Aging Well in the Gorge September 26th 2018

We all want to be happy, don’t we? We tell our children and grandchildren to follow their passion and be happy – until they decide to major in English literature and we ask WHY?
To help us in our pursuit of happiness, One Community Health has designated October as Gorge Happiness Month to promote healthier communities.
Because happiness shouldn’t just be a goal in our lives because – well, it makes us happy. It also makes us healthier. It has been shown that happier people have better overall health and live longer than their less happy peers.
A means to that end is to practice “The Daily 3”: three habits that foster happiness – Three Gratitudes, Acts of Kindness and Moments of Silence.
Three Gratitudes: Find time each day to list three things for which you are thankful. These may be as simple as “I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night!”, or your church family who helps you when needed.
Acts of Kindness: It can be as simple as opening a door for a stranger or saying thank you to a cashier. Or you can be more involved and find a new volunteer opportunity such as driving for Meals-on-Wheels once a week.
Moments of Silence: Sit silently for just five minutes per day. (But you have to stay awake. Your midday nap doesn’t count!) Turn off all your electronic devices and feed the animals so they won’t bother you. Now just sit and observe the thoughts in your head, the sounds you hear around you or other sensations that come and go.
Besides “The Daily 3”, during Gorge Happiness Month there are daily suggestions of a good deed to try which I will start mentioning this week. See if you can accomplish all 31.
Monday (1st) Compliment a Stranger
Tuesday (2nd) Get someone to do “The Daily 3” happiness habits
Wednesday (3rd) Introduce two people
If you are interested in learning more about Gorge Happiness Month, you can visit
“Across the Political Divide” is a facilitated conversation scheduled during Gorge Happiness Month to look at the differences among various political perspectives, how to value them and gain a better understanding so we can live together as friends. It is hosted by the Wasco County GOP but is 100% non-partisan; and all political persuasions are encouraged to attend. It will be held on Monday, October 1st from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at The Dalles/Wasco County Library
And now a couple events at the Center you might be interested in.
“Let’s Talk: Conversations about Things that Matter” on Friday, October 5th at 11:00
The topic will be “Independent, Safe or None of the Above”. How do we find the balance between staying as independent as possible and being safe – before someone decides for us?
“Lectures for the Curious” on Wednesday, October 3rd at 11:00. Wasco County Clerk Lisa Gambee and her Chief Deputy, David McGaughey will be discussing the election process and how they work to ensure the elections are fair and accurate. And remember, Tuesday, October 16th is the last day to register; and on Wednesday, October 17th ballots will be mailed and will have to be returned by election day, November 6th.
The American politician from Minnesota who sought the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination challenging Lyndon B. Johnson on an anti-Vietnam War platform was Eugene McCarthy. (I received correct answers from Minnesotan Sandy Haechrel, Jeanne Pesicka and Tom Early who is Eugene McCarthy’s second cousin, but more importantly is this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.)

During one of those casual breakfast table conversations with my wife, this science fiction western television series popped up out of the blue. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television series that ran on CBS for four seasons from 1965 to 1969 and told the story of two Secret Service agents: the fearless and handsome James West, and Artemus Gordon: a brilliant gadgeteer and master of disguise, whose mission was to protect President Grant and the United States from dangerous threats? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send your answer with a replica of the Wanderer, a luxury train equipped with everything from a stable car to a laboratory.
Well it’s been another week trying to remember the days long ago when I use to be “cool”. Until we meet again, make your future as big as your past.

