Aging Well in the Gorge June 23rd 2021

 At our age, it's common to worry when you can’t remember a name, or you can’t find that word on the tip of your tongue. When that happens, I often ask myself, “Is this normal for my age? Or am I in the early stages of dementia? And then the more I worry, the more I seem to forget! 

 

To relieve my anxiety, I found an article by Dr. Mike Davis who gives the following three examples demonstrating the distinctions between normal memory loss and dementia.1.) Misplacing keys is normal. Forgetting what they are for is not. 2.) Forgetting a person's name is normal. Not remembering knowing the person is not. 3.) Forgetting to turn into a familiar street is normal. Becoming easily disoriented or lost in familiar places for hours is not. 

 

Good. I don’t need to worry. I often misplace my keys, but I do know what they are for. I seem to have a harder time remembering names, but they eventually come to me by the end of the conversation. And when I’m in a hurry, there are times I do turn down the wrong street, but so far, I’ve always found my way home. 

 

But then I read the next sentence. “These lines are distinct for most of us, BUT in early dementia patients, it can be tricky to tell.” 

 

Now, what the heck does that mean, tricky to tell?  Could my forgetfulness seem normal, but because of some subtle signs, I could unknowingly be in the early stages of dementia? Should I still be worrying? 

 

It does give me pause. But there is one sign that gives me hope. I figure as long as I can spell Alzheimer’s without looking it up, I’m okay. 

 

For those who have been diagnosed with dementia, there is hopeThere have been huge investments in understanding more about the brain and what causes Alzheimer’s Disease. There are many theories including lysosomal storage. (Ill have to ask my son what that meansHe just received his degree in biology, so he should know, right?) But the most dominant theory is that Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by sticky brain plaques called beta-amyloid that have been found to build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.  

 

Just recently at the urging of the Alzheimer’s Association and other advocates, the FDA approved a new drug, Aducanumab, that has proved highly effective in reducing the plaques to treat persons in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. BUT (there’s always a but!) it's not yet clear whether reducing the plaques is actually effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Two large studies offered conflicting evidence 

 

Next week I will share more about dementia and the brain: the different types of dementia, treatable conditions that mimic dementia, and most importantly tips on what you can do now to maintain your brain health. Don’t forget! 

 

The name of the five-member band known for their vocal harmonies and epitomized the “California Sound” were the Beach Boys. I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Jeannie Pesicka, Emmett Sampson, Rhonda Spies, Sandy Haechrel, Barbara Cadwell, Diana Weston, Jess Birge, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu VahtelMargo Dameier. And this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket has to be Linda Frizzell who graduated from Hawthorne High School with the Beach Boys! And from the previous week, I received the correct answer from Barbara Cadwell, Susan Ellis, Steve Woolpert, Patty BurnetDiana Weston, Gene Uczen, Pat Evenson-Brady, Dave Lutgens, Rose Schulz, Doug Nelson, and the winner Lana Tepfer. 

 

Okay, thBeach Boys was way too easy for most of you so let’s move to something more challenging: Broadway musicalsThis original 1965 Broadway production won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his 17th-century novel Don Quixote, it tells the story of the "mad" knight Don QuixoteFor this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this musical. E-mail your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of The Impossible Dream”. 

 

Well, it has been another week, glad to be back in the Gorge. Until we meet again, as Dan Jaworski who was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment at age 54 says, "There is nday like today". 

 

“If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters”. Unknown 

Aging Well in the Gorge June 16th 2021

 

I’m confused. Most of you are reading this column on the 16th, but I’ve been writing it since I finished my last column because my wife and I are driving to California for my son’s college graduation on Saturday. But as I’m writing this, that will be this coming Saturday - but for you, it was last Saturday! I feel as if I’m in an HG Wells time machine, not knowing which week I’m in, mine or yours!

I need to start writing early because I don’t have that newspaper reporter talent of writing clearly on a short deadline. It takes me a while to be coherent. And although I do have several ideas cooking, I have nothing ready to pull out of the oven.

So what can I write about on such a short timeline? I usually try to include a few thoughts about aging, provide an encouraging word or two, and offer a few bad jokes. (I think they’re funny!) But now since you’re waiting and the main course isn’t ready, how about a little dessert instead, something more sugar than substance:  a trip down memory lane of expressions we seldom hear anymore. (I once thought it would be fun to start using the word “groovy” as in the hit song titles “A Groovy Kind of Love” or “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”. Remember those? But after five minutes of questioning stares as in “What DeLorean time machine did you step out of?” I realized “groovy” doesn’t quite have the same appeal it once had.

So get out your paper and your Sheaffer pen. It’s time for a “pop quiz”. See how many of these ten words from “days gone by” you still remember. I suspect you will recall most of them, but words, as with certain smells and tastes, can bring back forgotten memories - those pre-teen years when the opposite sex was just a distraction, or conversations on the playground during recess, or just silly adolescent pranks. So, give it your best shot. And for your immediate gratification, the answers will be included below.

1. What were "cooties"? a) Tiny cookies, b) Earrings, c) Prizes in cereal boxes, d) Imaginary infestations. 

2. If a woman was "stacked", what did she have? a) Too much eye makeup, b) Beehive hairdo, c) Large breasts, d) Tall stature. 

3. What was a "flattop"? a) Skateboard, b) Haircut, c) Table, d) Stupid person. 

4. If a girl had a reputation as "fast", what was she? a) Skinny, b) Goodie two shoes, c) Sexually active, d) Reckless driver. 

5. What were "dibs"? a) Nerds, b) Candy, c) Claims, d) Hairstyles. 

6. What was a "spaz"? a) Cold cut, b) Russian astronaut, c) Uncoordinated person, d) Candy mint.

7. What was a "blast"? a) A dance, b) A Coca-Cola and Seven-Up mixture, c) A television commercial, d) A good time. 

8. What were you if you had a lot of "bread"? a) Uncool, b) Fat, c) Rich, d) Smart. 

9. If a person were to "go ape", what would they do? a) Dance funny, b) Become angry, c) Dress sloppily, d) Date an ugly person. 

10. What was a "pad"? a) Residence, b) Notebook, c) Article of clothing, d) Paid advertisement. 

(Full discloser: These questions were forwarded to me by someone at some time from some website.)

The secret Jim Lowe was looking for when he sang “Midnight, one more night without sleeping, watching till the morning comes creeping" was what was behind the Green Door. (Next week I’ll also mention those who responded to last week’s question.)

Growing up in Indiana during the early ’60s, I dreamed of “getting around” with a surfboard strapped to the top of a “woodie” wagon (even though I was 2000 miles from a California beach!) inspired by the music of this band.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the five-member band known for their vocal harmonies and musical ingenuity, and epitomized the “California Sound”. E-mail your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the album “Pet Sounds” one of the most critically acclaimed and influential albums of all time.

Well, it has been another week cautiously looking behind the curtain. Until we meet again, perception is everything.

“People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.” - Bob Hope

Answers: d,c,b,c,c,c,d,c,b,a

 

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