Aging Well in the Gorge September 27th 2016

Most of us want to stay in our own homes as we age, but we also want to stay safe. And staying safe includes making sure your smoke detectors are installed and working.
I was reminded of the importance of smoke detectors several weeks ago when my wife and daughter drove by the house fire on Fourth Street. When they stopped, they saw flames shooting out the side of the house; could hear someone inside tapping on one of the upstairs windows; and saw several Johnnies-on-the-spot scrambling to get the person out. It was a truly frightening experience knowing it was real – and not a movie.
Now you can guess what I did the next day. I checked all the smoke detectors in my house: replacing the ones older than ten years, which were most of them; and making sure the others were working.
But I found that I am not the young whipper-snapper I once was – or even as strong as I was just ten years ago. And although I was able to get all the smoke detectors installed, it wasn’t easy. I imagined what it would be like if I wasn’t able to climb a ladder or didn’t have the strength to use a screwdriver.  
That is where the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue (MCFR) can help out. If you are unable to install your smoke detectors and do not have a friend who can help, you can call MCFR and make an appointment for someone to come and install them for you.
MCFR wants to save and protect lives. They have been trained to respond to emergencies, but their worst nightmare is retrieving a lifeless body from a structure fire. They know smoke detectors can save lives – but only if they are installed and working.
You can learn more about fire prevention, how to escape a fire and other MCFR services such as FireMed memberships at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on October 4that 11:00 when a representative from the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue will be the speaker. Come and learn how to be prepared, so you can avoid the worse.
Tickets are on sale for the Baby Back Rib Dinner on October 7th. You can purchase them at the Center, at Klindt’s Booksellers or this Saturday they’ll be selling tickets at the Farmers’ Market from 9:00 – 1:00. The cost is still only $15. And thanks to the dinner’s sponsor, The Springs at Mill Creek, every dollar raised will go to support The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels and the Center.  
Andre, KC and Joe will be playing at the Center on Tuesday, October 4th. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, and donations are appreciated.
And there’s more music. The popular northwest vocalist Nehemiah Brown is returning to the Center on Friday, October 14th. With his silky smooth voice, he will sing standards from the 50’s and 60’s including pop, country and some gospel tossed in. Thanks to The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center, the ticket prices are only $3.00 per person which you can purchase at the door. Doors open at 6:00, and the music starts at 7:00  
The name of the roller skating rink on the west side of town was the By Golly. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Donna Smith and Zelta Wasson.)
It has been a while since I’ve asked a question about pop music during the “peace and love” 1960’s. So for this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the British singer, songwriter and guitarist who emerged from the British folk scene during the 60’s; was often described as a British Dylan clone and had several top ten hits in the US? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off at the Center with a drawing of a mellow yellow sunshine superman.   
Well, it’s been another week, where if it is out of sight, it is out of mind – which is the reason for all the sticky notes around my house. Until we meet again, an ounce of prevention is worth as much as a good insurance policy.
“We want autonomy for ourselves and safety for those we love. That remains the main problem and paradox for the frail. Many of the things that we want for those we care about are things that we would adamantly oppose for ourselves because they would infringe upon our sense of self.”  Atul Gawande

