Aging Well in the Gorge September 29th 2015

Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15th and you have until December 7th to make changes to your Medicare Advantage, Medigap or prescription drug plans. You should be receiving or already have received your Annual Notice of Change regarding your plans. Review the changes carefully, particularly changes in cost, physician network and any changes in the prescriptions covered by your insurance company.
Even if you are satisfied with your current plan, you still may want to look around to see if there is a better deal. I know many folks have avoided the hassle of comparing plans over the past several years and just opted to automatically renew their current plans.
Choosing the type of health insurance coverage is confusing. Before I was covered by Medicare, I relied upon the judgment of my employer or an insurance agent in choosing a plan. I was insulated from all the complexity of choosing health insurance coverage. 
But now it’s our responsibility to wade through the information and compare plans to make the best choice. But there is help. There are private insurance brokers who specialize in Medicare. You can go online to which has valuable information including the Plan Finder option or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
You can also visit the Oregon SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) website. If you rather talk to someone face to face, you can call the Center and make an appointment with a SHIBA volunteer who will help guide you through the process.
And if you want to better understand the ins and outs of Medicare Part A, B, C, and D; Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans; and all the timelines and deadlines, you are invited to attend a Medicare 101 class on Tuesday, October 6th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM at the CGCC in room 301. Reserve your spot by calling 541-308-8211 or register online at
I finally replaced the quilt, won by Sherry Dufault, which was  hanging in the Center’s lobby, with a new quilt that will be raffled off in December. Besides hand stitching beautiful quilts to raffle, the Center quilters also repair quilts for a very reasonable price. If interested call the center or you can find them downstairs every Monday from 10:00 to 3:00 – and they always have room for new members.
The start of the annual flu season is unpredictable – starting as early as October and extending even into May. But the CDC recommends that you get your flu shot by October. Rite-Aid will be conducting a Flu Shot Clinic at the Center on Wednesday October 7th from 10:30 – 1:30. And to shorten the wait, this year we are asking you to sign up ahead of time by calling the Center.
In conjunction with the Flu Shot Clinic, the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday lecture on October 6th will feature Chryll Cromier, local Rite Aid pharmacist. She will be discussing the pharmacist’s expanding role in maintaining your health plus answer questions about different vaccines from Shingles to Flu shots.
The Zumba Gold class led by Marsha Morrison is held every Tuesday and Thursday mornings downstairs at the Center, but the time has changed. It is now starting 15 minutes earlier from 10:45 to 11:30. The cost is $3.00 for every session.
Last reminder. The Baby Back Rib dinner supporting Meals-on-Wheels and the Center is Friday night from 4:30 – 7:00. For only $15, there will be great food, music and a silent auction – generously sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek.
For Tuesday Night Music at the Center on October 6th, Andre, KC and Tom will be playing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
The American author and nutritionist who became the most recognized nutritionist in the 1960s and 1970’s was Adelle Davis. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket and who owned several of Davis’s books in the 70’s is Dottie Layer.)
In August of 1951, the NY Giants were 12 ½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. But by winning 37 of their last 44 games, they caught their cross town rivals, to force a three game playoff. In the third game, trailing 4 – 1 in the 9th inning, who hit the winning homerun known in baseball lore as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the “The Staten Island Scot”.

Well, it’s been another week, shoes strings tied and raring to go. Until we meet again, don’t let fear take hold of the steering wheel.

