Aging Well in the Gorge April 14th 2021

“There are only four kinds of people in the world — those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Those words were spoken by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and I’m sure many of you or even most of you have been in one of those situations.

During the pandemic, one segment of the labor force, dedicated, skilled, and yet largely undervalued and unappreciated, is frontline care professionals such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides, personal care attendants, and dietary aides. Working where people live, they are essential to the health and well-being of millions of older adults who are most at risk from COVID-19. In addition to the care, over the last year they provided the only companionship for many isolated older adults despite their concerns for their personal health.

They are the unsung heroes who have shown up every day, rising to the great challenges of these difficult times. And increasingly, those of us who will need care, which will be many of us, will be relying upon these essential care professionals in the future.

There will be a special tribute to the dedicated frontline care professionals during this year's Ageless Awards celebration hosted by Age+. The Ageless Awards celebrates older adults 75+ and their lifelong commitment to their communities across Oregon. It will be held virtually on April 22nd, 12:00 - 1:00 (pre-show at 11:30). You can register online at

AGE+ is a non-profit organization creating innovative solutions to improve the lives of older adults with a particular emphasis on rural communities. Two years ago Age+ introduced Circles of Care in Wasco County (541-397-0724) similar to Providence’s Volunteers in Action in Hood River and Klickitat County (541-387-6404) that pairs older adults with local volunteers that provide social and emotional connections, as well as help with everyday tasks – although their services have been limited because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Also during the pandemic, Age+ has been supporting community-based organizations in the Gorge that are providing education and outreach to older adults about COVID-19 and the importance of being vaccinated to stop the pandemic.

I found last year’s celebration inspiring. I hope you will attend this year’s event honoring both older adults who continue to contribute in so many ways and the dedicated frontline care professionals in our communities.

A short interlude with comedian Steven Wright before the grand finale.

“Someone asked me if I were stranded on a desert island what book would I bring... 'How to Build a Boat.'”

“There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”

“I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”

The  American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert, who had his own television show from 1953 – 1985 was Jack LaLanne. I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Beverly Harmon, Jay Waterbury, Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Kim Birge, Gene Uczen, Rose Schulz, Margo Dameier, Dave Lutgens, Jim Tindall, Carol Earl, Jennifer Stager, Linda Frizzell, Carl Trabant, and Barb Blair who worked as an Instructor at Jack La Lanne's European Health Spa in California and is this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And I’ve missed Joan Chantler and Rose Schulz whose name was written on that missing scrap of paper.

Many of you probably remember playing this “kissing” game (although whenever it was mentioned I would immediately disappear) popular among young teenagers, although apparently, its popularity has declined since the 1980s. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this game described as "the party game of choice for glandularly excited high schoolers" where you sat in a circle and – well, that’s all I’m going to say. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with the story behind your first kiss!

Well, it has been another week, making it up as I go. Until we meet again, everyone has a piece of the truth - although for some you have to listen really hard!

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end.” From the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Aging Well in the Gorge April 7th 2021

 All of us want to stop this tragic pandemic and get back to some form of normalcy. But how? 

At the beginning of the pandemic, we knew little about this new virus as it was spreading worldwide. Since those early days, there is much we have learned and much we are still learning about the novel COVID-19 and how best to keep people safe. Here is what I understand.

1.) More than 142 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been administered in the U.S. as of March 30. 

2.) With continuing research and monitoring, understanding of the virus and vaccines will change and consequently CDC recommendations. (Check the CDC website for the latest recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.)

3.) People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. (Yeah!) But in public places should continue to take precautions. 

4.) All three vaccines are safe and effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines effectively prevented coronavirus infections.

5.) To achieve herd immunity, which will end the pandemic, a large portion of the population needs to be vaccinated although no one is sure what the percentage is.

6.) And most concerning, new mutant variants are appearing. But the COVID-19 virus can only mutate when they multiply and only multiply when they spread from person to person. 

The best way to stop the pandemic is by getting as many people of all ages vaccinated and following the precautions we all know. By taking these actions it will make us safer, help avoid new resilient mutations, protect those who cannot be vaccinated, and reach herd immunity. The end is in sight. I want to make sure it isn’t a mirage. 

April 5th through the 11th is National Public Health week recognizing how hard our public health departments are working with community partners to meet the COVID-19 challenge of vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible. 


But that is not the only work they do. They continue to offer a variety of services that include protecting our drinking water and ensuring the safety of local dining establishments, providing nutrition programs for women, infants and children, and offering immunizations. A big THANK-YOU to the health departments that are working to protect the health of our communities and save lives. 