Aging Well in the Gorge September 20th 2016

While laying back in the dentist chair as I’m getting my teeth cleaned, I couldn’t help but notice the poster taped to the ceiling (inventive way to take advantage of a captive audience!) for the ”I AM…” photo shoot.
“I AM…” sponsored by Keilman Dental Clinic, offers students, teachers and community members a unique opportunity of being professionally photographed posing with a word or two printed in black on their hands or arms that express who they are. Think of a photo of a young women holding a globe with “adventurous” written on her arms. (For more examples go to the web site,
But if you were going to join the community photo shoot, what would you want written on your hands or arms? No, really. Think about it. How would you describe yourself? I am – what? Fearless? Mysterious? Determined? Good Neighbor? Or how about “Wild and Crazy”?
One intent of the “I AM…” photo shoot is to create conversations around what diversity means, who defines it, and what we can do to broaden the acceptance of the varieties of diversity within the Dalles community. Unfortunately, in these conversations we older adults often exclude ourselves. But it wouldn’t be a true conversation about diversity without the presence of grandpas and grandmas, the retirees who volunteer and all the older adults who are a vital part of The Dalles. 
So think about joining the fun. It is free and open to everyone and takes place at the Riverenza from 2:00 – 6:00 PM on Thursday, September 22nd. Maybe I’ll see you there – if someone can just tell me who I am.
If we had a choice, most of us would rather talk about politics and religion at a family reunion than ever talk about death and dying – as if talking about dying will kill you.
It won’t. And on Tuesday, September 27th the monthly conversations about the end of life continues at The Dalles/Wasco County Library at 6:30 PM facilitated by Julie Reynolds and Colleen Ballinger. This month they will show the PBS documentary, Seven Songs for a Long Life, which tells the story of Strathcarron, a remarkable Scottish hospice center, where “patients face pain, uncertainty and the possibility of life’s end with song and humor”.
Now that summer is over, and everyone is back home again, the Center’s Tuesday Lectures are returning for their eighth year on September 27th from 11:00 – 12:00. For the first lecture I will be providing an update on the UpLifting Elevator project, and give you a chance to review and ask questions about the latest floor plans for the addition. The Center still needs to raise another $25,000 to $35,000 depending on the unexpected twists and turns, but there is no turning back now. It’s going to happen.
Several quick reminders: The Center is hosting a Flu Shot Clinic in cooperation with Rite Aid on Wednesday (21st) from 10:00 – 1:30; there are still a few seats left for the $55 Mt. Hood Railroad Trip to enjoy the fall colors up the Hood River Valley to Odell (29th); and tickets are on sale at the Center for the Baby Back Rib Dinner on October 7th.
Country Road will be playing at the Center on Tuesday, September 20th. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, and donations are appreciated.
The name of the popular roller skating rink out by Big Jim’s was the Old Mill Skating Rink. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Maxine Parker and Zelta Wasson – who spent hours and hours there.)
But that really wasn’t the answer I was looking for, because I didn’t ask the right question. I was on the wrong side of town. So for this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the roller skating rink on the WEST side of town where I am told it was located on the corner where Casa El Mirador is now? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or once again put on your old pair of roller skates and drop your answer off at the Center – although I didn’t see anyone skate by last week. 
Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep the giddy-up in my get-up-and-go. Until we meet again, as George Burns once said, “Be quick to learn and wise to know”.

“It’s all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.”  Mick Jagger

Aging Well in the Gorge September 13th 2016

It’s that time of the year. I’m not talking about the weekend football games or the disappearing daylight, but flu season. Seasonal flu outbreaks can start as early as October, and most often peaks between December and February.  
Flu is a particular concern for older adults, because while the flu was once a nasty inconvenience, now that we are older, it can have serious health implications. It is estimated that between 71 percent and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and 54 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred in people 65 years and older.
To protect yourself, the first step is your annual flu shot. Once again, the Center will be offering flu shots in cooperation with Rite-Aid on Wednesday, September 21st from 10:00 until 1:30. Call the Center to sign up.
But since the CDC announced this year’s flu vaccine only covers 50 percent of the strains floating around, you can’t rely only on the flu vaccine, and should take the following additional steps.  
1. Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water; and if soap and water aren’t available use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands. 
2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible. 
3. Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in your area. 
4. Practice good health habits: get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, eat a nutritious diet, and manage your stress. 
(And don’t forget to stay up to date with your pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia disease – one of the flu-related complications that can cause death.)
And no, you cannot get the flu from a flu shot – I promise! (Although even with a flu shot, some folks still get the flu from one of the influenza viruses not protected by the vaccine or they caught the flu during the two weeks before the vaccine took effect.)
If you want to increase your chances of avoiding the flu – and its complications, be health wise and get your flu vaccine now, before the flu viruses show their runny noses in the Gorge.
In 1965 Congress passed the Older Americans Act (OAA), creating programs & services for adults aged 60+.  As a recipient of OAA federal funds, the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments’ Area Agency on Aging (AAA), is required to update their Area Plan every 5 years to address needs of seniors. Your input is vital to the development of the Area Plan to help review, assess, redesign and develop programs to meet the needs of our growing elder population. The Area Agency on Aging is asking for citizens 55 and older to participate in a community forum on September 16th from 9:30-11:30 am at the Center to review the services offered to the community and to identify unmet needs. For any questions contact the AAA at 541-298-4101.
On Thursday, September 29th the Center has scheduled a two hour ride on the Mt. Hood Railroad to enjoy the fall colors up the Hood River Valley to Odell. The cost is $55 which includes a lunch and transportation to Hood River. Call the Center to sign up.
The Simcoe Boys will be playing at the Center on Tuesday, September 20th. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, and donations are appreciated.
The Checkers Speech heard by 60 million Americans and led to an outpouring of public support was made by the 1952 Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Virginia McClain, Maxine Parker, Jerry Taylor and Sue Ortega.)
Two folks who often frequented the Center passed away over the Labor Day weekend: Juanita Ignowski and Bill Van Nice. They were a wealth of local history and the source of my “Remember When” questions about The Dalles. In conversations, they had mentioned this popular roller skating rink on the east side of town out by Big Jim’s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, and in memory of both Juanita and Bill, what was the name of this roller rink from way back when? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or put on your old pair of roller skates and drop your answer off at the Center.  
Well, it’s been another week, cheering for the home team. Until we meet again, our greatest critics are often ourselves.