Aging Well in the Gorge September 22nd 2015

As I get older, it’s hard not think about death and dying: friends pass away and my body, like my ’87 Ford pickup, continuosly reminds me it won’t last forever. But talking about death and dying can be a healthy experience and contrary to what many people think, it won’t kill you.
(On September 30 at 7:00 PM at the library in The Dalles you can participate in the one-time event: Talking about Dying – a ninety minute conversation with other participants, sharing stories and thoughts on the subject of death and dying. This program, facilitated by professionals, is a statewide initiative by Oregon Humanities.)
But obsessing about death is not healthy and can lead to suicidal thoughts and suicide.
Suicide is a particular concern for older adults because they may experience many of the risk factors: isolation, physical ailments, lack of purpose. But understanding suicide is for all ages. It can help you, as a parent, grandparent or friend, to know the signs and how to respond.
Some signs that a person is possibly considering suicide are a refusal to participate in activities they once enjoyed; engaging in risky activities; withdrawing from society. Or making statements such as “You won’t have to worry about me much longer.” “I can’t take this any longer.” “I’m no good to anyone anymore.”
With something so personal, how you respond depends on the relationship you have with the person. But if you feel comfortable discussing with them about how they feel, here are some suggestions – if they are not in immediate danger. (If you feel they are call 911 at once.)
Don’t try to avoid the subject or minimize it by saying, “Oh, don’t talk like that.” “Look on the bright side.” “Now don’t talk such foolishness.” “You’re doing just fine.”
But show interest and support. Be direct – talk openly and freely about suicide. Ask questions that allow them to talk openly about their feelings such as “How are you doing? Do you feel like talking about how you feel?  How long have you felt this way? Are you thinking about doing something to harm yourself?  What are you planning to do? Be willing to listen and be non-judgmental. Don’t debate or lecture on the value of life.
Suicide is too important to deal with by yourself. Involve trusted friends or family members or a professional with experience with emotional and mental health issues. For additional guidance and support call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk with a professional.
You can learn more about this important, but often ignored subject, by attending the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on July 29th at 11:00 when Susan Gabay, a local Suicide Prevention advocate, will be speaking.
It is hard to believe that October is less than two weeks away – but then it seems like the ‘60s were only yesterday. And to start the month off right, I want to invite you to enjoy some delicious Baby Back ribs; music by my favorite bluegrass band, Hardshell Harmony, plus a silent auction at the annual Baby Back Rib Dinner on Friday, October 2nd. Food will be served at the Center from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM and the cost is still an affordable $15. Thanks to a generous sponsorship by The Springs at Mill Creek are proceeds will support the Center and Meals-on-Wheels. You can purchase tickets at the Center, Klindt’s or at the door.
For Tuesday Night Music at the Center on September 29th the newly formed local band Country Roads will be playing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome – whether you are new, old or in-between. And donations are always appreciated.
I had many responses to what I wasn’t supposed to wear after Labor Day. The answer is “white” and in my case white buck shoes – which I can’t imagine ever wearing again – before or after Labor Day. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Joan Brace.)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the American author and nutritionist who became the most recognized nutritionist in the 1960s and 1970’s as an early advocate for specific nutritional views such as unprocessed food and vitamin supplementation even though she was heavily criticized by her peers? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep the train running and on time. Until we meet again, stay in touch with your family and friends – and yourself. 

Aging Well in the Gorge September 15th 2015

Besides being National Senior Center Month, did you know September is also National Fall Hat Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, and National Bourbon Heritage Month?  Probably not. But I hope you do know September is National Preparedness Month – helping communities prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies.
In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, the American Red Cross and NW Natural are inviting you to “Get Ready, The Dalles” an event at the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue on Saturday the 19th from 10:00 – 2:00. There you will learn more about how to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies. You can pick up free safety items and the first 100 families will receive a small emergency kit! Plus free lunch will be served.
In addition to “Get Ready, the Dalles” you can find more information about preparedness at including these three important steps older Americans can take to be prepared.
First, make a kit of emergency supplies including food and water to last at least three days – plus your medications. Keep important documents such as birth certificates, Medicare cards and insurance policies in the kit or nearby.
Create a plan. Do you have a personal support network? A family communication plan? A plan to evacuate? And what about your pets?
Finally, stay informed. Do you have your mobile phone registered with Citizen’s Alert? (All landlines automatically receive emergency notices). Do you know what type of emergency to prepare for? We don’t have to worry about tornadoes or hurricanes, but we do have floods, wildfires, heat waves, snow/ice storms and, oh yeah, it also gets windy once in a while!
FEMA reported that Americans 75 and older are generally not prepared and are not confident it would make any difference. But it can. As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worse.”
Under the “Oops. I forgot” column, I didn’t mention last week that Mahjong is returning on Fridays from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. This is not the familiar computer game of matching tiles, but a game I found similar to Gin Rummy but using tiles instead of playing cards. This is a great chance to learn something new, and I promise it will be much easier than learning Mandarin Chinese.

Besides this column, I also write the Center’s almost weekly newsletter – which I email and post on the Center’s website ( But often I can’t remember if I wrote something for this column or the newsletter. So have I mentioned the weekly Doodlers group offered by the Dalles Art Center? They gather every Sunday at different locations to sketch and doodle. It is very informal and open to all skill levels. It sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Call the Art Center for more information.

