Aging Well March 31st 2015

Over the last seven years, how many times has the Center asked for your financial support to expand and remodel the Center – most recently to install an elevator? And how many times have you stepped up by giving to the Center? For some of you, many, many times. Because of your generous financial support, and with the help of Chris Zukin and the Uplifting Elevator Committee, The Dalles Chamber, Northern Wasco County PUD, The City of The Dalles, NW Farm Credit Services, and an anonymous donation of $50,000, the Center has raised over $120,000.

That is good news. But there is more good news to report. The Center has recently been awarded a $115,000 grant from The Ford Family Foundation. With that grant, the Center is now two-thirds of the way towards raising the necessary $350,000 to install the elevator and complete the necessary remodel to accommodate it.

The Center is continuing to apply for several smaller grants, and will initiate one last local fundraiser. But just imagine. With your continued support, it is quite possible the Uplifting Elevator campaign could be completed by the end of this year. And that would be really good news.

The Center still has a few tickets left for the 2:00 matinee performance of I Love Lucy On Stage on Saturday, April 11th at the Keller Auditorium in Portland for only $75 including transportation – much less than the $91 it would cost if you purchased a ticket on your own.
But for those of you who may not have considered attending a play at the Keller Auditorium because of poor hearing – which many of us have, Lyn Dalton discovered when she saw Guys and Dolls, that the Keller Auditorium provides assistive listening devices. These devices amplify and clarify sound by cutting down or eliminating ambient noise. (Lyn said it was as if you were right on stage.) Individual headsets with a receiver or a neck loops for use with hearing aids with a “T” switch (Telecoil) are available free of charge. Ask your audiologist whether your hearing aid has a “T” switch and how to use it with an assistive listening headset or neck loop.

The Center’s mission is to promote healthy aging for ALL generations – we don’t discriminate if you happen to be young and inexperienced. So if you know of anyone looking for space to rent whether they are ninety-nine or nine, freckled or bald, have them call the Center.  The hourly rates are quite reasonable; and if you are a non-profit with a similar mission as the Center’s, we can make you a deal. For example, the Center is pleased to provide space at no cost for the annual Relay for Life’s Parking Lot Sale on Saturday May 2nd from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on April 7th, Andre, K.C and Tom will be playing their own brand of country western – and whatever else they feel the audience will enjoy. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
Although Juanita Ignowski received several calls from friends after I wrote about the café across the street from The Dalles High School that she remembered, I didn’t receive any calls with the correct name of the cafe – Peter Pan. But I did hear from Marcia Lacock (and winner of five Necktie Quilt raffle tickets) who remembered The Teepee Café, owned by a neat lady who was the mother of John Byers and his sister Muriel, and which was the go-to place for TDHS kids, as was the Handout. When the Teepee closed, it was replaced by a dry cleaning business called Phillips’ One Hour Martinizing. Bring back any memories?
I’ll ask more local questions in future weeks, email me if you have any good ones, but I was reminded of this week’s “Remember When” question last week when I was on the KODL Coffeebreak with Al Wynn.
Who was the actor, and professional baseball and basketball player, who starred as Lucas McCain, a widowed Union Civil War veteran and a homesteader, in a western aired on ABC from 1958 – 1963? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a modified Winchester 92.
Well, it’s been another week, with places to go, but nobody to see. Until we meet again, don’t let anyone tell you what you should do at your age – but try to avoid climbing tall ladders.

