Aging Well in the Gorge June 27th 2017

As we grow older, we often experience changes that make us more vulnerable: social isolation, cognitive impairment, poverty, death of a spouse, lack of a support network or becoming emotionally or physically dependent on another person. These vulnerabilities are some of the risk factors that can lead to the abuse of older adults.
In 2015, there were 43,000 reports of abuse in Oregon, and 19,041 were investigated by Adult Protective Services. Of those investigated, 4,215 people were determined to have been abused. But of the substantiated cases of elder abuse in Oregon, what type do you think was the most common in 2015: social, physical, psychological, financial, or sexual abuse?
The answer is financial abuse at 30% of substantiated cases. And the reporting of financial abuse cases is on the rise with an increase of 19.6% in financial abuse complaints from 2014 to 2015. Unfortunately, those numbers may be low. Financial abuse is often underreported because the victim feels ashamed or embarrassed or the victim is unable to report the abuse because of cognitive and other impairments.
Financial abuse can come in different flavors: theft, forgery, misuse of property and power of attorney, as well as denying access to funds – and is often carried out by someone the victim knows and trusts. It may not be a surprise, but 46% of the victims of financial abuse were abused by a family member.
The victim’s lost can be substantial averaging $24,915. But it not just money. Personal property, real estate, vehicles and food stamps are often taken.
But older adults can reduce their risk of financial abuse by making sure their financial, medical, legal and other affairs are in order; and by learning about the signs of elder abuse.
One program to reduce the risk of financial abuse while promoting independent living is the Oregon Money Management Program (OMMP) which is locally administered by the Area Agency on Aging at the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (541-298-4101).
OMMP provides assistance with money management tasks including Bill-Pay services, Payee services and Income Cap Trust trustee services – which can be explained when you call. OMMP is personalized, confidential, and safe, and is available to adults 60 and older. And unlike many programs, there are no restrictions because of income or resources, but a small fee may be applied.
Older adults have the right to be free of all forms of abuse so they can live in safety with dignity and respect. If you have suspicions of elder abuse you can find help by calling the local office of Aging and People of Disabilities at (541) 298-4114.
Do you like to stitch, crochet, or knit? Or maybe you want to learn how.  If so, come and join the Needle Nuts who meet every Wednesday from 10:00 – 12:00 in the Center’s newly remodeled lounge. This informal group was started by Sandy Haechrel who once owned Sandy’s Stitch Niche – so she knows her stitch.
Ever since David Zopf passed away the Center’s Rose Garden at the Center has been neglected. But thanks to Google volunteers, David, Boyce, Bradley and Blair, the garden is getting new bulk mulch and some tender loving care. In a week or two it will be looking even better.
The name of the film version of the musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, which was the second highest grossing film of 1961 and winner of ten Academy Awards, was West Side Story. (I received correct answers from Sue Ortega, Betsy Ayres, Sandy Haechrel, Marcia Lacock, I hope I didn’t miss any one this week, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Vicki Sallee.)
For the last week for the theme of “love and romance”, this week’s “Remember When” question is about the slang we used during the days of our youth. What was the term you used to describe the act of kissing? And I’m only asking about kissing! Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a bottle of Listerine – “the antiseptic that can fix any marriage”.
Well, it’s been another week, when two plus two still equals three. Until we meet again, there is your side and there is my side – and then there is the truth.

“Life is supposed to be a series of peaks and valleys. The secret is to keep the valleys from becoming Grand Canyons.” Bernard Williams

