Aging Well in the Gorge August 29th 2018

Didn’t August seem like it rushed by like an Indy car racing down the front straightaway? And in just a few days it will be Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer and the official federal holiday established in 1894 to honor the “the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country”. (I didn’t know that in 1887 Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official public holiday.) One segment of the labor force that is largely undervalued and unappreciated but essential to the health and well-being of millions of older adults are caregivers.
That includes the professional caregivers who are paid to care for older adults so they can continue to live in their homes or so the adult children can continue working while caring for their parents. There are also the family caregivers, generally unpaid, who often feel obligated to care for their loved ones to make sure they are comfortable and safe – while personally enduring the stress and strain of trying to balance caregiving with everything else in their lives. It is emotionally difficult – often creating a mix of exhaustion, guilt, and resentment that grows stronger the longer the caregiving continues.
Today it is estimated there are 34.2 million caregivers in the United States whose contribution to the U.S. economy is worth roughly $470 billion per year. That is a lot of greenbacks. And yet the need for caregivers is outpacing the supply – and is expected to get worse. You can imagine why. We are living longer and have raised smaller families with our children moving to all parts of the country. Increasingly over the next couple of decades, those of us who will need care, and that will probably be most of us, caring for us will fall upon these caregivers whether they are our spouses, our adult children (if they still live nearby), hired caregivers, or a combination of all three.
But there are efforts underway to find solutions to ease the burden and address the challenges of caregiving such as addressing the cost of in-home care – since many can’t afford it; creating a more flexible work environment so adult children can spend time to care for a loved one, and providing the financial, emotional, and training supports for both professional and family caregivers. Hopefully caregivers and their families will be able to take advantage of some of these changes in the near future.
As we enjoy the Labor Day weekend and celebrate the workers who are the backbone of our nation’s economy, let’s not forget the professional and family caregivers who labor tirelessly to support the health and well-being of millions of older adults.
I thought it might be a good time to remind everyone that if you have unwanted or out of date prescriptions or over the counter medicines (except sharps, medical waste or equipment, combustibles, and inhalers), you can conveniently dispose of them by dropping them off at the drop box inside the police station downtown. The drop off box is a community service of YOUTHTHINK, Mid-Columbia Medical Center and City of The Dalles Police Department to keep prescription drugs and over the counter medications from our children and out of our streams.

The name of the panel game show where two contestants played tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes was Hollywood Squares. Correct answers were submitted by Kim Birge, Jeannie Pesicka, Lana Tepfer (and I have this déjà vu feeling that I’ve missed someone again!), and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket (and a free ice cream cone) Merle Gearhart. Once again, I missed Sharon Hull and Sam Bilyeu from last week who also win a quilt raffle ticket each.
For this week’s “Remember When” question who was the arranger and conductor for Nat King Cole’s hit “Mona Lisa”, but was probably better known for arranging and conducting the orchestra for Frank Sinatra including their first hit together “I’ve Got the World on a String”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the three albums he arranged for Linda Ronstadt in the 1980’s.

‘The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.” Anne Bancroft
Well, it’s been another week, confused and bewildered. Until we meet again, appreciate the little pleasures we often miss.

Aging Well in the Gorge August 22nd 2018

For the last three weeks, I’ve been writing about the serious topic of parent and adult child relationships. But this week I thought I would follow the advice found in the title of a memoir written by Roz Chast about her relationship with her parents at the end of their lives titled Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
So to lighten things up a bit, since life isn’t just about the challenges we face, I’m going to share some questions and answers from a popular game show which debuted on NBC in 1966. But first let’s shake things up and start with a question about that game show.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the panel game show where two contestants played tic-tac-toe to win cash and prizes and featured comedians and celebrities including Cliff Arquette as Charlie Weaver, Rose Marie, Rich Little, Buddy Hackett, Marty Allen, Florence Henderson, Carol Wayne, Gorge Gobel, Jonathon Winters and Paul Lynde who for years held the center square? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the comedy team Peter Marshall and Tommy Noonan in the 1962 movie Swingin’ Along.
And now a little humor from a time not too long ago.