As I looked back over the past several week’s columns, it appears I forgot to mention who was playing music at the Center on Tuesday nights. I guess I miss the Brain Fitness Club more than I thought. (The club is meeting again on Mondays from 1:00 – 2:00). So for at least my own benefit, this week’s announcement for Tuesday Night music will be scrambled to give the grey cells a quick little work out.

Rof hte tnCere’s Tuesday night scuim at eth Ectenr on September 22nd, The Elderly Brothers lilw eb perofmrgni for yoru ilnsitgen dan cndaing pleasure. Ew ullp up het rgu at 7:00 so ouy nac ickk yuor shoes fof and adenc het inght ayaw. Reveoyne is invited, wtehhre yuo ehva ufro left feet or onne, nad odtnionas rea alawys appreciated.
The “Lovable Lush” was Foster Brooks who often performed with Dean Martin – who I recall had a persona of being a drinker himself. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Kathy Shebley.)

Fashion is always changing, but now a days there doesn’t seem to be any rules. Shorts are worn year round, pants range from baggy to skin tight, and what I would call pajama bottoms, people wear while shopping.

But when I was in high school, I remember my aunt telling me what I was wearing wasn’t supposed to be worn after Labor Day. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was I wearing? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a can of Kiwi Polish.

Well, it’s been another week, learning to duck when it comes back around. Until we meet again, your friends may have more, and your critics less, but everyone has a piece of the truth. 

Aging Well in the Gorge September 8th

Anyone else tired of finding a Charter Spectrum or Dish TV advertisement in their mailbox? How long will it take before they realize I am quite happy with my TV Antenna and Netflix. But I promise when it comes to reminding you about activities and classes at the Center, I’ll won’t be so irritatingly insistent. So pay attention.

Now that the summer months have passed and the Center, as well as most of you, are settling back into a more predictable routine, it is a good time to remind you of the many activities at the Center that nurture the mind, body and soul.

For the MIND, there are several opportunities.

On Mondays from noon to 1:00 there is “Lunch with TED”, whose title may be a little too vague because several folks have asked, “Who is TED?” TED refers to the TED Talks we watch which are short fascinating video presentations (less than 20 minutes long) about “ideas worth spreading”. Bring your lunch or purchase a delicious meal from Meals-on-Wheels.
After “Lunch with TED” is the Brain Fitness Club which goes from 1:00 – 2:00. We learn how to keep our mature brains running on all cylinders while better understanding how the brain functions and playing mentally stimulating games and puzzles.
On Tuesdays are the Tuesday Lectures from 11:00 – 12:00. You will have a chance to listen to both local speakers and taped national presentations on a variety of subjects. The topic for September 15th will be the Older Americans Act which was first passed in 1964 and has significantly improved the health and well-being of older Americans.

For the BODY, there are several classes that will keep you moving.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are busy days downstairs.
Debra Lutje starts off the morning leading the Chair Yoga class from 9:30 to 10:30;
Marsha Morrison teaches the Zumbo Gold from 11:00 – 12:00;
Corliss Marsh guides the Tai Chi class from 1:00 – 1:45 (Tuesdays only);
Strong Women lead by Fern Wilcox is from 2:00 – 3:00
and for those who enjoy friendly competition, there is Table Tennis from 3:00 – 4:00.
Upstairs on Thursdays from 10:30 – 11:30, Jacquie Hashizume leads the clogging and Line Dancing class.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, Debra is back teaching the Seniorcise class from 9:15 – 1:00.
The costs range from $2.00 to $3.00 per class.

 For the SOUL, there is nothing better than getting lost in the creative process.

Thanks to a Wasco County Cultural Trust grant, the Center once again offers a full schedule of classes.
Tuesday September 22nd from 1:00 – 2:30, Donna Gooch, local cake decorator, will show you how to use some simple decorating ideas with you own set of decorating tips.
Tuesday October 13th you will learn how to make lovely little handmade Henna Books for your thoughts using watercolors, ink and acrylics.
Tuesday November 10th you will learn about some decorating ideas and gifts to make for the holiday season.
The classes are from 1:00 – 2:30, costs $3.00 and all the materials are provided. Classes are limited to eight people. Call the Center to register.