Aging Well in the Gorge June 20th 2017

The philosopher Bernard Williams once said, “If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.”
So if you want to sneak in a little June romance before the end of the month, Flagstone Senior Living is inviting you to a “Senior Citizens Prom” at The Dalles Middle School on Friday, June 30th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 PM. There will be drinks and light Hors’ devours, prom photos, a music cake walk and a night of classic big band sounds. Tickets are $5.00 or $8.00 for a couple which you can purchase at the door or at the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation office. For more information contact Denae Manion at 541-298-5656 ext. 2106
The theme for the prom is “Seniors in the Mood” – which makes me wonder, “In the mood for what?” Now this question could lead into the uncomfortable territory of, you know – “the birds and the bees”, and all those baseball terms: first base, second base, etc. which I never did understand. (But then I was so naïve in high school that my sister had to tell me what the banned lyrics to “Louie, Louie” meant.)
But I think I’m going to take a pass. And whether older adults get any “satisfaction” or enjoy an “afternoon delight” or whether they still do the “Hanky Panky”, is a topic for another day. I don’t think I have the literary skill to traverse the subject without embarrassing you or myself.
I’ve learned in life there are matters you can’t control: you just learn to carry on and adapt. And recently I’ve found the same is true for construction projects. The elevator was to arrive two weeks ago, but finally I’ve learned it should be delivered this week – although as the adage goes, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the elevator arrive, not because it is the last major step in completing the project, but because I want to see how in the heck they get the elevator through the new door way and installed. That’s what I’m looking forward to.
Even though the elevator hasn’t arrived, Jeff Cochenour’s crew has finish the new Nu-2-U Shop. And thanks to the help of Rhonda and Ron Townsend, Joan Silver, Betty Dahlberg, the NU-2-U Shop is ready to resume selling the best used clothes in town.
We also had help from an excellent crew of students from the Wahtonka Community School who moved the boxes of clothes back into the Nu-2-U shop. You may recall I mentioned several weeks ago that Wahtonka Community School students are available on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month to load/unload your boxes, furniture, etc. or just move heavy things around the house. Because they are in school all year, they are available during the summer. To schedule an appointment, call 541-506-3449 ext. 3211.
In 1962, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was sung by Ray Charles. And the 1958 hit, “To Know Him Is to Love Him” was sung by the Teddy Bears and written, arranged, and produced by Phil Spector at the age of 19! And that’s not all folks. The female singer in the Teddy Bears, who changed her name to Carol Connors, continued singing and writing songs including the theme song to Rocky: “Gonna Fly Now”.
(I received correct answers from Tina Castanares, Jim Heitkemper, and this week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket are Joanne Scott – plus Dee Holt who I forgot to mention last week.)
Continuing the theme of “love and romance”, this week it’s all about movies. One of the most popular romantic movies was the film version of the musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this film that became the second highest grossing film of 1961, won 10 Academy Awards, and starred Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail in your answer on the back of a picture of Officer Krupke.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the early morning sun. Until we meet again, no matter your age, there are those days when you just have to push yourself.

“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” Carolyn Gold Heilbrun

Aging Well in the Gorge June 13th 2017

During the 50’s with the introduction of television, many of us young boys could be found on Saturday mornings in front of the black-and-white television set watching our favorite cowboy heroes such as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger, and Hopalong Cassidy.
We all wanted to be like our television heroes, and many of those cowboy stars, for the benefit of their young audiences, created a cowboy code that reflected the characters they portrayed: men of high moral character that stood for everything that was good, decent, and fair.
Probably the best-known Cowboy Code was written by Gene Autry and it is still shared today. Do you think it is still relevant?
1.) The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage. 2.) He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him. 3.) He must always tell the truth. 4.) He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals. 5.) He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas. 6.) He must help people in distress. 7.) He must be a good worker. 8.) He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits. 9.) He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws. 10.) The Cowboy is a patriot.
In our contemporary world, Gene Autry’s cowboy code may seem naïve, out-of-date, and from an idealized past that wasn’t ideal for many Americans. But the cowboy code is a reminder of a simpler time when as young boys we aspired to the ideals embodied in our heroes – although often unfulfilled in the real world.
When I was younger, I remember seeing the magazine Reminisce. It wasn’t something I wanted to read. It was for “old” people who enjoy stories from way-back-when. But I found it really discouraging, well, maybe not discouraging, but depressing. No, that is still not the right word. No, I found it absolutely shocking that in one of the recent issues, they highlighted the year 1974! I mean 1974 – not 1954 or even 1964. Has it really been forty-three years since Barbara Streisand recorded “The Way We Were”, or Towering Inferno was the highest grossing film, or the Nixon impeachment hearings began? How time tries to play tricks on us.
It’s time to enjoy all the activities that return during the summer months. A few of the activities you might want to consider are The Dalles Farmers’ Market at City Park on Saturdays from 9:00 – 1:00; the Wasco County Historical Society’s summer programs at the Moody/Rorick House, 300 W. 13th Street at 1 pm beginning on Saturday, June 17  (Karl Vercouteren will present “The Vogt Opera House: The Sequel”); and the popular and free (but donations are appreciated) concert series, 4th Sunday at the Fort, from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at the Fort Dalles Museum – and it is recommended you bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on. 
A bruise left by a kiss from your “steady”, or a drunk Italian policeman, was a “hickey”. (Many folks had fun answering the question including Sandy Haechrel, Alice Mattox, Tina Castanares, Jerry Phillips, Ed Anghilante, Barbara White, Jeanne Pesicka, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Virginia McClain – who said if some guy had tried that with her she would have slugged him.)
Continuing the theme of “love and romance”, this week it’s all about music. The highest ranked Billboard song with “love” in the title that was recorded more than fifty years ago was “I Can’t Stop Loving You”. It was written in 1957 by country musician Don Gibson, who also wrote “Oh, Lonesome Me” at the same time.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, who sang “I Can’t Stop Loving You” which was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks in 1962? And if that was too easy, what group sang “To Know Him Is to Love Him” which was number one for three weeks in 1958? Email your answers to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of Georgia’s official state song.
Well, it’s been another week, waiting for my batteries to charge. Until we meet again, it’s not the end of the road until you see the dead-end sign.
“Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.” Cowboy Wisdom

Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon at Betty’s Diner at the Center.

Aging Well in the Gorge June 5th 2017

How many times do we tell ourselves “That’s too much effort” “I’m too tired tonight.” “Oh, I’ve never done that before, and I’m not going to start now.” I certainly have.
Joan Chittister in her book, The Gift of Years, points out that one of the challenges we face in old age is that we start acting old – limiting ourselves by creating justifications for our complacency so we stop living to the fullest and stop having fun.  As Lowell Thomas once said, “The secret of my vigor and activity is that I have managed to have a lot of fun.”
But aren’t we suppose to act our age? When we were young, we were expected to study and get an education; and when we finished school, we were expected to start a career and a raise a family.
But after sixty-five what is expected now – napping every day, staying home watching TV, and complaining about everything? Or how about hiking trails in the Gorge, dyeing your hair crimson red, and even continuing to work? (And is it okay at my age to pierce my right ear – so I can attach a note for my friends that reads, “ONLY THIS EAR WORKS!”.)  
Joan Chittister believes that living fully depends more on your attitude than your physical condition. And even though we may not have as much energy, and many of our longtime friends are no longer with us, if we have an attitude that keeps us from taking the next step to begin something new, “We fail to go on becoming. We stop in our tracks with years ahead of us. And wait. We take the gift of life and return it unopened.”
As a friend once suggested, when talking about old age, the opposite of old is not young, but new. And if we can still discover new adventures, no matter how small, or hone new skills, no matter how ordinary, we can still experience life to the fullest so we don’t allow ourselves “to become less than what we are able to be, more quickly than we ever should”.
Even though Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center is taking a break until July 11th, you can still find good music at the Center this coming Friday, June 9th. Bruce and Sher Schwartz will be playing before the noon meal starting at 11:00. Then in the evening, Nehemiah Brown will be singing from 7:00 – 9:00. The Nehemiah Concert is only $3.00 per person and is sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center.
NWC Parks and Recreation and Flagstone Senior Living is hosting a “55 and Older Senior Prom” on Friday, June 30th at the Dalles Middle School – which I will write more about in a future column.
But to raise funds for the Senior Prom, you are invited to two fundraisers at Burgerville on Monday, June 12th from 11am to 2pm; and June 19th from 3pm to 6pm.
The name of the 1950 Hollywood movie starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson in which a screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star’s script only to find himself in a dangerous relationship was Sunset Boulevard. (I received correct answers from Jim Ayres, Sandy Haechrel, Tina Castanares and Marcia Lacock this week’s randomly selected winner of a quilt raffle ticket.)
Since the “55 and older Senior Prom” is later this month, I thought the theme for this month’s “Remember When” questions should be love and romance.
Remember when you were a young romantic and believed in love at first sight – at least until your vision cleared up. We did things we never would want our children to know – things you do when you are young, clueless and in love. For example, did you know anyone who came to school with a bruise, often found on the neck, caused by an aggressive kiss from their “steady”?
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were those embarrassing bruises called? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center with a turtleneck sweater.
Well, it’s been another week, waiting for the light to change. Until we meet again, take your life by its love handles and give it a whirl!

“Aging is an inevitable process. I surely wouldn’t want to grow younger. The older you become, the more you know; your bank account of knowledge is much richer.” William Holden