Q. Do female frogs croak? A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough they will.
Q. If you’re going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be? A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.
Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years. A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.
Q. You’ve been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman? A. Don Knotts: That’s what’s been keeping me awake.
Q. According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he’s married? A. Rose Marie: No. Wait until morning.
Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older? A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.
Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking? A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I’ll give you a gesture you’ll never forget.
Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet? A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I’m always safe in the bedroom.
Q. Can boys join the CampFireGirls? A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.
Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do? A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?
Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to? A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.
Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people? A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.
Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.
Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they? A. Charley Weaver: His feet.
Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed? A. Paul Lynde: Point and laugh.
Now the answer to last week’s question. The disc jockey with an exuberant on-air personality and gravelly voice that broadcast from the Mexico-based station, XERB-AM, and heard across the United States was Wolfman Jack. (This week’s correct answers were sent in by Jo Smith, Bud Earl, Lana Tepfer and the winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Jim Heitkemper who bought the 1976 record “Did You Boogie with Your Baby in the Back Row of the Movie Show” by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids because it featured Wolfman Jack). 
Well it’s been another week trying to deal with what I’m dealt. Until we meet again, don’t forget to appreciate the little things in life.
“Life is a great big canvass and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” Danny Kaye

Aging Well in the Gorge August 15th 2018

For the last two weeks I have written about the difficult conversations between parents and their adult children. One area that is often the center of these painful conversations is deciding when someone should “retire” from driving. It is difficult and complicated because it is just not a matter of living your life the way you want (no matter the effect on your own health!). It’s also the possibility of injuring someone else because of your own obstinance.
I know the last thing I want to do is stop driving and depend on someone else. But what are the signs I should be looking for in my own driving or someone else’s that should make me think, “Maybe it’s time”?
Some of the signs are does the older driver experience near misses or other drivers honking at them in traffic? Does the driver often move into a wrong lane, become easily lost or confused, or drive at inappropriate speeds? How about new dents or scratches on the car?  And if you are assessing your own skills, be honest!
If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t wait for an accident to happen. Share your observations with the driver, other family members and the driver’s physician. Many situations may just require modifying driving habits: driving shorter distances, staying on familiar roads, and avoiding night driving and heavy traffic. The driver may also benefit from the AARP Smart Driver class offered every month at the Center.
But if the situation is more serious, one can seek assistance from the family physician – to assess any medical conditions that can affect driving; and the Aging and People with Disabilities office in The Dalles (541-298-4101). Oregon’s DMV website features a wealth of information on how to discuss the issue of “retiring” from driving and finding alternative transportation. Go to and click on “Driver Fitness”.
No one wants to talk about “giving up the keys”. But there are clear situations when it must be done – for everyone’s’ safety. And whether you are the parent or adult child, it is always best to start these conversations before there is a problem.
The Wasco County Fair is just down the road and around the corner. And as always, thanks to The Dalles Disposal, Thursday, August 23rd is Free Family Day with the “Senior Picnic in the Park” sponsored by Hearts of Gold Caregivers starting at 11:30. If you don’t want to drive, LINK is once again offering free rides for the first sixteen people who sign up. The bus will depart from the Center at 10:00 and leave the fairgrounds at 1:00 after the Senior Picnic. There are only ten spots left so call the Center to reserve your seat.
Next Wednesday, the 22nd, Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of the Columbia Center for the Arts will be back at the Center for this month’s “Fourth Wednesday’s Creative Arts” presentation:What is Abstract Art and Why Should I Care?” During this ninety-minute presentation, you will learn about the dynamics and thought processes behind abstract art; become familiar with some of the world’s most famous abstract artists; and learn how to appreciate this sometimes strange and wonderful art form.
The British automobile company that manufactured the XK-E model between 1961 and 1975, a combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing, was the Jaguar. (This week’s correct answers were sent in by Jess Birge, Jo Smith, Lana Tepfer, Jim Ayers and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket – Walter Lutz. And I missed Jerry Phillips last week who remembers IBM meaning the “Itty Bitty Machine” company and for the employees meaning “I’ve Been Moved”.)
Born Robert Weston Smith, the son of the executive vice-president of the Financial World, this legendary “rock & roll” DJ rose to fame in the 60’s working for the Mexico-based station, XERB-AM with its high powered 250,000-watt signal. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was this mysterious disc jockey with an exuberant on-air personality and gravelly voice heard across the United States? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of the George Lucas film American Graffiti.

