Aging Well in the Gorge April 24th 2018

They’re coming! They’re coming! No, not the Russians, but the new Medicare cards which are starting to be mailed out this month and will continue to be mailed on a rolling basis over the next year. To be prepared, there are several details about the new cards you should know according to the website.
First, what you probably already know. 1. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security Number. That will help protect your identity. 2. Your new card will not affect your Medicare coverage and benefits. They will stay the same. 3. Only give your new Medicare number to your health care providers, your insurers, or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. (If you ever suspect identity theft, report it to the Office of the Inspector General at and visit the website
What you may not know. 1. People who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time will be among the first to receive new cards. 2. Your new card will automatically be sent to you. But if your address is not current, you will need to update it by visiting your Social Security account at 3. Once you receive your new Medicare card, destroy your old Medicare card and start using your new one right away. 4. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, keep your Medicare Advantage Plan ID card. It is still your primary card for Medicare and is the card you will continue to use whenever you need care. However, you should also carry your new Medicare card since you may also be asked to show it.
If you are one who doesn’t like surprises and would like to know when to expect your new card, visit and sign up to receive an email when Medicare starts mailing the new cards to Oregon enrollees.
The good news is with all the stories about the fraudulent use of stolen Social Security numbers, the new Medicare cards are another step in protecting you from identity theft.
This Saturday The Dalles will be bustling with “out of this world” activities. And to start the day off right, why not stop by the Center and enjoy an Extraterrestrial Breakfast from 8:00 – 9:30 sponsored by the Center’s neighbor to the north – Cherry Heights Living. The menu includes French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage patty and fruit – as well as the regular beverages. The cost is $6.00 and $3.00 for children twelve and under. And make sure to stay for the coronation of the Cherry Festival Royalty – and the raffle drawing for a beautiful quilt hand stitched by the Center’s amazing quilters.  
The subject of the Center’s 11:00 Wednesday Lecture on April 25th will be the School District 21 Construction Bond that will be on the November ballot. The presentation will give you an opportunity to ask questions about this innovative funding approach to modernize D-21 school facilities. And for the Wednesday Lecture on May 1st, I will be discussing new positive ways to talk about aging that reduces stereotypes and increases the inclusion of older people in our communities.
The name of the actress who played Peter Pan in the first full-length Broadway production seen on color TV was Mary Martin. And the Australian born actor who portrayed Captain Hook was Cyril Ritchard. (I received correct answers from Dave Lutgens, Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer, Jim and Betsy Ayers and the winners of this week’s quilt raffle tickets, Don and Linda McAllister.)
Another classic from the Golden Age of Television was a television series created by Rod Serling that ran from 1959 to 1964 on CBS. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this series where “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop off your answer with a copy of the episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”.
Well, it’s been another week, looking both ways before taking a leap of faith. Until we meet again, one advantage of running around in circles, is you get your exercise.” 
“I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough.” Walt Whitman

