Aging Well December 17 2013

The literature on aging has identified three pillars to successful aging: avoiding disease and disability; active engagement in life; and maximizing your cognitive and physical fitness. But Dr. Michael Parker, at the University of Alabama’s Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, believes there should be a fourth pillar which has been forgotten when discussing successful aging – the spiritual.

Spirituality extends beyond the physical and material, and connects the individual to something greater than the self. It is deeply personal and expressed in a variety of ways including the involvement in religious activities which is associated with better physical and mental health by providing intergenerational connections, social supports, and encouraging social involvement through good works.

To learn more you can attend the last Passport to Happiness Event of 2013 on Wednesday December 18th at the Center from 3:00 – 4:30 when Joyce Powell Morin will discuss the connection between spirituality and health and well-being.

You’ve probably heard the joke “Keep Grandma off the Street – Support Bingo”. For Thursday and Saturday Night Bingo at the Center, there is a loyal following of older adults but you will also find people of all ages enjoying bingo and  the tantalizing feeling of being, oh, so close – “just one more number!” Or the thrill of taking home $1000.

But bingo is the largest fundraiser for both Meals-on-Wheels (on Thursday nights} and the Center {on Saturday nights). For the Center, bingo generates approximately 20% of the Center’s operating budget. And as a special thank-you to all the bingo players who help support both Meals-on-Wheels and the Center, and to invite new players to this classic American game of chance, on Saturday December 28ththe Center will welcome the New Year, albeit  a few days early, with a Bingo Bash. A free dinner featuring pulled pork sandwiches will be served between 4:30 and 5:30 – in time to digest, clean up and be ready for the games to begin at 6:00 PM.

Thanks to the several folks who stepped forward to help with Bingo, but we still need a couple more cashiers and concession workers to fill in once a month. The time commitment is between 3 ½ and 5 ½ hours a night. Call the Center if you are interested.

The Center’s annual Christmas breakfast will be on December 21st – once again sponsored by The Springs of Mill Creek. The menu will include Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon plus fruit and your favorite beverage. And to add to the festive spirit, The Springs will be providing musical entertainment; plus they have invited Santa so the young-at-heart can have their picture taken with Santa. The cost is still only $5.00 for the general public and $4.00 for Center members. This will also be your last chance to buy raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt hanging in the Center’s lobby. The drawing will be held at 9:00 during the breakfast. .

During the holidays, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. And because Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Wednesdays, there will not be Tuesday Night Music at the Center for the next two weeks. (You will just have to wait to use your already scrambled brain cells to decipher the wacky mixed up weekly music announcement.}  And there will not be Tuesday Lectures for the next two weeks either – which gives me time to line up the next speaker for January 7th. During the holidays many other Center classes are cancelled, so you may want to call to make sure your class is meeting.

In one of his last roles, Boris Karlof was the voice of the Grinch who stole Christmas in the children’s classic first shown on December 18th in 1966. (The winner of a free Christmas Breakfast on Saturday December 21st is Glenna McCargar.)

As you remember Christmas pasts with presents bought and received, here is a “Remember When” question for both the boys and girls in the peanut gallery. For the boys, what kind of cap did Fess Parker make famous in the Disney mini-series Davy Crockett? And for the girls, what was the name of one of the most popular “drink-and-wet dolls of the 50’s? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a saver book of S&H Green Stamps.

Well, it has been another week discovering what you think does matter doesn’t and what doesn’t matter does. Until we meet again, don’t let your angels pass by without saying thank-you.  

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” Bing Crosby 

Aging Well December 10th 2013

I know you’ve been around the ice block a few times, so you have heard how to stay safe in cold weather. But then if I remembered everything I’ve heard, I would be a very sharp cookie – which I am reminded daily I am not. So maybe just a few reminders might help to keep you upright and avoid falling – one of the major dangers during the cold and slippery winter months.
Wear proper footwear – stable shoes with good traction. Keep a shovel, salt and sand nearby to make your path to the car or mailbox accessible and safe. Carry a cell phone with a contact number for ICE – In Case of Emergency. Take it slow – no need to hurry. No one else is moving very fast. Ask for assistance – don’t let pride goeth before a fall. Don’t take chances. Even if the Center and Meals-on-Wheels are open, don’t come in if you think it is unsafe. It’s not school and we won’t be calling your children if you miss a day. Have a plan for whom to call if something does happen: a fall or the car won’t start.
And don’t ignore the everyday healthy habits during these cold winter months: eat nutritious foods, exercise moderately; get proper rest; and drink adequate amounts of liquids.
For those of us who haven’t flown the coup to warmer climates (although when the temperature is below zero it is tempting), these are some common sense steps we can take to make sure the winter months are safe, enjoyable and full of good cheer with family and friends.
Daily exercise is good but spending hours shoveling snow can make a long day even longer. But this last Saturday, as Ron Sutherland was shoveling the Center’s parking lot, a crew of young people from the TOOL program at NORCOR came by with shovels in hand; and then a young man from Brace Brothers drove up on his hefty steed of a snow plowing machine and started plowing. Thanks to their generous help the parking lot is plowed and shoveled – but still slippery – waiting for the warmth of sunny skies and warmer temperatures to melt away the rest of the ice and snow.
Every third Monday and Tuesday, the Center offers the AARP Driver Safety class taught by Dennis Davis. And it was just announced that Dennis was selected as the AARP Drivers Safety Volunteer Instructor for November – in the whole State of Oregon! I knew he was good – but not that good. You can sign up anytime by calling the Center at 541-296-4788.
The Nu-2-U Shop has been picked up, put back down and spun around – cleaned up and ready to go for the Holiday Season with nice women’s and some men’s used clothing. But the Nu-2-U crew is telling me they are running low in good quality used clothing. So think of them while you are cleaning out the closet making room for all your new Christmas gifts. You can drop off any unwanted clothing at the Center on any week day between 9:00 and 4:00 PM.
Do you know there is an Internet website that will randomly mix up the letters in all the words of a sentence? Which makes it real tempting to jumble the letters every week for the Center’s music announcement. But since this is the last announcement for 2013, (there will not be music on the 24th or 31st) I will let you off easy – but just wait till next year.
On Tuesday, December 17th, Truman will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was the Christmas classic that reached #1 in December of 1952. (The winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Morris Melton.)

