Aging Well in the Gorge May 29th 2019

Ah, regrets. I wish I hadn’t sold the IBM stock my grandmother gave me fifty years ago. I wish I had asked my dad what he did before and during the war? I wish I hadn’t said, “Who would want to learn German!” to my sister-in-law whose parents immigrated from Germany and is fluent in German. (I’m still trying to make up for that verbal slip-up.)
But do you have any regrets? It’s natural to have occasional regrets about the past because we’ve lived long enough to have plenty of those “I wish I had done that differently” moments.
But how can we accept what has been and look ahead instead of back, so we can live without carrying a basket full of regrets the rest of our lives? Margaret Manning posed that question in her March 2015 post “How to Live Without Regrets After 50” on the “Next Avenue” website.
She identified several tips.
Talk to Someone. Even though it might be embarrassing, share your feelings with someone else. You might even discover another perspective you hadn’t considered.
Get Back into the World. If you find yourself more isolated because of your regrets, that’s not good. Isolation just makes any problem worse. But if you don’t feel comfortable jumping back in with a splash, start slowly. Just don’t get stuck. As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”
Find a Way to Forgive Yourself. Aren’t regrets just a way of punishing yourself for things you can no longer change? Stop beating yourself up. We are often our harshest critic by ignoring the good we have done.  
Acknowledge Your Regrets and Move On. Forget the mistake but remember the lesson. There is a popular saying from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, “Everything will be OK in the end – and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”
Learn to Live in the Present. What’s done is done, and what will be will be. To help train your mind to live in the present try meditation, yoga or prayer.
We are who we are as much from our mistakes and the lessons learned as we are from our successes. We all have regrets – just don’t let them consume you. Share your feelings, stay involved, forgive, be kind to yourself and move on. There is so much more to live.
“Writing Prompts” will be Kerry Cobb’s next class at the Center on Tuesday, June 4 at 1pm. As Kerry explains, “Everyone has a story to tell, and in this workshop, we’ll explore writing simple, short thoughts by means of prompts that will get your creative juices flowing. Everyone is invited to this fun and easy exercise. No writing experience necessary – just a desire to have some fun and share.”
There are two free lectures in June on the Aging Brain presented by Dr. Timothy Jennings, MD: “The Aging Brain – Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind” on Saturday, June 8th from 10:00 – 4:30 at the MCMC Medical Office Building A and B. And “The Mind, God’s Design” at the same location on the night before, Friday June 7th at 6 PM. For more information on either lecture, you can contact Joyce Browne at 541-200-0111 or
The name of the Broadway musical based on T. H. White’s novel The Once and Future King and ran on Broadway from 1960 to 1963 was Camelot. It included the lyric that President Kennedy was especially fond of, “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot” which was written by Alan Jay Lerner, JFK’s classmate at Harvard. Since I will be visiting my daughter in San Diego, I’m submitting this column waaay early. I will list all the correct responses next week.
I’ll end the month with one more Broadway musical question – this one is from 1965. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the musical that told the story of the “mad” knight Don Quixote and his manservant Sancho Panza? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a recording of “The Impossible Dream”.
Well, it’s been another week, counting my blessings. Until we meet again, if you wake up feeling tired and blue – pull back the covers and get out of bed.
“If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate you are bound to wake up somebody.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Aging Well in the Gorge May 22nd 2019

When you have lived as long as we have, you have certainly encountered various social, emotional and physical challenges: a few detours here and there, flat tires and engine adjustments. And you have probably learned that you can run this human vehicle of yours into the ground and hope it lasts (as I did when I was much younger); or you can discover how to take care of the vehicle through preventive maintenance and careful driving.
Okay, enough of the metaphor. I think you get the point. With more information and supportive friends, we can make healthier choices and live longer and better.  
One class that has shown to improve health outcomes among older adults is W.I.S.E. –
Wellness Initiative for Senior Education. W.I.S.E. celebrates this exciting stage of our lives and all the benefits that come with it. It covers a variety of topics including safe medication use, communicating effectively with healthcare providers and strategies for healthy living; as well as discussing risk factors and behaviors older adults should avoid such as how alcohol, prescription medications and over-the-counter medications affect older adults differently.
The next W.I.S.E. class will be held at Flagstone Senior Living at 2:00 starting Tuesday, June 4th and continuing every Tuesday for six weeks. There will be refreshments and free giveaways for participating in the program! For more information, call Elizabeth Harper, Capeco-AAA Case Manager, at 541-506-3517 or Karees Reilly, Flagstone Director of Marketing, at 541-298-5656. Join the fun, bring a friend and learn how to take control of your health and the healthcare you receive!
One of the rites of summer is stopping by The Dalles Farmer’s Market. It will be starting on Saturday, June 1st from 9 am to 1 pm at its usual location in The Dalles City Park. The Dalles Farmers’ Market provides an opportunity for the public to purchase fresh food from local producers and small businesses; as well as educating the public on how locally produced food choices impacts themselves and their community. For more information, you can contact the Farmer’s Market at or 541-965-3658.
Also, the Gorge Grown Food Network’s Mobile Farmer’s Market is now stopping in The Dalles. You can find it in the Center’s parking lot on Wednesdays from 4:00 – 6:00 PM. Stop by to see what fresh, locally grown produce is available.
For the bingo players in the audience, there will be Bingo both Thursday and Saturday nights. Doors open at 4:00, games start at 6:00 and all ages 12 and over are welcome (although anyone under 18 needs to be accompanied by their guardian.) The minimum buy-in is $10 and an average of over $1300 is paid out in cash prizes each night. Thursday night bingo supports the Meals-on-Wheels program and Saturday night supports the Center. And thanks to the incredible volunteers, practically every cent that is not paid out goes to support Meals-on-Wheels or the Center.
This coming Monday, May 27th is Memorial Day: a day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. In recognition of Memorial Day, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed.
Alfred E. Neuman was the cartoon cover boy for MAD magazine: the humor comic/magazine that satirized American life. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Sam Bilyeu, Ron Nelson, CeeCee Anderson, Jerry Phillips, Jess Birge, Janet Tschanz and Ridge Olmstead this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
During the 1960’s several Broadway musicals reflected the idealism of the times and one was this popular musical which after JFK’s death became associated with his administration. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the musical based on the T. H. White novel The Once and Future King that ran on Broadway from 1960 to 1963 and starred Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return it with the original cast album which was America’s top-selling album for 60 weeks.
Well, it’s been another week being reminded that everything takes just a little bit longer. Until we meet again, drive safely during the Memorial Day weekend because as Paul Newman once said, “It’s useless to put on your brakes when you are upside down.”
“Never stand up straight. That’s what World War II taught me. Number one, you might be picked for detail. Number two, the Germans have a better shot at you. Even now, I’m in a perpetual crouch so that nobody picks me for extra duties.” Mel Brooks

Aging Well in the Gorge May 15th 2019

When I first saw my new health care provider and said, with a certain amount of pride, “I don’t take any medications”, I seem to recall a certain surprise in her eye – and imagining her thinking to herself, “That’s going to change!”. Well, ten years later and after various tests and diagnoses, I’m taking three prescriptions which isn’t bad compared to many folks, but more than I ever thought I would be taking.
But even with only three medications, it can be a challenge to manage them. To help, there will be a presentation at the Center on Tuesday, May 21st at 1:00 on “Managing Your Medications” by MCMC’s Visiting Health Services. Until then, here are a few quick suggestions.  
Use a pill box. I wasn’t going to use a pill box because they were just for “old” people. But after twice forgetting if I took my morning medications, I decided maybe I am at that stage. And the pill box works – if I remember. So, the next several suggestions are about ways to remember when to take you medications.
Incorporate your medications into your daily routine such as your morning breakfast or when you brush your teeth. Give yourself reminders such as placing a sticky note calendar in a convenient location and mark the days off in a brightly colored marker each time you take your pills. Or set an alarm on your alarm clock, smartphone or even your smartwatch to remind yourself when it’s time to take your medications.
Poorly managing your medications can have significant health consequences. Stay in communication with your health care provider especially when initiating a new medication. And don’t forget. Your pharmacist can be a tremendous help – if you ask.
We all know when we receive a phone call that smells like a scam to “Just Hang Up!” And that if you’re aware of a scam, or worse fallen victim to one, to contact the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or online at
But I received an email from the Oregon Attorney General’s office last week warning consumers to avoid returning unknown phone calls. It goes on to say that consumers have reported waves of “One Ring” or “Wangiri” scam robocalls targeting specific area codes in bursts, often calling multiple times in the middle of the night.  These calls are likely trying to prompt you to call the number back, often resulting in per minute toll charges similar to a 900 number. With the advances in technology, it’s easier for scammers to make massive amounts of calls cheaply and easily while at the same time masking their identity. The best advice if you receive a call from a phone number you don’t recognize is “Don’t Call Back”. If it is important, they will leave a voice message.
The “crew-cut” comedian with a quiet homespun style of humor who was the star of his own weekly comedy variety television show in the 1950’s was George Gobel. And Lana Tepfer even remembered one of his often-quoted remarks to Johnny Carson which many of us can relate to. “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a black tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”
I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Ron Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl and Rhonda Spies winner of a free quilt raffle ticket – and I missed Jerry Phillips from last week.
I was going to ask about a 1960’s Broadway musical but current events have forced me to postpone that question to next week. Last week, President Trump nicknamed one of the Democratic presidential candidates after the freckled faced, gap-toothed comic book character Alfred E. Neuman which created quite a generational stir because younger folks never heard of him. For this week’s “Remember When” question, Alfred E. Neuman is best known for being the cartoon cover boy for what humor comic/magazine that satirized American life? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write your answer on the back of the first issue from August 1952.
Well, it’s been another week, keeping my eyes open for new opportunities. Until we meet again, getting older means no longer hoping you won’t have to see a doctor but hoping you won’t see three in the same month.
“It’s possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” Lee Segall

