Aging Well in the Gorge March 25th 2020


Do you feel as if you’re an actor in an episode of Twilight Zone - living in an alternate universe?  

I wish we could change the channel, but this pandemic crisis is real - turning our world upside down: church services and events canceled; volunteers no longer needed; and we are told to stay home and avoid friends. And making it worse, COVID-19 can be spread by people who are asymptomatic, not showing any signs of the virus, making us cautious of anyone we meet. Our usual means of connecting with each other have been eliminated.

But we still need to be connected. My children have called four times in the last week, reminding me, no, more like telling me, to stay home ALL the time. That I can’t do, but I am working from home and if I do go out, I’m maintaining the suggested social distance of six feet (One solution is to carry a six foot walking stick. If you can whack the person, they know they’re too close!)

If you are following the advice of public health officials by staying home and would like someone to talk with – or you have no one to pick up groceries or your medications, you can call Circles of Care at 541-397-0724 or email Gracen at gbookmyer@jfrfoundation.org. Circles of Care is a pilot program in The Dalles that connects older adults who need support with volunteers who can provide that support.

You can also call Meals-on-Wheels. They are still delivering meals but are in desperate need for drivers. An eighth route is being added because of the number of delivered meals has increased to over 140 meals a day. And because of COVID-19, they have lost several drivers who are self-isolating.

At the Center, all classes and activities are now canceled. But if you need help with Medicare, you can still call the local coordinator at 541-288-8341. And if you need medical equipment call me at 541-980-4645 and I can meet you at the Center while maintaining our six feet of separation. (Remember, I’ll be caring my walking stick!)

For many of us, staying home is not easy. Here are ten ideas to consider.

1. Contact five friends by phone, email, or Facebook. They’ll be glad to hear from you.
2. Exercise your brain using the free “Staying Sharp” program found on AARP’s website.
3. Take a walk - even if it’s raining.
4. Work in your garden – it’s also great therapy.
5. Clean house - in both meanings.
6. Learn how to use your Instapot - finally.
7. Draw – you only need a pencil and paper.
8. Practice meditation - there are apps and YouTube videos.
9. Start writing your life story - and it doesn’t all have to be true!
10. Create a disaster plan. Nothing like a real crisis to get you motivated.

This is a time we need to care for each other. Until this dark cloud passes, stay connected, wash your hands and if you do leave your home - take your walking stick.  

The name for the moistened piece of paper rolled into a ball and blown through a straw was called a spit wad or spit ball. I received correct answers from Bud Earl, who taught in The Dalles and who knows intimately about spitwads, Mary Hass, Virginia Johnson, Diane Weston, Jim and Betsy Ayers, Carol Earl, Lana Tepfer who said all the guys loved spitwads but were hated by the girls - except for this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Widge Johnson, who remembers with great pride the days when she could get enough air into her lungs to blast one across a room… and not hit a nun! (Last week I missed Judee Flint and Ronda Spies- again. And my apologies to everyone else I’ve missed.

He hosted his own weekly variety show that featured his most popular character Geraldine Jones who popularized the catchphrase “What you see is what you get”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this comedian who in 1972 was named by Time Magazine as “TV’s first black superstar”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the album The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.

Well, it’s been another week, riding the wave and trying to stay on. Until we meet again, I have found there are two types of people: those who stockpile toilet paper and those who ask, WHY?

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