice support. But generally, in order to be eligible for hospice care under Medicare, an individual must be certified as being terminally ill by a physician, with a disease whose prognosis is six months or less if it runs its normal course. There is no limit to the length of time as long as the patient continues to qualify for hospice.

As I learned, hospice is much more about living well than of dying. And as contradictory as it may sound, while your condition may get worse, your life can get better. Learn more about hospice by contacting one of the local hospice providers: Heart of Hospice or Providence Hospice of the Gorge.

There comes a time when you realize, “I don’t need any more stuff!” Instead you want to get rid of possessions. Following that principle, the Center’s is beginning its primary fundraiser: a raffle not for something that may end up on a dusty shelf, but something you can consume in one sitting – or in this case twelve. The Center is offering you THREE chance to win a Meal-a-Month: a $25 gift certificate to twelve different local restaurants. The tickets are $10 each or three for $25.

You can purchase your tickets at the Center. And a perfect time is at the Center’s Holiday breakfast this Saturday, December 14th sponsored by the Center’s neighbor Cherry Heights Living. The breakfast of All-You-Can-Eat French Toast, scramble eggs and sausage, fruit and a beverage will be served from 8:00 – 9:30. The cost is $6.00 or $3.00 for children 12 and under.
The name for the children's toy consisting of small cylindrical wooden objects is Lincoln Logs. I received correct answers form Cheri Brent, Dale and Becky Roberts, Diana Weston, Beverly McKinney, Jerry Phillips, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Virginia Mcclain, Jim Ayers, and Harold Stephens. (Lucile Stephens reminded me of the wooden construction set called Tinkertoys which I had all but forgotten!) And this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Cheri Brent. Last week I missed mentioning Barbara Cadwell and Cheri Brent; and for some unknown cosmic reason I forget to mention the quilt raffle ticket winner: Louise Wooderson.

Remember sitting around the television watching Christmas specials? For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the singer affectionately known as Mr. C who pioneered a weekly musical variety television show, but was particularly known for his Christmas television specials beginning on Christmas Eve 1948? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording of his last Christmas special in 1994 filmed in Ireland.

Well, it’s been another week, thankful for this special season. Until we meet again, take your time during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Commandment #6 for growing older – You’ll have days when your life is just one small tent away from a circus.

Aging Well in the Gorge December 4th 2019

November 19th Sesame Street celebrated it’s fiftieth year on PBS. For my preschool children, Sesame Street was their daily ritual - and one Christmas I even bought my son a three foot tall stuffed Big Bird. (I was also a fan of Big Bird!) But what does that have to do with aging?

I wouldn’t have had a clue until I read “5 Sesame Street Lessons We Need Again As Adults” by Bryce Kirchoff found on the Next Avenue website. So what are these five lessons that can also apply to us old-schoolers?

1. Put Down the Ducky if You Want to Play the Saxophone.
When Muppet Ernie wants to play the saxophone, he learns he must first put down his rubber ducky. If you want to try something new: attending a new exercise class, learning to play the ukulele or reconnecting with an old friend, you often must put down the things that hold you back such as your fears of embarrassment or rejection. 

2. A Sense of Adventure Never Gets Old.
Remember when you were young building forts, playing make believe? As an adult, a sense of adventure may be key to a more rewarding life whether it’s cooking a new meal or learning to ski. (I’ll pass – unless it’s warmer than 50 degrees.) You can be adventurous at any age.

3. Friends Matter.
As an adult, it turns out that friends may actually be lifesavers. Those friendships can encourage healthier behaviors, ward off depression, boost self-esteem and provide support when most needed. As shown on Sesame Street - friends make life better.

4. Celebrate Yourself.
Do you ever wish you could climb into a dryer for ten minutes and come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?  We are often our own worst critic - losing confidence in ourselves to the point of self-paralysis. On Sesame Street children are good at celebrating themselves. Maybe this time we should follow their example.

5. When All Else Fails, Dance. Not everything will go as expected. With the good we can also get our fair share of the bad: an unexpected expense, a difficult diagnosis, or loss of a close friend. So, for the final lesson, sometimes you just have to put it all aside, turn up the music, and just dance, dance, dance.