“Life is so much brighter when you focus on what truly matters.” Unknown author

Aging Well March 24th 2015

There are many folks who want to stay in their own homes but find it difficult to do so. It is harder to finish all the chores around the house, keep the yard up and even fix healthy meals. But maybe a few hours a week of in-home help could allow them to continue to live in their own homes. If you know of someone in that situation, there is a program funded by the state of Oregon that may help.
Oregon Project Independence (OPI) provides services to Oregonians age 60 and older. These services are intended to support older adults so they can remain in their home as long as they wish. Here in the Mid-Columbia region (Wasco, Sherman, Hood River, Gilliam and Wheeler counties), OPI is administered by the Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
Because of its value, Melissa Howtopat was hired two and a half years ago by the AAA to expand the OPI program. As a result of additional funding from the Oregon legislature and her diligent efforts, OPI is now assisting more than fifty older adults. And the good news is they currently have the resources to assist even more older adults.  
To qualify for OPI, a person must be age 60 or older and need some type of in-home assistance based on an assessment completed by Melissa. Persons younger than age 60 who have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia may be eligible for OPI services.
If a person qualifies, the fees are often affordable – utilizing a sliding fee schedule based on the individual’s monthly income minus their medical expenses. Other financial resources such as savings are not included.
From the individual assessment, services are tailored to the individual’s needs. The available services can include homemaker assistance such as preparing meals, shopping for personal items, or doing light housework; chore assistance such as heavy housework and yard work; respite services which provide a temporary break for the caregiver; assistance identifying other resources and health care options; and personal care services.
Oregon Project Independence has helped thousands of older Oregonians to remain as independent as possible in their own homes. To enroll in OPI or for more information, contact Melissa at the Area Agency on Aging by calling her at 541-298-4101.
For the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on March 31st, a Bill Moyers’ interview with Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot will be shown and discussed. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is one of America’s leading educators and author of The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 and more recently Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free.
As a reminder, if you can’t attend “Are You Ready for Medicare?” on Wednesday April 8th from 9:00 – 11:00 at The Dalles campus of CGCC, you can always call the Center and make an appointment with a trained SHIBA counselor to help answer your Medicare questions.
Every fifth Tuesday, the always popular Dufur Boys perform at the Center for your listening and dancing pleasure. And fortunately, the next fifth Tuesday is this coming Tuesday, March 31st, Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
Last reminder. Nehemiah Brown will be performing at the Center this Friday March 27thfrom 7:00 – 9:00 sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center. The cost is still only $3.00 per person.
Many folks remembered the Spudnut (and if you want to make the trip, there is still one open in Richland, Washington). But Dennis Morgan, who worked at the Spudnut, also known as Otto’s Ice Cream Center when it was owned by “Ma Durfee”, also remembered Egbert’s Tasty Bakery. And Jerry Philips remembers the Super Cream – where you could watch the donut machine in the window. (The winner of five raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt is Susan Ortega.)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, let’s try one more local question which came from a conversation with Juanita Ignowski. What was the name of the cafe in a house across the street from The Dalles High School where Juanita and Zelta Wasson would often eat when they were in high school? (Juanita, I hope I got that right.) E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or have a girl named Wendy drop it off at the Center.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the unexpected surprises- the good and the ugly. Until we meet again, remember, if the world was perfect, we wouldn’t be here.

“In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us.” Beverly Sills

Aging Well March 17th 2015

We have all heard that Alzheimer’s is a debilitating brain disease. The brain cells progressively degenerate causing deterioration in thinking ability and memory; and also affecting behavior, mood and emotions, and the ability to perform everyday activities. Consequently, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be both frustrating and exhausting.
At the Center on Wednesday March 25th from 1 to 4:30 PM the Oregon Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will present, “Living with Alzheimer’s: For Caregivers – Middle Stage”. You will hear caregivers and professionals discuss helpful strategies to provide safe, effective and comfortable care in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s. The class is free, but registration is required. To register, call 800-272-3900.
But what is the middle stage of Alzheimer’s? The middle stage is typically the longest stage and can last for many years. It follows the early stage when the person exhibits mild cognitive impairment and may still be able to function independently such as driving and participating in social activities. And it precedes the late stage Alzheimer’s when around the clock care is usually required.
During the middle stage, as the dementia progresses, the person with Alzheimer’s may find it difficult to express thoughts and perform routine tasks such as getting dressed. As a caregiver during this stage, you become a hands-on caregiver, and it is particularly important to get the support you need as a caregiver.
The “Living with Alzheimer’s” presentation on the 25th will provide valuable information on how to care for a loved one as well as yourself. For more information, you can also go to the Oregon Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association website at
Have you ever visited with your grandchildren or great-grandchildren and wondered why they say what they say? (Maybe even your adult children? But that is a whole different subject!) At the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on March 24th, Lindsay Couch, SLP (Speech- Language Pathology) will talk about language and communication development in children including how children develop language skills, how they communicate with their parents and grandparents, and what milestones in communication should be reached at certain ages/stages. She has spoken to other groups in the area and they have found her presentations fascinating.
Are you ready for Medicare? Well, I imagine most of you, like myself, are already enrolled in Medicare. But for those of you who aren’t, you don’t have to wait until you are 65 to understand Medicare. You can get help now at a free community event presented by Oregon’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA) on Wednesday April 8th from 9:00 – 11:00 AM at the Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles. You will learn how to enroll in Medicare, important deadlines, avoiding penalties, working after you are eligible for Medicare, finding assistance with paying Medicare costs and much more. Call 541-506-6011 to register.
Now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer, more folks are enjoying the Center’s Tuesday Night Music and Dance. This coming Tuesday March 24ththe Simcoe Boys will be playing. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
Nehemiah Brown will be performing at the Center once again on March 27th from 7:00 – 9:00. If you haven’t heard Nehemiah, you should. He sings the hits of the 50’s and 60’s in the style of Nat King Cole and Bobby Darin. And thanks to The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center who is sponsoring the event, the cost is still only $3.00 per person.
Okay, last week I may have given the answer away when I mentioned Phil Brady, but I wasn’t sure if anyone would remember Brady’s Market and its sign with the rotating grocery cart on top. I certainly was wrong. (The winner of five raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt is Morris Melton.)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, here’s another local question about a popular landmark in The Dalles gleaned from my conversation with Jim Slusher and Phil Brady. But this time I’m only going to give one clue.  What comes to mind when I mention “doughnut” (and it’s not the Bakekitchen).  E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a round trip bus ticket to Richland, Washington.
Well, it’s been another week, laughing with friends – old and new. Until we meet again, don’t use your age as an excuse.