“That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world! Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!” Calvin and Hobbes

Aging Well in the Gorge September 19th 2018

Falls can be more than an inconvenience when you could just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. And according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one out of three adults aged 65 or older falls each year, adding up to a cost of $30 billion in 2010. 
But most falls are preventable, and there are steps you can take to prevent falls including this list of actions suggested by NIHSeniorHealth. I shortened the descriptions, but you can learn more by going to and search for fall prevention.
1. Make an appointment with your doctor and be prepared to answer the following questions. What medications are you taking? Have you fallen before? Do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk? 
2. Keep moving. Try activities that improve your strength, balance, coordination and flexibility such as walking, water workouts, or the Yoga, Strong Women or Tai Chi classes at the Center. And there are exercises where you don’t even have to leave the house such as a) standing on one foot, b) walking heel to toe, c) balance walk, d) back leg raises, and e) side leg raises. 
3. Wear sensible shoes. High heels (Does anyone wear high heels anymore?), floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. And so can walking in your stocking feet. 
4. Remove home hazards: boxes, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways. Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas; and remove loose rugs in your home. Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.
5. Light up your living space. Keep your home brightly lit and place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches. Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
6. Use assistive devices. A cane or walker can help keep you steady, so you can get around without falling. In addition, install hand rails for BOTH sides of stairways, add grab bars for the shower or tub, or install a sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub. 
These are all relatively simple steps you can take to prevent falls and maintain your independence while avoiding the fine young doctors in the emergency room.
The Center is starting an eight-week series called “Lectures for the Curious” on Wednesday, September 26th at 11:00. Billy O’Keefe will be the first presenter discussing the fascinating topic of Astronomy and the Cosmos. Billy who has taught Astronomy classes will be bringing his solar telescope as well as demonstrating how to use apps such as SkyView on your tablet to enhance your understanding of the night skies.
Also on the 26th, Kerry Cobb, Executive Director at the Columbia Center for the Arts, will be back at the Center at 1:00 with a colorful and entertaining 60-minute presentation exploring the nature of seeing through art. Using art as a platform, you’ll discover ways to sharpen your awareness and be more observant of your environment, and learn ways to interact more enjoyably with art.
The eight protesters who were arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago were called the “Chicago Eight”. (I didn’t receive any responses for this week’s question, but from last week I missed Sharon Hull who remembered it was “Around the World in 80 Days” and wins one free quilt raffle ticket.)
One last political question before we are inundated with all the political noise before November 6th. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was the American politician, poet, and long-time Congressman from Minnesota who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the United States Senate from 1959 to 1971 and sought the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination challenging incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson on an anti-Vietnam War platform? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send your answer written on the back of a “Get Clean for Gene” T-shirt.
Well it’s been another week sitting at my desk trying to stay awake in the afternoon. Until we meet again, the goal isn’t to look younger but to be able to continue doing what you enjoy.
“You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.” Bob Hope