“The Show Must Go On!” an online auction and fundraiser for the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association will be held from 9am on April 8 until 9pm on April 11th

The event features almost 100 items: from the fine art of local artists to delicious and creative dining experiences. Also, the fundraiser will feature a performance by legendary Portland jazz pianist Tom Grant and a brand new virtual performance by the CGOA Jazz Collective. You can register for the auction at the CGOA website where you can also learn about their classes and an online performance of Fantastiks!

The name of the excessively optimistic young girl was Pollyanna. I received correct answers from Rusti Starr, Steven Woolpert, Tina Castanares, Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Julie Carter, Gene Uczen, Linda Frizzell, Margo Dameier, Lana Tepfer, Pat Evenson-Brady, and Susan Ellis this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Irene Kurzweil, Cindy Winfield, Emmett Sampson, and I’m sure there is someone else’s name written on a scrap of paper hidden among papers on my cluttered desk. 

This week’s “Remember When” question is about a bodybuilder who some consider the “first fitness superhero”. Who was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert, who opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in 1936, and had his own television show from 1953 – 1985? (Hint: It wasn’t Charles Atlas) Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with the 1959 record “Glamour Stretcher Time” with the original instruction sheet.

Well, it has been another week, enjoying the cool mornings and sunny days. Until we meet again, these are the times when I feel safer being part of the herd. 

“Losing weight doesn't seem to be working for me, so from now on I'm going to concentrate on getting taller.” Anonymous  

Aging Well in the Gorge March 31st 2021

 Have you traveled less during the pandemicMy wife and I have until we were vaccinated, and felt safe enough to drive to Seaside to spend a night at the coast and walk along the too cold and windy beach. It was the first time we had driven past Hood River in fourteen months! 


Since you have probably been on the road lessyou may be a little rusty: not as quick in the driver’s seat. When we get olderwe naturally slow down which is a good thing. We aren’t rushing around to get from here to there knowing we will get there eventually. So why rush? (Although our more deliberate driving may drive those younger drivers nuts!)  


Drivers of all ages need to keep up their defensive driving skills because driving is difficultThink about itYou must see, think, react and move your body and often all at the same time! It’s not like you can take a nap – although often I feel like it. 


So how do you keep yourself mentally and physically fit to drive safely? Nancy Dunham in her online AARP article “How to Preserve Your Driving Skills When You're Driving Less” suggests three tips to make sure you're ready to drive defensively. 


Move. Keep moving whether around the house or taking walks outside. In next week’s Through the Eyes of an Elder Claire Culbertson describes from her experience one option: the Strong Women/Strong Peopleclass available online until the class can be taught in-personThe Strong Women/Strong Peopleclass keeps you connected while building strength and improving flexibility (which you might want to think about if you are having a late-life crisis with an insatiable desire to buy that cool little sports car until you realize you have neither the flexibility nor the strength to get in and out of your low riding dream machine.) 


React. Many online games allow you to practice reacting — including the driving simulator Drive With Focus which you can purchase for most tablets and enables you to practice your skills without getting behind the wheel. You can also play online games that require quick thinking. I’m not into the “shoot um up, bang, bang” video games I see advertised, but many video games can give you a chance to improve your reaction skills. 


Focus, analyze, and remember. This is more up my alley. I subscribe to Brain HQ but there are other programs out there such as CogniFit and Luminosity that will improve your ability to concentrate, analyze and think quicklyThere is also the free online game Spot the Differenceand AARP’s Staying Sharp is an excellent resource with brain games and articles on brain health.  


As we age, particularly during the pandemic, we need to continue working on keeping our skills sharp both cognitively and physically. Try some of the online resources until when Dick Frost once again teaches the Smart Driver class in person. 


The name of thcraze that was one of the biggest and strangest trends of the 1970s and brought back memories many are still trying to forget was streaking. I received correct answers from Joanie Gilbert, Susan Ellis, Rusti Starr, Gene Uczen, Mike McFarlane, Margo Dameier, Julie Carter, Rhonda Spies, Katherine Schlick NoeDave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, Rose Shultz, Barbara Cadwell, Sandy Haechrel, Kim Birge, and Doug Nelson who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Deloris Schrader and Doug Nelson. 

Last week I wrote about how to be more optimistic which reminded me of the 1960 Disney movie based on the 1913 novel written by Eleanor H. Porter, and starring Hayley Mills in her first of six Disney movies. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this excessively optimistic young girlEmail your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send a link to the silent film adaptation starring Mary Pickford. 

Well, it has been another week, asking myself again, “Why did I say that!” Until we meet again, there will always be human error reminding us that we are not infallible machines. 

Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.” Virginia Satir 


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