Well it’s been another week tying up the loose ends before I trip over them. Until we meet again, don’t waste your time worrying about what you can’t do.

“The driver that you have to sell on safety shouldn’t be driving.” Kyle Petty

Aging Well in the Gorge August 8th 2018

Last week I talked about how “never giving up” can be detrimental to your own health and well-being. But this week’s column is from another perspective. If you are the adult child, what do you do if your parent stubbornly refuses to take your advice or help?
In her article “Tips for When Aging Parents Won’t listen” found on the website A Place for Mom, Sally Abrahms shares eight tips to help with those difficult conversations. (Some may not apply to a parent with dementia.)
1st. Remember some things are just a matter of preference and not a significant health or safety issue. Ask yourself how important is it? Really.
2nd. Don’t treat your parents as stubborn children. You may feel the child parent roles have been reversed, but it is not the same. They are adults. And think about it. Do you really understand the physical, social, and emotional challenges they’re facing?
3rd. Try to understand the motivation behind their behavior – which isn’t easy. Is it wanting to maintain their independence; wanting the comfort of what they have always known; or are they confused and afraid?
4th. If you are trying to persuade them to change their behavior, connect it to something they value such as you or the grandkids. Something like “I worry that you might fall.” or “If you cause an accident you could be sued and lose the inheritance you want to leave to the grandkids”.
5th. Think ahead. Connect the behavioral change to a significant event they want to see: a wedding, a graduation or a child’s birth.
And for your own emotional health, consider the last three tips.
6th. Find some place or someone to share your feeling and frustrations.
7th. Accept the situation. Parents have the right to make what you consider bad decisions such as what to eat, and what to wear – if it doesn’t harm others.
8th. Don’t beat yourself up if something does go wrong. Sometimes all you can do is to stand by and be ready to help when needed.
We love our parents and want them to be safe. But we don’t always know best. As we may find out when we reach their age, the number of years you live just may be less important than living the life you want.
The 2018 “Cruise the Gorge” Weekend starts this Friday night with the traditional “Neon Cruise” from 6 pm-8 pm downtown along Second and Third Streets. During those hours the cruise loop will only be open to registered cars and there will be no public parking along the route. But public parking will be available on all side streets; in the First Street parking lots between Washington and Federal; and at the state office building parking lot at 7th and Union. Then on Saturday at Sorosis Park the “Show in the Shade” starts with registration from 9 am to noon, judging from noon to 2 pm and the “Parade of Champions” Awards Ceremony from 3 pm – 4pm. And the activities conclude on Sunday with the “Dufur Classic Car Show” from 9 am-3 pm and “Dallesport Drags” from 8 am-4 pm.
The Selectric typewriter which was introduced with a radical “typeball” about the size of a golf ball and dominated the market in the 60’s and 70’s was manufactured by I.B.M. (This week’s correct answers were sent in by Tiiu Vahtel, Lana Tepfer, Jo Smith and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Barbara Haren, a retired business education teacher who remembers the machine well.)
When I was in high school I remember thinking this British sports car was the coolest car on the road and dreamed of driving one even though I knew I never would. For this week’s “Remember When” question, between 1961 and 1975 what automobile company manufactured the iconic XK-E model – a combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop off when you stop by in an XK-E to offer me a ride in the “Neon Cruise”.

Well it’s been another week wishing for some Portland drizzle. Until we meet again, don’t forget to keep your lie straight before you tell it.

“The stubbornness I had as a child has been transmitted into perseverance. I can let go but I don’t give up. I don’t beat myself up about negative things.” Phylicia Rashad

Aging Well in the Gorge August 1st 2018

When do you decide to give it up: to give up the car keys, or the house you have lived in for over forty years, or to give up taking care of yourself and hiring in-home care?
We’ve been told from an early age to “never give up!” and as we get older many of us still carry that sound bite in our heads. We believe if we put out enough effort we can accomplish anything or at least delay the inevitable. But age takes its toll. We can no longer move as quickly, bend down as far, or think as fast. With proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and mental stimulation we can often slow the process of aging but until someone discovers the fountain of youth this is our future.
Many people believe that never giving up means never changing – continuing to do what they have always done. They believe that giving up means they can’t handle the challenges aging has brought and they are less of the person they once were. 
But sometimes this stubbornness can be selfish and dangerous. If the result of your “never give up” attitude is you keep driving, putting yourself and others at risk – that isn’t noble, but foolish.
Instead of never changing, “not giving up” can mean changing direction, working to find an alternative that still meets your needs and what you want. But it’s not easy. What do you do when you want to live on your ten acres in the country when your doctor tells you to stop driving? And before your adult children force the issue?
We accepted all the changes while growing up – moving from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. And now as we move through this next level of maturity, there are changes we can’t ignore.
We know change will always happen – and we can adapt and find different options. It may be hard, full of loss and regret, but don’t give up! Find that new path that brings fulfillment during these later years. Maybe the Gambler, Kenny Rogers said it best, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”
This Saturday August 4th through the 5th it’s Shaniko Days! On Saturday, the parade starts at 10am, the Mud Springs Gospel Band starts at 11am, and the Sunshine Exchange Cloggers will do their thing at 1:00 and 2:30pm. There will be ragtime and vintage music in Stagecoach Station; bluegrass music in the late afternoon; and a street dance from 7:00 – 10:00 PM. Plus there will be bake sales, raffles, kiddie train rides and Black Powder Gunfights throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. And most importantly, cooler temperatures.
The costar and comedian famous for his impressions of Burt Lancaster, James Cagney and Kirk Douglas; played the Riddler in the TV series Batman; and who stopped in at the Shamrock while filming Movin On was Frank Gorshin. (Since I now finish my column on Saturdays, I have missed the correct answers from Sharon Hull, Sandy Haechrel, and Jo Smith who will all receive a free quilt raffle ticket. But this week’s correct answers were sent in by Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner, Bob Earls, who remembers Frank Goshin playing a creepy villain in the movie “Ring of Fire” which was filmed in Vernonia in the 60’s.)
This question might be familiar to anyone who was an office worker during the 60’s and 70’s. In the 1960’s Remington was one of the two top typewriter manufactures in the US, but in 1961 the Selectric was introduce with a radical “typeball” about the size of a golf ball that replaced the typebar which would often get entangled causing the keys to get stuck. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what company manufactured the Selectric – the typewriter that dominated the market for two decades? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a refurbished Selectric typewriter which you can find on eBay for $479.
Well it’s been another week constantly checking the temperature. Until we meet again, even though it is as hot as a blast furnace outside, it’s still probably a good idea to keep your clothes on.
“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up, but you don’t give up.” ―Chuck Yeager

Aging Well in the Gorge July 25th 2018

How is it my wife and I can watch a British mystery and six months later watch the same show and still can’t remember who’s the villain until the last five minutes. It’s a little disconcerting – but it does give us a chance to enjoy the same show more than once!
The same can be said about brainteasers such as the ones I shared several years ago from a post by Holly Green on the Forbes Magazine website. For me these brainteasers are a test to see how well I can stretch my mind, but also to see if I can still remember the answers. Unfortunately, I usually fail at both.
But let’s see how well you do by either solving the brainteasers or remembering the answers from several years ago.
1. A clerk at a butcher shop stands five feet ten inches tall and wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh? 2. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet? 3. What word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly? 4. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world? 5. A man stands on one side of a river, his dog on the other. The man calls his dog, who immediately crosses the river without getting wet and without using a bridge or a boat. How did the dog do it?
Now these next five I found more difficult – at least that’s what my brain told me.
5. Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name? 6. If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now? 8. Two boxers are in a match scheduled for 12 rounds. One of the boxers gets knocked out after only six rounds, yet no man throws a punch. How is this possible? 9. What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven? 10. What makes this number unique — 8,549,176,320?
How did you do? Whether you answered the questions correctly or not is not as important as stimulating your brain by just trying to answer them. But remember, brain stimulation is just one component of good brain health. The other five are: physical exercise, social engagement, good nutrition, stress management, and a good night’s sleep.
The name of the hit song that told the story of a shy girl wearing a new kind of swim suit was “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”. I received correct answers from Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Dan Ross who will be performing at his 50th LaGrande High School Reunion in August with the same rock-n-roll band he played in while attending LHS.
If you have lived in the Dalles for more than 30 years, you probably remember the Shamrock – described by Claude Akins on the Tonight Show as a Chinese Restaurant with an Irish name where you could listen to live country music. Akins was in The Dalles filming an episode of the 1974-1976 TV series Movin’ On and one of his costars also ate at the Shamrock. (Jeanne Pesicka has an autographed coaster to prove it.) For this weeks “Remember When” question, who was this costar and comedian famous for his impressions of Burt Lancaster, James Cagney and Kirk Douglas. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the Riddler from the TV series Batman.
Well it’s been another week trying to think ahead but getting further behind. Until we meet again, keep the lid on and the kettle warm.
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Dumbledore from Harry Potter