Aging Well in the Gorge April 17th 2018

It seems as if every national organization or cause has designated a week or day to recognize their efforts. For example, this week is “Spring Astronomy Week”, “National Pet ID Week”; and I just have to mention “Interstate Mullet Toss Weekend” which has become one of the biggest beach parties on the gulf coast; raising money for local youth charities by seeing who can toss a dead mullet (a fish, not a dead guy with an ugly hairstyle) the furthest across the Florida-Alabama state line. Who would have thought!
But I digress. This week is also “National Volunteer Week” – a time to recognize the invaluable role of volunteers, many over 60, who are the fuel for much of the good that is accomplished in our communities. People being engaged, whether volunteering at their church, a service club or non-profit, visiting friends at a care facility, or by keeping an eye on their neighbor – because one of these days, their neighbor may be keeping an eye on them – is what makes our communities strong and vibrant.
But you may feel volunteering is uncomfortable. Like me, you may be afraid of “messing up”, although I’m getting use to that. Or you might be worried about taking on too much responsibility. Or afraid of “volunteer creep” when a one-day a week commitment turns into three and you wonder, “How did that happen. I’m retired!”
But volunteering is a win-win. Besides helping your community, by volunteering you can make new friends; learn new skills; enjoy a new challenge, and of course, have fun!
If you currently aren’t volunteering or would like to volunteer more, I guarantee there is a place that can use your skills and abilities. And for all of you who are already volunteering in either large or small ways, you deserve a big THANK-YOU!  
Besides volunteers, every non-profit I know needs financial support – and Habitat for Humanity is no exception. Tomorrow, April 18th you can enjoy a delicious assortment of pizza, pasta, salad and bread at the annual Habitat Pizza Feed from 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM PDT at Spookys. Tickets are $14.00 for ages 14 and over, $ 9.00 for ages 7 to 13, and $ 4.00 for ages 6 & under. You can purchase tickets at Klindt’s Booksellers or the Habitat Restore on West Sixth. Proceeds will support Habitat’s good work building affordable housing in the Mid-Columbia.
These days if anyone asks for my opinion or advice I often respond with “It’s complicated … and I’m confused!” You may feel the same when reading about the D-21 School Construction Bond that will be on the November ballot.  
To help answer your questions and resolve any confusion, there will be a school construction bond presentation at the Center on Wednesday, April 25that 11:00. I encourage you to learn more, so however you finally decide to vote, it will be based on a clear understanding of the construction bond measure and not any misconceptions.
The name of the basketball player who was a 12-time NBA All-Star; the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season; and was known as the Big “O” was Oscar Robertson. (Those who turned in correct answers by Friday were Don McAllister, Jess Birge, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu Vahtel, Bob Haechrel, Jerry Phillips, Lee Kaseberg and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Rhonda Austin.)
On March 7, 1955, during the first “Golden Age of Television”, NBC presented Peter Pan live. It was the first full-length Broadway production seen on color TV which attracted a then-record audience of 65-million viewers. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the actress that played Peter Pan? And for bonus points, what Australian actor played Captain Hook? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a picture of J.R. Ewing and his mother.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to find my part in the next act. Until we meet again, as Ashleigh Brilliant once said, “It’s not easy to find yourself slowing down in a world that’s speeding up.”  
“A volunteer is a person who can see what others cannot see; who can feel what most do not feel. Often, such gifted persons do not think of themselves as volunteers, but as citizens – citizens in the fullest sense; partners in civilization.” President George H.W. Bush
Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.

Aging Well in the Gorge April 10th 2018

When I was growing up, my family always played cards when we went camping. The four of us would play Hearts, Pinochle, and the family favorite Euchre – which we still play whenever the McKays get together. (And if you would like to play Euchre, call the Center and we’ll see if we can get a group started.)
But that was before the advent of video games. Now according to an AARP sponsored study, 38% of adults aged 50-plus are gamers and what might seem surprising, 40% of women are gamers – more than the 35% of men. There are a variety of games available from shoot ‘em up adventure and fantasy games to tamer but challenging logic and puzzle games which you can play on your computer or video game console such as an Xbox. Nowadays you can even team up with out-of-town family members or friends to compete against players around the world. Pretty amazing.
But if you aren’t into video games or you want to see and know who you are playing against, you can choose from a variety of non-video games at the Center. They include Mahjong (Fridays at 1:00), Bunco (third Tuesdays at 1:00), Dominoes (Tuesdays at 1:00), and the Center’s most popular game Pinochle (Thursdays at 1:00 and Fridays at 6:00). All these games are open to players of any age and to beginners – which we all were at one time. The cost varies. Most of the games are $1 per person, but Thursday Pinochle is $2 and Friday night Pinochle is $6 of which $5 goes into the pot which is paid back to the winners. Come by and check them out.
You know it really is spring when the grass is tall enough to mow and Bruce and Lori Harris from Today’s Rays stops by the Center to turn on the irrigation system. A big thank-you to Bruce and Lori for their continued support of the Center.
What would it be like to ride a motorcycle from Portland to Panama City, then ride from Bogota, Columbia south to Ushuaia, Argentina (which considers itself the southernmost city in the world) and back north to Buenos Aries? I have no idea – except I know my rear end would be sore! But you can find out at the Center’s next Wednesday lecture on April 18th starting at 11:00 when Ron Carpenter will show videos of his 17,000-mile motorcycle trip through South America. (If you want a glimpse of his trip beforehand, search BlackdogGS on YouTube.)
The name of the television comedy, first aired in 1952, that featured the real-life Nelson family was Ozzie and Harrietwith their children David and teen idol Ricky Nelson. (I received correct answers from Alice Mattox, Don McAllister, Lana Tepfer, Sandy Haechrel, Lucile Stephens, Jim Ayers, Sharon Hull and the winners of a quilt raffle ticket: Jeanne Pesicka who served Ricky Nelson when he performed at the Shamrock in 1985 and Darlene Merrick who owns an album autographed by Ricky Nelson. And once again I missed a couple folks, so a quilt raffle ticket goes to both Cheryl Green and Jim Ayers.
Now that the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball championships are over, it’s time to start down the road to the NBA championships. In Indiana, where I grew up, basketball was king (anyone see the movie Hoosiers?), and one of the all-time greatest NBA players attended high school in my hometown of Indianapolis. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who played in the NBA for fourteen years; was a 12-time All-Star; the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season; and was known as the Big “O”. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a 1956 Crispus Attucks High School yearbook. (And if you know the answer don’t procrastinate. Now that the Chronicle is mailed, I need to finish my column by the end of Friday.)
Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember what’s next on the to-do list in my head. Until we meet again, as Tom Graff reminded me, “Always make sure you put your socks on the right feet!”.  
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” Henry James