“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” George Burns

Aging Well in the Gorge September 6th 2016

As we grow older, there are significant challenges: illicit drugs, unprotected sex – oops, wrong age group! Let’s start again.
As we grow older, there are significant challenges: the cost of health care – even with Medicare coverage; transportation – particularly if you no longer drive; affordable housing – that is clean and accessible; and finding skilled and trusted caregivers. But do you agree? Or are there other challenges you feel haven’t been adequately addressed? And which ones do you feel are the most critical?
The local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) would like to hear your thoughts and insights about what our communities need to support older adults, at a community meeting at the Center on Friday, September 16th from 10:00 – 11:30. The results from the meeting will help shape the services and supports the AAA provides for older adults in the region.
But it will take more than government programs such as the AAA to support and improve the lives of older adults. I will take non-profits, businesses, families, and the health care community, all working together to address the issues facing older adults now and in the future.
One grass roots effort that is working to create a community that promotes and fosters the well-being of elders through education and advocacy is the Aging in the Gorge Alliance (AGA). They have several functioning work groups including Housing and Transportation, Caregiving, Multigenerational activities and Age of Dignity Reading Project.
(You will be hearing more about Age of Dignity Reading Project in the next several weeks. But briefly, the AGA will be distributing for free four hundred copies of the book Age of Dignity – Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America to local libraries and small discussions group in the Gorge (including the Center) with a large community forum to be held on Saturday, October 22nd, in Hood River.)
The AGA is looking for more folks from The Dalles area. If you want to get involved, the next general AGA meeting is on Tuesday, October 11th from 6:30 – 8:45 at Down Manor in Hood River. Give me a call if you would like a ride. And if you want to receive their emails, contact Tina Castanares at or 541-354-1666.
You may have recently decided to stick your toe in the waters of the digital age with a new smartphone or tablet. Or maybe you bought a new computer with Windows 10 and the last operating system you used was Windows XP. Where can you get help? Before you spend money on professional services, you can stop by the Center any Wednesday at 9:00 for help. Or you can stop by the “Bring Your Own Device Lab” at The Dalles/Wasco County Library on every third Wednesday from 1pm – 2pm and every third Saturday from 10am – 11am. Six slots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
To celebrate the importance and joy of being a grandparent, the Center is hosting a Grandparents’ Breakfast this Saturday, September 10th from 8:00 – 9:30. The menu consists of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and juice. The cost is $5.00 for one adult, $3.00 for children twelve and under. And there’s a special rate for a grandparent and one grandchild, or great grandchild, or great-great grandchild for $6.00.
Martin and Friends will be playing at the Center on Tuesday, September 13th. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, and donations are appreciated.
What’s My Line?” was one of network television’s longest running and most beloved prime time game shows; and where the question “Is it bigger than a bread box?” was first used by Steve Allen. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Patsy Warner and Nadine McCracken.)
Controversy has always been a part of America’s political landscape ever since Burr shot Hamilton. So for this week’s “Remember When” question who said during the 1952 presidential campaign, “And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.” Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the names of the members of the 1948 House Committee on Un-American Activities.
Well, it’s been another week, wondering, “Where did the time go?” Until we meet again, sometimes stubbornness is just another name for being determined – and sometimes it’s not.

“Never have children, only grandchildren.” Gore Vidal