Aging Well September 25th 2012

“It is not if, but when.” That was the theme of Lynette Black’s presentation at the Center when she discussed how to prepare for an emergency. We often believe an emergency will never happen and when it does – we are unprepared. But to save valuable possessions, and many times lives, we need to be ready for the unexpected. And that means having your emergency kit up to date and easily accessible; and having a pre-rehearsed plan of action. I won’t go into detail listing the items for your emergency kit since there are handouts at the Center and you can go online at or But your kit should include the necessary items to survive without electricity and water for at least three days. (And don’t forget cash. If the power goes out, it will be hard – if not impossible – to use your credit card.) Review your kit every six months to keep it up to date. You may need to replace the food, water, batteries and refresh your medications. You also need to make a plan – and practice it. In many emergencies, there is little time to think. You may only have 20 minutes or less to decide what you need – and that’s not necessarily what you want. As I get older, I may make better decisions, but not as quickly. And I have found during emergencies, my brain is no longer my friend; it just shuts off and vacates the premises. “Sayonara, you’re on your own.” So plan ahead. How will your limitations affect your response to an emergency? What about transportation if you need to leave your home? How will you take care of your pets? Have you made arrangements with your caregiver? And have you designated an out of state contact person to call? (It is often easier to make an out of state call than a local call from a disaster area.) At the Center there are also copies of “Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors” written by the Greater Rochester Chapter of the American Red Cross after they experienced a two week power outage due to a massive ice storm.. Hopefully you will never experience such an extreme emergency, but with wildfires, train derailments and winter storms in the Gorge – anything is possible. And to have your kit ready and your plan rehearsed, you will be better prepared. As it is often said “It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.” You know the Baby Back Rib Dinner, sponsored by Mill Creek Point Senior Living, is on Friday October 5th from 4:30 – 7:30. You know it’s a fundraiser for Meals-on-Wheels and the Center. And if you attended last year, you know the food was excellent. But you might not know that this year you won’t have to walk as far to get to your baby back rib. The Center has arranged with St. Mary’s for overflow parking and thanks to our sponsor, Mill Creek Point, you will be shuttled back and forth using their bus. Now you can’t use parking as your excuse to miss a delicious Baby Back Rib Dinner. If you need another chance to practice your new or used dance steps, Tuesday night at the Center is the place. Tonight, Annie Lane will be performing. And next Tuesday on the 2nd, we’re back to the top of the menu with the Strawberry Mountain Band. And for the rest of this story (which you can probably repeat in your sleep): the music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated. “The Colonel” Tom Parker, born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk in his native Netherlands, was Elvis Presley’s manager for over two decades. (And the randomly chosen winner of a Baby Back Rib Dinner is Pat Davenport.) But this week’s “Remember When” question features two cartoon characters. Among the animation studios, Disney was considered the “Tiffanys” and Terrytones the “Woolworths”. But Terrytones created many popular cartoon characters including Mighty Mouse and these two conniving identical magpies that first appeared in 1946 and were seen on television by millions of kids from 1956 through the 60’s. For a free Baby Back Rib dinner, what were their names? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of the 1966 animated television series “Mighty Heroes” created by Ralph Bakshi. Well, it has been another week, paddling upstream through rough waters and blue skies. Until we meet again, as Dennis Waitley advised “Expect the best, plan for the worst and prepare to be surprised.”

Aging Well September 18th 2012

Saturday, September 22nd, is the first day of fall – when you pull the sweaters out of the drawer, turn the heat on in the mornings, and start thinking about Flu Shots (which will be available at the Center from 10:00 – 12:30 on Tuesday the 25th provided by Rite Aid Pharmacy.)

But the first day of fall is also Fall Prevention Awareness Day reminding everyone that one in three older Americans fall every year; falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65; and most importantly, falls are preventable.

There are many factors that lead to falls including balance: loss of flexibility and coordination; vision – contrasting edges and obstacles are harder to see; medications – interaction between drugs; chronic conditions – causing inactivity and loss of functions. And there is one more factor: environmental conditions, particularly the place where 55% of all falls occur – your home.

Here is the quick and easy version of the checklist identifying home hazards for falls distributed by the Center for Disease Control. But if you want a more professional analysis, you can call “Hearts of Gold Caregivers” and they would be glad to do an in-home assessment.

