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 www.ageplus.org.

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 mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, 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

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