Aging Well in the Gorge April 3rd 2018

We all know walking is one of the best exercises, but why is walking with a group such a good idea when you can walk by yourself at any time you want?
On reason is that “any time” you want often becomes “no time” at all. I’ve been telling myself for the last two years I need to start lifting weights at home. But have I started. Nope! Having others to walk with gets you going when your “going” doesn’t want to go.
Another advantage is you develop closer relationships. When I use to run with my running buddies (before my knees stopped cooperating), there wasn’t anything to do when we ran but talk (and avoid the occasional skunk), so we filled the time sharing stories we wouldn’t think of sharing with anyone else.
So why don’t you join a walking group that fits your speed and schedule? You can call Taylor Smith at 541-705-5346 to join one of the local Blue Zones Project’s Walking Moais’. Or call North Central Public Health District at 541-506-2600 to learn about their “Step It Up” walking groups.
But if you are a cancer survivor or a friend or family member, consider attending the Kick-Off for “Step It Up! Survivors” walking groups which will meet at the Celilo Cancer Center’s Atrium (1800 E. 19th St) on Thursday, April 5th from 12:00-12:30. Sign up to walk, receive a welcome kit and learn how regular physical exercise can reduce cancer-related fatigue. Then on the following Wednesdays, you can join one of the 30-minute Wednesday Walks leaving the Celilo Cancer Center at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. Or you can join the Second Saturday Hikes which will be longer and locations will vary. You can call 541-296-7585 for more information.
The Dalles Art Center will be hosting the opening reception for their April Art Exhibition “People, Places and Critters” featuring the work of Judy White, Adah Iverson, Diana McElheran and Dawn Elle on April 5th from 5:00 – 7:00. Come and be inspired by our local artists.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the national effort to create Dementia Friendly communities. As part of that effort, the Dementia Friendly Gorge Initiative, GOBHI and Aging in the Gorge Alliance are bringing to the Gorge the educational program “The Challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease” on April 11 @ 1:30 PM in the GOBHI Training Room at 401 E 3rd Street, The Dalles. The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. To register contact Kris Boler 541.397.0548 or
Last week I mentioned the Center is starting its Wednesday Lecture Series on April 4thwhen the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program (CAP) will show you how to save energy and money in your home. And you can take home a free energy savings kit!
But I have also scheduled two more lectures – or what may be more aptly described as travelogues of places far, far away. On Wednesday, April 11 at 11:00, Sandy and Bob Haechrel will show slides of their fascinating trip to Vietnam and what has and hasn’t changed since the Vietnam War. And then at 11:00 on April 18th, Ron Carpenter will show his slides and explain what it was like to travel through South America by motorbike.
The name of the 1960’s television series that followed the adventures of four young men trying to make a name for themselves as a rock ‘n roll band was the Monkees. (Lucile Stephens’ (which she reminded me her name has only one “l”) was close with her answer, the Beatles – whose movie A Hard Day’s Night was the inspiration for the television series. But I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Walter and Rosemarie Lutz, and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Lana Tepfer. And another quilt raffle ticket goes to Alice Mattox who I missed last week.)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television comedy, first aired in 1952 and featured the real-life Nelson family at home dealing with everyday problems. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording of the 1958 number one hit, “Poor Little Fool”.
Well, it’s been another week, watching the temperatures rise. Until we meet again, don’t let your first step be your last.
“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.” Thomas Merton