Continuing the Christmas theme for this week’s “Remember When” question, before Jim Carrey’s Grinch stole Christmas, there was the television special of the children’s classic, first shown on December 18th 1966. In this animated version, who was the voice of the Grinch (and also the narrator) playing one of his final roles?

E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of Mary Shelley’s first novel.
Well, it has been another week watching how the falling leaves have now turned to snow. Until we meet again, bad always looks better after it gets worse.   

“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula LeGuin.

Aging Well December 3rd 2013

Sometimes, don’t you just wish things were different? Thoughts wouldn’t disappear like a magician’s assistant; the body could still scale tall mountains; and old friends would still be there – sitting next to you at church or during lunch at the Center.

There are days when it is a struggle just to keep moving and your head above water. And when that happens it is easy to focus on what we don’t have (and during this season we are bombarded with all the material things we don’t have) instead of what we do – and can get stuck riding a downward spiral into the sticky goop of self-pity.

But in the book Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life by M.J. Ryan, a book recently loaned to me by Ron Nelson, Ryan shares her thoughts and understanding of how gratitude can make us better aware of all the wonders we experience and remind us of the bountiful harvest before us and the amazing miracle of life.

By expressing our gratitude for what we have and making it a daily habit, we can live a more positive and meaningful life and have the strength to address our worries and change what is broken.

As Meister Eckhart once said “If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice.”

And for those of you who thought you missed last Tuesday’s Lecture by Joyce Powell Morin on the Healing Power of Gratitude and Optimism, you didn’t. I had to postpone the presentation, but it has been rescheduled for January 28th.

And speaking of the 11:00 Tuesday Lectures at the Center, the next speaker on December 10th will be Dick LaFever sharing his moving and powerful story of forgiveness and his faith that’s given him strength during the painful times in his life. Whether you have heard his message or not, I would encourage you to attend this presentation.

Pinochle is a popular card game: it is challenging involving teamwork and skill, but easy enough to learn. And what better way to get together with others, stretch your cranium (and if you know the right places – enjoy some great homemade snacks) while having fun. There are many places to play Pinochle including at the Center on Thursday afternoons starting at 1:00 and Friday nights starting at 6:00 – and like all the activities at the Center, they are open to everyone.

But if you want to learn how to play Pinochle or brush up on your skills, starting December 3rd on every Tuesday from 1 – 3 PM at the Eagles, there will be free instruction on how to play the game. It is open to everyone – you don’t have to be a member of the Eagles. For more information contact Gayla Hill at 541-993-0873.

Are you tired of having to read all the mixed up letters for the Center’s music announcement and just want it to be simple and clear? Sorry, no can do. You see, I’m only thinking of you – and how “easy” is really not good for your brain health – or much of a challenge. But you say you have enough challenges – like just getting out of the chair!  Okay, in the Christmas spirit, I will only scramble some of the words in this week’s music announcement. Now are you happy?

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The answers to last week’s “Remember When” questions were Tom Mix, the original cowboy actor, and his horse Tony. (The winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on December 21st is Jim Ayers.)

And during the month of December I will ask questions from Christmases past – including this one about the No. 1 song in December 1952. What was the name of this Christmas oldie recorded by Jimmy Boyd, when he was only 13 years old, describing what a little boy saw when he walked downstairs on Christmas Eve. E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a bushel full of Phoradendron serotinum that I can hang in the bedroom doorway.

Well, it has been another week raking away the leaves that somehow keep reappearing.
Until we meet again, as we experience the challenges of aging don’t forget all the things that don’t need fixing.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder