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