Aging Well in the Gorge September 2nd 2020

How are you coping? A study from the think tank AgeWave and investment company Edward Jones, surveyed 9,000 people in the U.S. and Canada across five generations and guess who is doing the best? Older adults!  

When asked how well they were coping with the impacts of COVID-19, 39% of the Silent Generation (ages 75+) and 33% of boomers (56-74) surveyed said “very well,” which decreased to 29% for Generation X (40-55), 26% for millennials (24-39) and 31% for Gen Z (18-23). And on the other side of the coin, 24% of the millennials and Gen Zers answered “not well,” compared to 15% of Gen X, 12% of the boomers and just 5% of the Silent Generation surveyed.

Why is that? Not because we are living the life of Riley - although some of us may be, but because most of us no longer have kids at home, worry about losing our job or how to care for our family while working from home. And we have Social Security and Medicare to lean on during these difficult times.

But not all older adults are doing well. If you know someone who is struggling with the isolation caused by COVID-19, there are resources that can help.

If someone feels lonely and wants to talk to someone, they can call Circles of Care at 541-397-0724; or the Oregon Warmline at 1-800-698-2392 to speak with a trained peer. And if someone is concerned their health and well-being might be declining because of loneliness/isolation, they can call Oregon Senior Peer Outreach at 1-833-736-4676 or visit their website at https://communitycounselingsolutions.org/senior-outreach/.

Throughout our lives we have learned how to deal with adversity and to focus on the silver lining. But if you do find life overwhelming, there are available resources. We know this too shall pass - and although at times it may be hard to imagine, there are good times ahead.

As we continue to navigate through this pandemic, I  want to acknowledge the incredible work the public health departments are doing to reduce the spread of the virus - particularly the two I’m familiar with: the North Central Public Health District and the Hood River County Health Department. They are skilled professionals, living in our communities, working seven days a week doing what needs to be done: contact tracing, supporting those who are quarantined and keeping the public informed. Thank-you!

AgePlus in partnership with organizations working with older adults in the Gorge, has received a grant from the Oregon Health Authority to reach out and support older adults during this pandemic. To help with this important work, we are looking for volunteers willing to call older adults – a perfect opportunity for anyone who doesn’t want to leave their house. If you would like to help, call the Center at 541-296-4788 or email me at mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

If you passed over the column “Through the Eyes of an Elder” in today’s paper go back and check it out. Once a month you will learn about important matters from the perspective of older adults in our communities. This month Britta Willson writes about Age-Friendly Communities - and it is worth reading.

On a beautiful Wednesday night, Nehemiah Brown performed at the Center, singing standards from the 50’s and 60’s including several songs from this popular singer. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the country western singer/songwriter known as “Gentleman Jim” that recorded hits including “He’ll Have to Go”, “Four Walls” and the “Blue Side of Lonesome”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a recording of the Louisiana Hayride – a radio and television country music show broadcast from Shreveport, Louisiana.

The comic strip first published in 1950, created by Mort Walker and featuring an army private and his superior officer, Sergeant Snorkel was “Beatle Bailey”. I received correct answers from Bob Sallee, Diane Weston, Ken Olsson, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu Vahtel, Jess Birge, Sandy Haechrel, Laura Starrett and this week’s winner of quilt raffle ticket Florence Harty who has the book "The Best of Beetle Bailey” signed by Mort Walker.

Well, it’s been another week, looking forward to more brisk morning walks. Until we meet again, don’t let pride keep you from asking for help.

“I’m sixty-five and I guess that puts me in with the geriatrics. But if there were fifteen months in every year, I’d only be forty-eight. That’s the trouble with us: We number everything.” James Thurber


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