At the urging of Barb Pashek, I went out on a limb and purchased 16 tickets for “Vicki Lawrence and Mama” at the Chinook Winds on Saturday, November 21st. And since we are all old enough to know not to try to drive to the coast and back in one day, I have reserved a block of rooms at the Liberty Inn in Lincoln City. The cost for this adventure is $70 for the transportation and show; and a room for two for one night is $99 which includes free hot and cold breakfast and a walk along the beach. Sign up at the Center and we will explain how to call Liberty Inn to reserve your room.

From 1934 to 1955, you could hear broadcast adaptions of stage plays and movies, including the Wizard of Oz, on the Lux Radio Theater. And for the know-it-alls, Dorothy’s last name was Gale.

I thought of this week’s “Remember When” question after reading a Facebook post by Mike Tenney. Who was the comedian with a grey beard most famous for portraying a ”Lovable Lush” on the Dean Martin Show? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a frozen package of Foster Farms chicken strips.

 Well, it’s been another week, feeling like I have four feet and they are all on the left side. Until we meet again, only in small towns do you know who’s inside by the cars parked outside.

Aging Well in the Gorge September 1st 2015

There were many reasons I looked forward to September: the excitement of returning to school, the beginning of fall and cooler temperatures (which was a big relief if you grew up in the humid Midwest), and the start of football. But I’ve found September to be special for another reason. It’s Senior Center Month!

Nationally, Senior Centers have been operating since the 1940’s but when the Older Americans Act was amended in 1972 there was a big push to build Senior Centers in order to provide community focal points for seniors. In 1979 a national celebration of Senior Centers was established, and in 1985 the first Presidential Proclamation celebrating Senior Center Week was signed by President Ronald Reagan. Then in 2007, the week was stretched into a month to allow more time to promote the important role of Senior Centers.

The Mid-Columbia Senior Center has been operating from its current location since 1987 with its mission to promote healthy aging by providing opportunities for all generations to explore, connect and contribute. Senior Centers may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are interested in exercising, dancing, creating and learning; enjoy sharing stories with friends new and old; or want to volunteer to help and support others, the Center is one place where you can find it all.

And now that it’s September, the Center is gearing up to return to its regular schedule of activities after the lazy, crazy days of summer. Next week, I will go into more detail about the Center’s fall schedule, but most of the classes and activities will return during the week of September 14th – except next week when the first of the fall series of Creative Arts classes will be held at the Center from 1:00 – 2:30 on Tuesday, September 8th. In this class you will make lovely little sachets for your drawers or closet. The class costs $3.00 which includes all supplies, and is limited to eight, so call the Center soon to sign up.

I mustn’t forget to remind everyone of the special September exhibition at The Dalles Art Center featuring the works of “The 3 Nancys”: Nancy Russell, Nancy Bishop and Nancy Rooper. The opening reception, which anyone can attend and there is no charge, will be from 5:00 – 7:00 on Thursday, September 3rd.

The Center is also where you can learn about other activities and classes in the community. One example is “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging. It is an incredibly beneficial class proven to help caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a loved one or friend. The class will meet at the MCCOG Board Room located at 1113 Kelly Avenue from 9:00 – 11:30 every Wednesday for six weeks starting October 1st. Class size is limited and registration is required – call 541-298-4101 ext. 219. The suggested donation is $20 to defray the cost of the book, but is not required to attend the class.

The Center will be closed for the Labor Day weekend and there will not be Bingo this coming Thursday and Saturday Nights. But as always there will be Tuesday night music on September 8th, with Martin and Friends performing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome, and donations are appreciated.

The car associated with James Bond, first seen in Goldfinger, was the Aston Martin; owned by Ford Motor Co. from 1994 until 2007 which is the reason the current lineup of Fords has an Aston Martin like grill design – and probably why I bought a Ford Fiesta, subconsciously thinking I was buying a $110,000 Aston Martin so I could be cool and sophisticated like James Bond. (This week’s winner is Bill Van Nice and last week’s winner, whom I forgot, was Sandy Haechrel.)

The idea for this week’s “Remember When” question comes from my old friend and compatriot John Mabrey who listens to Old Time Radio classics – which you can find on the Internet or Sirius radio. What live radio series broadcast adaptions of stage plays and movies from 1934 – 1955, including the Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland, and was sponsored by a brand of soap? And if you think you’re so smart knowing that answer, what was Dorothy’s last name? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a pair of ruby slippers.

Well, it’s been another week, learning more and knowing less. Until we meet again remember the old Chinese proverb “If you don’t know what to say, tell an old Chinese proverb”.