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” Douglas Adams

Aging Well March 10th 2015

In the United States, we are living longer than ever with the average lifespan in 2013 of 79.8 years according to the World Health Organization. In large measure, this is the result of medical advancements in reducing the number of deaths due to heart disease and stroke.
The idea of lifespan came up this last weekend when my wife and I spent time with my son who was in Oregon for the weekend. During his visit, we had aso I can enjoy those extra bonus years.f study which is the biology of aging or trying  fascinating discussion about his field of graduate study: the biology of aging. He talked about genomes, DNA and RNA, telomeres and proteins (I wish I had remembered more from my high school biology classes!). In those discussions, he mentioned the difference between lifespan – how long you live, and healthspan – the period of your life during which you are generally healthy.
Lifespan I am familiar with since it is one of the most common indicators of health. But when I think about it, an increase in lifespan can’t be the whole picture. Without an increase in healthspan, it could just mean more years with illness and disability. For example, with the rising life expectancy there is a growing number of dementia cases which some researchers are projecting an increase of threefold by 2050. As we add more years to our lives, don’t we still want to enjoy the life in our years?
Even with all the life extending medical advancements, there is a growing awareness that life expectancy may not be the best indicator of overall health. Consequently, I expect there will be a greater focus on research that will address what is most important: the ability to maintain our health as we age, so we can stay active, engaged and able to really enjoy the bonus years.
But as of now, there is no quick fix to healthy aging – no magic fountain of youth. A long and healthy life comes down to making sensible lifestyle choices: exercising, eating well and staying connected with others. And a little bit of good luck.
Now that the Center has sold all twenty tickets for Guys and Dolls, the next show is I Love Lucy On Stage which is a brand-new, feel-good stage show adapted from the beloved television hit of the 50’s. Thirteen seats are still available for the 2:00 Saturday matinee on April 11th at the Keller Auditorium in Portland. The cost is $75 including transportation. Drop by the Center to purchase your tickets.
If you are staying home on St. Patrick’s Day you are missing some great music. The annual “St. Pat’s at St. Pete’s” concert at St. Peter’s Landmark starts at 7 p.m.  Cascade Children’s Choir and instrumentalists will join the Cascade Singers choir, ensemble, and “Almost-All-Irish-Almost All-Brass Band” for Irish favorites and sing-alongs.  Admission is a free-will offering to benefit St. Peter’s Landmark. 
And as I have mentioned before, the Center is having their St. Patrick’s Day Supper and Concert featuring the local Irish band “Barley Draught”. The Irish Potato Supper starts at 5:30 and Barley Draught will be performing from 7:00 till 10:00. Clock Tower Ales will be providing the Guinness Draught, so it is an over 21 event. The cost is $12 for both supper and concert and $7 for concert only.
I heard from a lot of folks that it was “Howdy Doody time” – the answer to last week’s “Remember When” question. (The winner of five raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt is Ed Anghilante.)
This week I’m going back to local history for all the old and not-so-old timers. At the MCMC Health Foundation’s Compassion Awards event, my wife and I had the pleasure of sitting with Jim Slusher, the director of the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program (this year’s winner of the Community Service Organization Award), and Phil Brady. When they started talking about some of the old landmarks in The Dalles back in their days far, far away, my ears perked up. For those of you who were around back then, what was the name of the grocery store, located on the corner where The Dalles Chronicle building sits today, and known for its sign with a rotating grocery cart on top?  E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a twenty pound bag of groceries.
Well, it’s been another week, looking for the next right answer – or at least something close. Until we meet again, keep your chin up and your nose clean.