Check the floors in your home. Do you have to walk around the furniture? Do you have throw rugs? Are there books, papers, clothes on the floor? Do you have to walk over wires or extension cords? Then look at your stairs. Are there objects on the stairs? Are the steps uneven or broken? Do you have only one light switch for the stairs? Are the handrails securely attached and on both sides of the stairs? Now check the kitchen. Are there items you use on high shelves? Is your step stool unsteady (and don’t tell me you use a chair!) Bathrooms are next: Is the tub or shower floor slippery? And if you installed grab bars, are they securely fastened to the wall? And finally, the bedroom. Is your bed light hard to reach? Is the path from your bedroom to the bathroom dark?

These are common sense questions; most requiring only simple modifications. But the real culprit may be thinking it won’t happen to you, or if you do fall, you won’t get hurt. But trust me, it can happen, you can get hurt, and it is not fun. It is not enough to know what you need to do – you actually have to make the changes. Since my fall I have made adjustments: I am much more careful and most importantly, my wife now takes out the recycling – but I don’t know how much longer I can get away with that.

I was going to mention the Center’s new class, “Brunch for the Brain” but then I remembered – I told you about it last week. So if you are like me and can’t remember what you read (or wrote) last week, join us for “Brunch for the Brain” on Mondays and Thursdays at 1:00 starting on the 24th.

Duane Francis, CEO of Mid-Columbia Medical Center, will be the presenter for the Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on the 25th. The health care industry is going through significant changes and this will be your chance to find out how MCMC is adapting.

A good way to avoid falls is to keep moving – and what better way than dancing with a friend in your arms. Tonight at the Center, Truman is singing his Country Gold and next Tuesday, the Center adds new performer to the Tuesday Night lineup: Annie Lane. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The name for the seven individuals who were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention was the Chicago Seven – or Eight if you count Bobby Seale. (And although Joann Scott was there while attending school and learned to run really fast when she went to see what was going on, the winner, randomly selected, of a free Baby Back Rib Dinner on Friday October 5th is Bob Haechrel). And this week it’s time to remember the world of music in the 1950’s. And you couldn’t get much bigger than Elvis Presley. After recording for Sun Records, Elvis signed a new contract with RCA negotiated by the person who would later be his manager for two decades. What was his name? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Andreas Cornelis (“Dries”) van Kuijk.

Well, it has been another week, trying to find the right balance. Until we meet again, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Aging Well September 11th

Memories has been described as “roses in December”, “lasting perfume” and the “diary that we carry around with us”. And as we age, there is always the nagging fear that the roses will wilt, the perfume will lose its fragrance and the diary will disappear.

But the Mayo Clinic suggests several steps you can take to keep your mind nimble and your memories alive. Physical activity – what is good for the heart is good for the brain. Good nutrition – eat vegetables, fruits, grains and low fat meats. Get organized – eliminate the clutter, (maybe that could be my problem!) and make lists. (But if you want to push the mental envelope, try using memory tricks to remember your shopping list – if you don’t mind going back for what you missed.) Focus – limit distractions. You can’t recall what you haven’t noticed. Socialize regularly – if you have a chance to go out – by all means go. And finally stay mentally active – try something different and take the path less traveled.

All of these steps will be addressed in a new class starting on Monday September 25th when the Center is joining with other Senior Centers from all over the country to pilot a brain health program called “Brunch for the Brain”. In this class you will learn how the brain works while solving puzzles and word games, participating in listening, reminiscing and memory building exercises – as well as stress reducing and creative activities. The twenty one-hour sessions are scheduled for 1:00 on Mondays and Thursdays starting Monday September 25th. Call the Center to reserve your place.

Fern Wilcox will once again be leading the Strong Women’s class but she and her husband still have some unfinished traveling to do, so the class won’t start until October 2nd. Call the Center to register or just show up on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:00.
The 11:00 Tuesday Lectures are back and since September is Emergency Preparedness Month, I have invited Lynette Black from OSU/Wasco County Extension to discuss that topic on the 18th. And on the 25th, Duane Francis, CEO of Mid-Columbia Medical Center, will discuss the changing landscape in health care.

Call the Center if you are interested in seeing the Sunday matinee performance of the “Singing Christmas Tree” in Portland on December 2nd. If there is enough interest, I will purchase tickets while trying to keep the price under $65 – including transportation.

Saturday the 15th will be a busy day at the Center. The Saturday breakfast sponsored this month by The Dalles High School Class of 1963 will feature hotcakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and your favorite beverage – served from 8:00 – 9:30 for a price of $5.00. And as recognition of the important role of teachers, the Class of ’63 will pay for breakfast for all past and current public school teachers.

Also on the 15th from 8:00 until 1:00 is the annual Community Parking Lot Sale, as well as Old Fashioned Bingo for all ages from 3:00 – 4:00. And Saturday Night Bingo always starts at 6:00.

Tuesday Night music at the Center is a chance to dance your cares away. Tonight Martin and Friends will be performing, while next Tuesday it is Truman and his Country Gold. Music starts at 7:00 and donations are appreciated.

As many of you knew, Barry Goldwater in 1960 urged conservatives to take back the Republican Party. (And the winner of a free breakfast this coming Saturday is Sandy Goforth.) But for each of the next four weeks, I am going to up the ante and personally give away one $15.00 ticket for the October 5th Baby Back Rib Dinner to the winner of the “Remember When” question. So pay attention.
During the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, there were nationally televised confrontations between the Chicago police and demonstrators leading to hundreds of arrests and injuries. The following year several participants were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot. What was the popular name for these defendants? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a 1970 edition of “Do It” by Jerry Rubin.

Well, it has been another week, waiting for fall to drop. Until we meet again, let’s face it, getting older is a mixed bag – full of sweet memories and hard truths.

“We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but we have to learn to live in the same box.” – Anonymous

Aging Well September 4th

Because of the Labor Day weekend, I
had to rush and finish this column before the weekend, so I thought I would
round a few corners by sharing with you some of the best one-liners from the
Internet. Since this is a family newspaper and I do blush, I left out any
references to s-e-x. But if you want to read all of the top 100 Funniest
One-Liners you can find them at Now here are a few of my favorites.

1.) “Do not argue with an idiot. He will
drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.” 2.) “With sufficient
thrust, pigs fly just fine.” 3.) “Did you know that dolphins are so smart that
within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very
edge of the pool and throw them fish?” 4.) “When tempted to fight fire with
fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.” 5) “We never
really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.” 6.) “War does not determine
who is right – only who is left.” 7.) “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a
fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” 8.) “It’s not the fall that
kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the end.” 9.) “I got in a fight one time
with a really big guy, and he said, “I’m going to mop the floor with your
face.” I said, “You’ll be sorry.” He said, “Oh, yeah?
Why?” I said, “Well, you won’t be able to get into the corners very
well.” 10) “When in doubt, mumble.”

Two weeks ago I thanked Chris Zukin
and Meadow Outdoor Advertising for the Center’s new outdoor sign. Well, this
week it’s time to thank Chip Wood for donating his time and talent to install
in the basement of the Center new kitchen cabinets and sink – paid for by an
anonymous donor. They look terrific, but that is just the first step. Next is
to replace the basement carpet that was “used” when it was installed over
twenty years ago. Anyone willing to take on that project?

It’s hard to imagine, but it won’t be
too long before the Baby Back Rib Dinner is back for another run on Friday,
October 5th. The dinner is sponsored by Mill Creek Point Senior Living and all
revenue from the dinner is split evenly between Meals-on-Wheels and the Center.
Tickets are $15 per adult and $7.50 for children and you can purchase them at
the Center or Klindt’s.  

For those of you who haven’t been
able to sleep worrying about my mending broken hip, I am glad to report some
very good news: my knees are stiff and sore, my hearing is poor in one ear and
worse in the other, and I can’t touch my toes, BUT my hip no longer hurts. So I
guess I can say I‘m back to my old normal.

Don’t forget “Seasons” a
discussion about the many facets of aging, led by Sally McBain – author of
“Soul Portrait”. It starts on Monday, September 10th from 10:00 – 11:00 at the

Next Tuesday on the 11th,
Martin and Friends will get your heart pounding and your feet stomping. And
tonight, it’s the Strawberry Mountain Band performing. The doors open at 6:00,
music starts at 7:00 and donations are suggested.  

“In the jungle, the mighty
jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.” Many of us remember the song, particularly the
chorus – “wimoweh,
wimoweh”, written by South African
Soloman Linda in the 1920’s and which reached #1 when it was recorded by the
Tokens in 1961. (And each week I enjoy hearing from everyone who calls or emails
in their answer including Herm Neuberger this week’s winner of a free breakfast.)
But this is the season for Presidential Conventions, so let’s go back to the
future and the Republican Convention in 1960. What U.S. Senator, in a speech
that some consider the highlight of the convention, removed himself from the
race and called upon conservatives to take back the party?  Email your
answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a 1960 edition
of “The Conscience of a Conservative”.  

Well, it has been
another week, trying to disagree without being disagreeable. Until we meet
again, a bump in the road doesn’t mean an end to the journey. (Unless of
course, it forces you over a cliff and then – well, that is a whole different

“ In this world, a good time to laugh is any time you can.” Linda Ellerbee