Aging Well in the Gorge July 18th 2018

Once the temperature reaches the inevitable 100 degrees, it’s a good time to be reminded about how to stay safe in the heat. And since it’s not like you haven’t heard it all before, this year here is a short test to see what you still remember.
#1. The heat should be taken seriously because: A.) It is the number one weather related killer causing more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightening, and floods combined. B.) The heat can be obnoxious with no sense of humor.
#2 According to Medline Plus, several reasons older adults are at greater risk for heat related illness are: A.) They do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature. B.) They are more likely to have chronic medical conditions that changes normal body responses to heat. C.) They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration. D.) Older adults are naturally grouchy, and the heat just makes it worse.
#3 The warning signs for heat stroke (when the body’s temperature rises rapidly and loses its ability to sweat) include: A. Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F). B.) Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating). C.) Rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness and nausea. D.) Altered mental state or behavior. E.) An irresistible desire to jump into a bathtub of ice.
#4. According to the American Red Cross, ways to stay cool are: A.) If you do need to go outside during extreme heat conditions, early morning or later evening are the best times. B.) Avoid sun exposure between 11 am – 5 pm. C.) Wear light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes that cover your skin. D.) Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. E.) Slow down – additional activity can put extra strain on the heart. F.) Try ice packs, cool showers or sponge baths. G.) Wear the latest summer fashions so even if you don’t feel cool, you can look cool.
#5. Things to consider when trying to stay hydrated are: A.) Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your level of activity even if you are not thirsty. B.) Drink enough to have to urinate every four hours. C.) The color of your urine is an indicator of whether you are hydrated. D.) A bottle of Chardonnay in not the best choice to stay hydrated.
#6 To avoid heat related illness stay connected by: A.) Being aware of local heat advisories, B.) Having someone check in on you. C. Playing bingo in the Center’s airconditioned dining room on Thursday and Saturday nights.
(As you probably figured out, all the answers are correct except the last one for each question.)
During these hot summer days, it is important to remember to do what we know we should do: stay cool, hydrated and informed to avoid any heat related illnesses. Because as Dinah Shore once sang, “Baby, it’s HOT outside” – or something close to that.
The names of the rock and roll star and his bride who he first met when she was only 14 years old – and were married seven years later on May 1st, 1967 were Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu. I received correct answers from Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Lucile – with one L – Stephens, Virginia McClain (who just finished reading Elvis and Me by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley) and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Louise Wooderson.
There are many songs that bring back memories of summers past: “Can’t Wait for Summer” – Steve Lawrence, “The Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” – Percy Faith and His Orchestra, “Palisades Park” – Freddy Cannon, and “California Girls” – The Beach Boys. But a song which reached number one on August 8th, 1960, told the story of a shy girl wearing for the first time a type of swim suit described by its inventor as a “two-piece bathing suit which reveals everything about a girl except for her mother’s maiden name.”
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this hit song – the first for Brian Hyland?  Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Ursula Andress, appearing in the 1962 James Bond film, Dr. No.
Well it’s been another week reminiscing about past summers of fun. Until we meet again, keep the torch lit, but the water bucket nearby.
“The trick to accomplishing anything is to avoid the obstacles that are not in your way.” Robert Brault