“Life is simpler when you plough around the stump.” Cowboy wisdom

Aging Well March 3rd 2015

Technology is constantly changing and as most of us would agree – much too fast. But the upside is that the technology will become more intuitive and responsive. And with the boomer bubble moving through the snake, businesses are taking notice. There will be an increasing focus on hi-tech products for older adults that offer enhanced safety and convenience, while also allowing greater independence.
Some of the new technologies include wireless bone conduction headphones, Bluetooth speech enhancement devices, new technology enabled in-home care systems, and fashionable wrist watches that provide medication reminders, count your steps, can be activated in an emergency, and can wash the dishes. (Okay maybe not that last one – at least not yet.) And who knows, we may live long enough to see driverless cars.
But enough of this staring in the crystal ball. How do I get my email to work or download the pictures of my grandkids? Or how do I get started with my new iPad or laptop that my children gave me – because they read how much better my life will be with one.
If you have any “techie” questions, you can just drop in any Wednesday morning at 9:00, or at 1:00 on the first Wednesdays (March 4th) if you have iPad or iPhone, and I will attempt to answer your questions. I can often help or at least give you some direction before you ask for professional help.
Now that Guys and Dolls is sold out, the next show is I Love Lucy On Stage which isa brand-new hit stage show adapted from the beloved television hit of the 50’s. The Center has purchased 20 tickets for the 2:00 Saturday matinee on April 11that the Keller Auditorium in Portland and the cost is $75 including transportation. Just drop by the Center to purchase your tickets.
Debra Jones has lined up an exciting list of creative arts classes at the Center beginning next Tuesday, March 10th from 1:00 to 2:30. There is limited room and the classes fill up quickly, so you should call the Center and reserve your spot ASAP. Because of the grant from the Wasco County Cultural Trust, we can keep the cost low – only $2.00 per class plus all the materials are provided. This allows you to get your toes wet without having to take a full bath. The lineup for the spring classes are: March 10th – Pastels; March 24th – Cup & Saucer; April 14 – Herb Garden; April 28 – Wooden Serving Trays; May 12 – Mosaics; May 26 – Collages. Call the Center at 541-296-4788 if you have any questions.
The topic for the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on March 10th is “Livable Communities – What does a community that supports all ages look like.”
For the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on March 10th, Martin and Friends will be playing for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
It was January 11, 1959 on the Ed Sullivan Show when America watched Ed Sullivan interview Fidel Castro just days after the Cuban Revolution. (The winner of a free Cherry Festival Breakfast on April 25th is Alex Currie.)
Starting this week, the winner of the “Remember When” question will win five raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt that was machine pieced and quilted by Francie Yuhas. You can see the quilt at the Center or on the Center’s website at Tickets are $1.00 a piece or seven for $5.00. The raffle drawing will be held on Monday, April 27th.
This week’s “Remember When” question is about a children’s program telecast on NBC from 1947 through 1960. At the start of each show, Buffalo Bob would come out and ask “Say kids, what time is it? What would the children in the “Peanut Gallery” say in response? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with one of Clarabell’s seltzer bottles.
Well, it’s been another week, living in the “now” because I can’t remember what happened yesterday. Until we meet again, as I am often told, if you ever find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to put down the shovel.

“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; and in these qualities old age is usually not only not poorer, but is even richer.”  Cicero