Aging Well in the Gorge March 27th 2018

Who do you call if you have questions about services and supports for older adults? One of the agencies you could have called was the Region Nine Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which served Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties and was administered by the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG).
But because of the dissolution of MCCOG, on February 1st the local office of the State Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) began temporarily administering many of the Region Nine AAA programs.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA’s) are essential in providing critically important supports for older adults such as in-home care through Oregon Project Independence, SHIBA’s Medicare counseling, caregiver supports such as “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” classes, and funding for community nutrition programs.
To continue to provide these services, it was announced last week that The Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO) has been designated as the Area Agency on Aging to serve the Region Nine area. CAPECO is an I-84 neighbor, currently administering the AAA in Umatilla and Morrow counties and providing many other services to Gilliam and Wheeler Counties as the Community Action Program serving that area.
The local APD office will continue administering the AAA program during the transition to CAPECO which should be completed by September 1, 2018. These transitions can be difficult, but the good news is the local APD is learning more about AAA programs so in the future, there will be better coordination in supporting older adults in the region.
Although this may all seem confusing, (but, hey, you’ve learned five new acronyms to impress – or bore – your friends!), if you are interested in learning more about how the selection of CAPECO will affect AAA services in our region, I would encourage you to attend the public meeting APD will be holding at the Center on April 2nd starting at 1:00.
Its Spring! – and the activities at the Center are popping up faster than the daffodils in your garden.
On Wednesday, March 28th (which is tomorrow for those who don’t need to know what day of the week it is because every day is the weekend!), Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of Columbia Art Center, will lead a class on coloring for adults from 1:00 – 2:30 PM. Create, socialize, and enjoy the meditative relaxation of coloring pages from stunningly beautiful coloring books created by adults for adults.
At the Center on Wednesday, April 4th from 11:00 – 12:00, Mid-Columbia Community Action is offering a class on “Saving Energy (and Money) in Your Home”. Besides learning how to identify and reduce your home’s top energy wasters, you’ll receive a free energy savings device to take home.   
The Center has scheduled Nehemiah Brown to perform three times this year thanks to The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center’s financial support. Nehemiah’s first performance will be on Friday, April 6th before and after the noon lunch provided by Meals-on-Wheels. With a buttery smooth voice, Nehemiah sings pop, country, and gospel standards from the 50’s and 60’s. There is no cost, but you are welcome to enjoy lunch for a suggested donation of $3.75 for anyone 60 and over or $5.00 for anyone under 60.
The western themed American television series that was a Saturday morning staple in the 50’s and 60’s; and featured an Arizona rancher who flew a Cessna 310B named “Songbird” was Sky King. (No one sent me a Signalscope, but I did receive correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Lucille Stephens, Don McAllister, Dave Lutgens and the winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Ed Anghilante.)
I remember going down to my dorm’s rec room at Purdue University to watch this innovative comedy that aired from September 1966 to March 1968. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this series that followed the adventures of four young men trying to make a name for themselves as a rock ‘n roll band? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with one of Michael’s wool hats.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the hints of warmer weather to come. Until we meet again, if you can, do.
“When you have grown still on purpose while everything around you is asking for chaos, you will find the doors between every room of the interior castle thrown open, the path home to your true love unobstructed after all.” St. Teresa of Avila
Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.