Aging Well in the Gorge May 8ths 2019

In simpler times if you wanted to learn about a particular subject you bought a book, or how to operate a new gadget you read the instruction manual. Today you can still find a book on the War of 1812, but for that new high-tech gadget, you either won’t find a manual or the instructions will be too complicated to understand.
For example, have you tried to read the drivers manual for a new car? It’s like a four-hundred page Russian novel with a very boring plot. There is a chapter just to explain the “media” options: how to plug in your smart phone, find directions on your 9-inch touch screen from a woman with your choice of accents, play your favorite playlist of songs and how to dry blow your hair while driving. Its amazing – if I could understand it. And don’t think it is because we’re older. I don’t think anyone can figure it out.
But instead of muddling your way through the instruction book, you can go online and “google” it. But that’s tough if you are a technological Neanderthal who doesn’t even know the question to “google”.
But there are other options. One advance has been free webinars and online classes such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and Apple University. Or on YouTube you can search for how-to videos about practically any subject – from how to tie your shoes to how to blow your nose.
One site I just discovered is AARP’s Learn@50+ which hosts AARP’s no-cost, online educational programs including job search skills, family caregiving and new technology such as Impostors: Keeping Yourself Safe from Scammers; Today and the Future: The Benefits of Vehicle Safety Technology; and Retirement Planning: Top Tips to Get or Stay on Track.
I always prefer taking a class in person, but online classes have advantages. You can go at your own speed, you can stop, rewind and repeat if you missed the point, and if can’t hear the speaker, you can turn up the volume.
There is so much more to know – but there are more ways to know it. Start today and find something new you want to learn.
A beginners Line Dancing class taught by Rosa Martin is now being offered at the Center. And Rosa wanted me to emphasize that they are starting simple, so this is a great time for beginners to join. The class is downstairs from 3:30 – 5:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays. So why not? As the saying goes, “Dance first. Think later.”
A couple quick reminders. First, Dr. Proctor will be discussing Hearing Loss on Monday, May 13th at 11:00 at the Center. And second – I forgot! I will try to recall it in the next couple of hours before I finish this column. I just need to RELAX, and I am sure it will come to me.
The name of Johnny Carson’s most popular character on the Tonight Show was the “mystic from the East”: Carnac The Magnificent. (And here is Ed McMahon’s reportedly favorite Carnac punchline. Answer “Sis boom bah.” Question “Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes.”) I received correct answers from Jess Birge, Cheri Brent and both Diane Weston and Lana Tepfer, who for some reason I also missed last week but are this week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each.
This humorist, actor and comedian is best known as the star of his own weekly comedy variety television series broadcast from 1954 to 1959 on NBC and 1959 to 1960 on CBS. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was this “crew-cut” comedian with a quiet homespun style of humor? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the sole of a “lonesome” pair of brown shoes.
I did remember it! The second quick reminder. If you or someone you know are looking for help or assistance such as who to contact if you suspect elderly abuse or options for in-home care, call the local ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Connection) at 541-506-3512. You won’t reach a call center in Portland but a local number where you can talk to Tammy who will do her best to answer your questions.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the cool mornings and sunny days. Until we meet again, when you look through all the clutter sometimes you find things you never knew you lost.
 “Yes, speak softly and carry a big stick. But don’t mumble. And don’t swing the stick.” Mark Bricklin, journalist