The Center recently received several donated model plane kits with more coming. I remember gluing together the small plastic pieces of a ’57 Chevy and the smell of the model glue stuck to my fingers. I would like to start a model making club at the Center sometime in February after the winter weather passes. If you are a model enthusiast or just interested, call the Center or email me at

There may be snow on the ground, but this coming February would you like to learn more about plants and gardening? If so, consider becoming an OSU Master Gardener. No gardening experience is necessary, but rather the desire to learn and to garden. And a basic understanding of plants is also helpful. The 2020 Master Gardener training is on Wednesdays from 9:00 – 4:00 pm starting February 19th continuing through April 1st, but you need to register by December 12th. For more information contact Michelle Sager at 541-296-5494 or

The answer to last week’s question was “elbows”. I received correct answers from Jess and Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Michael Carrico, Louise Woodersen - and Lana Tepfer , Cathy Wilson and Karl Vercouteren who remember the old saying (which I never heard before) “Mabel, Mabel young and able. Get those elbows off the table”. And my apologies to Dale Roberts who called last week to enter the correct answer for his wife Becky.
What was your favorite Christmas toy: a Lionel toy train, Raggedy Ann doll, Radio Flyer wagon, or the Candy Land game?  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for the children's toy consisting of square-notched small cylindrical wooden objects used to build small forts and buildings? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of John Lloyd Wright, the second son of the well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who invented this toy around 1916.

Commandment #10 for growing older, “#10 – “Lately, you've noticed people your age are so much older than you.”

Well, it’s been another week, trying to ask more questions - since I already know what I know. Until we meet again, keep your light burning bright during these overcast days of winter.

Aging Well in the Gorge November 27 2019

As we enter the holiday season, a time to be thankful for our bounty and to share it with others, there are many who find this time difficult because of memories of past holiday seasons, isolation, and loneliness triggering seasonal depression or the Holiday Blues. In fact, an estimated six million Americans over the age of 65 have reported feeling down during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. But there are ways you can help.

Last week when I was on the Coffeebreak with Karees Reilly, Director of Sales and Marketing for Flagstone Senior Living, she shared four tips from Milestone Retirement about how to help your older loved ones avoid the Holiday Blues – and can also be used for supporting our family and friends of all ages during the holidays.

1. Take time to smell the turkey. The holiday season can be a stressful, busy time: running around purchasing gifts, putting up the Christmas decorations, cooking that special meal. But try not to let your daily to-do list get in the way of spending time with older family members. Remember, something as simple as a fifteen-minute phone call can brighten someone’s day.

2. The more the merrier. The holidays take preparation. And there is plenty to do. Avoid the habit of trying to do everything by yourself. Instead, ask your parents, children or friends to assist you. It’s always more fun to do things together than alone.

3. Make someone else's holiday special. Try volunteering with your loved one. There are many holiday activities needing volunteers. For example, you could help clean up after the Community Thanksgiving Dinner organized by the Salvation Army. And there is the ELFF (Everyone Loves a Firefighter) canned food drive that needs folks to collect and sort the donated food items between 6:00 and 9:00 on December 3 – 5. To learn how to volunteer, call MCFR at 541-296-9445. 

4. Celebrate the present, but don’t forget the past. Many older adults suffering from the Holiday Blues are mourning the loss of loved ones and aren’t ready to make new holiday memories without them. You can pay special remembrance to family members who have passed away by looking at old photos, making their favorite foods, or going around the room and sharing your favorite memories about them. By acknowledging deceased family members, you remind your loved ones that although the people who played such crucial roles in their holiday memories are gone, they’re certainly not forgotten.

During this holiday season, life’s difficulties can take center stage. We all struggle with our own personal challenges, and yet if you take time, you’ll find much to be thankful for. I wish you the very best and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Save the date. The Center invites you to its annual Holiday Breakfast from 8:00 – 9:30 on December 14th serving all-you-can-eat French Toast, sausage, and scrambled eggs, plus fruit, juice and coffee. $6.00 and $3.00 for children twelve and under.

The American ballroom dancer and businessman whose name is most often associated with the dance studio chain that bears his name is Arthur Murray. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Carol Earl, Jim Ayers, Sherry Dufault, Rhonda Spies, Doreen Bryant and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Barbara Cadwell whose sister worked at an Arthur Murray studio in Calgary, Alberta right after she graduated from high school. But had to find another job when she married because at that time, they didn’t allow married women to teach. And last week I missed Virginia McClain Delores Schrader.

Remember the sayings describing good manners which aren’t always followed anymore? "Never brag about yourself", "Leave a place as you found it", and “Always put the toilet seat down” – sorry, that last one was one of my wife’s commandments!

Here is one I was told when growing up, but these days I often ignore, (and no it is not “Keep your mouth shut when chewing”). For this week’s “Remember When” question, what are you not supposed to put on the table when eating? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of a family dinner scene from Father Knows Best.

Well, it’s been another week, listening to the geese chatter as they fly south. Until we meet again, you know you are getting old when someone mentions a television rerun and you remember watching the show when it first aired.

“Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.”  Catherine Pulsifer


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