Aging Well in the Gorge June 17th 2020


Remember when you were younger? You did some really stupid things - taking risks you would never contemplate today. Why did I climb that 30 ft ladder to work on the roof? Why did I hitchhike from Eugene to Los Angeles? Why did I feel I like I needed to eat the WHOLE pizza?

We know life is not without risks and during this pandemic we are constantly asking ourselves, “What level of risk am I willing to accept?” Do I venture out for groceries, to attend church, or fly out of state to attend a sister’s funeral? Those are tough decisions.

But the most difficult question is what level of risk are we going to accept as a community, state or nation so we can safely get back to work and our daily lives?

During this pandemic many have questioned the requirements that have been enacted placing millions of people on unemployment and curtailing many if not most of our usual activities. Why were all non-essential services shut down? Why did I have to stay home? Why did I have to pump my own gas? (Okay, that’s just my wife’s question!)

But consider what most of us do every day where we accept a level of risk so we can work, play and visit: driving.

Driving is a risky business - over 489 motorists died in Oregon last year. But to reduce the level of risk, Oregon has passed laws making driving safer: speed limits, stop signs, seat belts, and rules against driving while intoxicated. And when the risk is too high and the ability to respond is inadequate, every winter we know what happens. The roads are closed.

You may say the chances of dying from covid-19 are remote, but so is dying from a motor vehicle accident. Why? Because we accept and follow the safe driving practices so we can protect ourselves and others.

Just as Oregon works to make driving safer, during the pandemic Oregon has instituted measures based on the best science to reduce the risk of being infected, hospitalized or even dying from COVID-10: staying home, social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand washing.

So, what level of risk are we, as in all of us, going to accept knowing that ninety-three percent of all covid-19 deaths in Oregon have been adults sixty and older. Three hundred? Six hundred? One thousand? Or is one too many when it is a loved one,

On our highways we know that one irresponsible driver can harm anyone of us. And to feel safer, we follow the rules of the road and safe driving practices and hope everyone else does also. But do we feel the same about COVID-19 and follow the recommendations of our public health departments?

Life will never be without risk. Sadly, people will die. But what level should we accept so we can work, recreate and enjoy our lives? I don’t know. But we may soon find out.

Staying connected is essential for our health and well-being. Fortunately, today when we should be staying home as much as possible, we can connect by making video calls – although, granted, it isn’t the same as meeting in person. But how many older adults are interested? To gauge that interest, please complete a short Tech Survey on the Center’s Website. Or call the Center at 541-296-4788 and leave a message that you are interested. As long as there isn’t an effective vaccine or treatment, I think we’re in this for the long haul.

Back when the tobacco companies argued that cigarettes were safe, this tobacco advertising campaign was one of most widely recognized. For this “Remember When” question, what cigarette brand “tastes good like a cigarette should”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with an explanation of the grammatical difference between “as” and “like”.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry" was from Love Story the 1970 top-selling novel by Erick Segal that was adapted into the number one film in 1970 starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Tina Castanares and Dave Lutgens this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Michael Carrico.

Well, it’s been another week, distracted by too many distractions. Until we meet again, reach out and call somebody. They’ll appreciate it.

“No one ever makes the same mistake twice. The first time it’s a mistake. Anytime after that, it’s a choice.” Mark Twain

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