Aging Well in the Gorge August 19th 2020

As we know, this too shall pass. And when we finally get pass the COVID-19 pandemic with widespread access to vaccines and home administered tests, what will the new normal look like - particularly for us adults over 60 who are the most vulnerable? How do you imagine you will receive health care, travel, shop - and how will the new normal affect your relationships with others?

Bruce Horovitz interviewed geriatric medical doctors, aging experts, futurists and industry specialists for his August 3rd article “What Seniors Can Expect as Their New Normal in a Post-Vaccine World” for Kaiser Health News (www.khn.org), the nation’s leading nonprofit newsroom focused on health and health policy.

According to those experts, here are some predictions of how the new normal might look - particularly for older adults.

To decrease the number of visits to the doctor’s office, one in three visits will be virtual using telemedicine; pharmacies will do more vaccinations; and most intriguing is the possibility that in a few years there will be special devices at home to analyze urine and fecal samples. Oh boy!

More people will avoid flying. Trips less than 800 miles will likely become road trips, and there will be less foreign travel. And when flying, older adults who can afford it will be looking for more room by flying business class, or for a couple paying for three seats so no one is between them. Hotels will market medical care such as advertising a doctor on-site or nearby. And disinfecting will be a marketing tool by having employees visibly wiping everything numerous times. And if you decide to take a cruise, they will require proof of vaccination for both passengers and cruise employees.

Because you know and trust the owners, local eateries will be more popular. Safety and cleanliness will be a selling point - even hiring employees just to wipe down tables, chairs and all high-touch points. And public restrooms will increasingly convert to no-touch toilets, urinals, sinks and entrances/exits.

More older adults will move in with their families instead of assisted living; home delivery of almost everything will become the norm for older Americans; and in-person shopping will become much less common, 

And most distressing, because of the fear of covid-19 and other contagious diseases, more older folks will disengage, becoming more isolated with higher incidences of depression.

How many of these predictions do you think will come true for us older adults in the Gorge? Do you think you will be doing things differently? Less flying, less eating out? Or will you go back to the pre-pandemic normal? I know I will be doing things differently, but for how long, I’m not sure. I guess, time will tell – or whatever my kids tell me I should do!

On Wednesday, August 26th from 7:00 – 8:30, Nehemiah Brown will be performing for the Center’s second Parking Lot Concert. There is no charge, but donations will be appreciated to support the Center during these difficult times. Come early and find a parking spot or bring your lawn chair while keeping six feet from non-family members. And I can’t forget a big thank-you to Cherry Heights Living which is sponsoring the concert.

Quick reminder: Mask Sale & Benefit at the Center this Friday, August 21st and Saturday the 22nd from 10am - 4pm. Adult and children’s masks in multiple prints and in various sizes for $5.

A “doobie” is a euphemism for a marijuana cigarette also called a reefer or joint. I received correct answers from Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Jerry Phillips, Dave Lutgens, Julie Carter and University of Oregon grad Carol Earl who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I don’t know how I could, but I did miss Lana Tepfer from last week.

This African-American spiritual from the civil war was recorded by many artists from Pete Seeger to Harry Belafonte. But in 1960 the recording by the folk band The Highwaymen reached number-one for three weeks. For this week’s “Remember Question”, who rowed the boat ashore? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the Jordan River.

Well, it’s been another week, watching all the trains, boats and planes moving through the Gorge. Until we meet again, as Jorge Barragan said on Facebook, one of life’s joys is being surrounded by your grandchildren.

“You’ve got to have something to eat and a little love in your life. Everything goes smack back to that.” Billie Holiday

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