Aging Well in the Gorge September 12th 2018

Did you know that 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries describes Medicare as confusing (I’m surprised it isn’t higher!); most adults can’t identify what Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover; 70% of baby boomers say they have a fair or poor understanding of Medicare; and a surprising 62% of those eligible have never shopped for Medicare coverage to fit their needs.
In response, National Medicare Education Week was established from September 15 through the 21st (one month before the start of Medicare Open Enrollment which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) dedicated to helping people better understand Medicare.
Locally, you can learn more about Medicare by attending the free Medicare 101 workshop on September 20th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM in Room 102, Building 3 on The Dalles Campus of CGCC. To register, you are encouraged to call 503-947-7302 or email But walk-ins are welcome as space allows.
Donna Delikat, an advocate for SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance), will be the presenter. The workshop is offered by SHIBA: a federally funded, nationwide program designed to help beneficiaries of Medicare navigate their way through the complicated and often frustrating Medicare system.
By attending the workshop, you will learn when and how to enroll; what Medicare does and does not cover, the differences between Medicare and Medicaid and between Medicare supplement insurance and Medicare Advantage plans; how to choose the type of coverage that works best for you; and much more.
It is important to remember Medicare health and drug plans make changes each year – such as cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. And Medicare’s open enrollment period is your chance each year to change your Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage to best meet your needs.
But how do you know if you should change plans?
Soon you will be receiving information from your current Medicare plans such as the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). Review these statements carefully to make sure your plans will still meet your needs for next year. If you’re satisfied, you don’t need to do anything. But if you aren’t happy with the changes to your current plan, you can compare plans by going online to If you feel more comfortable talking to someone face-to-face, in a few weeks you can call the Center to schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA volunteer.
Most importantly, take this time to understand your Medicare options so you can make informed decisions – both for your health and your pocket book.
You don’t always want to be worrying about every possible disaster: earthquake, fire, train derailment, but when one does occur, you want to be prepared. To learn more about preparing for various emergencies join NW Natural and local experts at Get Ready – The Dalles on Saturday, September 15th from 10:00 – 1:00 at the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue. And to make it even more fun, there will be prizes and free lunches.
Here’s a tip I just learned from Tonya Brumley, community affairs manager for this area of NW Natural. To create a record of your possessions in your home, spend a few moments and videotape every room. It could provide fond memories for you children – and one day your insurance agent might really appreciate it.    
In the epic adventure comedy movie based on the classic novel by Jules Verne, the Englishman Phileas Fogg in 1872 bets that he can circle the globe in 80 days. (I received one correct answer from Bob Earls who wins a quilt raffle ticket; and for the week before, Jo Smith also receives a free quilt raffle ticket for her correct answer.)
During the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, eight protesters including Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, were arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot because of their role in anti-Vietnam War protests during the convention. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the popular name given to these protestors? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a black robe once worn by Judge Julius Hoffman.
Well it’s been another week making lemonade out of lemons – which are always nearby. Until we meet again, here is some simple advice from Oswald Avery, “Whenever you fall, pick something up.”
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” George Santayana
Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.

Aging Well in the Gorge September 5th 2018

I keep telling myself there is a reason I keep mixing up my days and weeks. Right now, I’m writing this column a week ahead of the day its delivered to your mailbox. And the column will be discussing events occurring during that following week. I have to think two weeks ahead and for a guy who usually plans from day to day, that’s not easy. My fear is one day during my annual Medicare Wellness check, I’m going to pause too long when asked what day it is and be whisked away to take some cognitive assessment for you know what! – and fail!!
But you might be in the same boat. (Of course, if you’re retired who cares what day it is. Every day is the weekend!). One of the keys to keeping all your oars in the water is challenging yourself mentally every day – which doesn’t mean taking your high school algebra class again.
For your enjoyment and maybe a little mental frustration, here is a brain teaser whose aim is to stimulate the connections or associations between words stored in the temporal lobes of your brain. The temporal lobes are one of the four main lobes or regions of the cerebral cortex and play an important role in organizing sensory input, auditory perception, language and speech production, as well as memory association and formation. (Don’t you feel smarter already!)
Words that are often heard together (such as salt and pepper) or words that share some meaning (such as nurse and doctor) are connected or associated in the brain. Once you hear one, the other is often activated.
In this brain teaser, you will see pairs of words, and your goal is to find a third word that is connected or associated with both words. For example, the first pair is PIANO and LOCK. The answer is KEY. The word KEY is connected with both the word piano and the word lock: there are KEYS on a piano and you use a KEY to lock doors.
Ready to stimulate connections in your temporal lobes? Enjoy! (Solutions are below.)
If you want to stimulate your mind by enjoying more brain teasers; or by watching videos about the brain and brain health, join us for the Brain Fitness Club returning on Monday, September 17th starting at 1:00.
And right before at noon, “Lunch with TED” meets where we eat lunch while watching and discussing several of the latest TED Talks. TED Talks are short talks (18 minutes or less) on various topics from science to business to global issues produced by TED – a nonprofit devoted to “spreading ideas worth sharing”. Everyone is invited to either one or both classes.
The arranger and conductor for many of Frank Sinatra’s hits; and who made a comeback in the 80’s arranging three albums for Linda Ronstadt is Nelson Riddle. But since I am writing this early before I leave for my trip back east to visit my brother, I will mention everyone who responded next week.)
This epic adventure comedy movie was based on the classic novel by Jules Verne and won five Academy Awards including Best Picture in 1956. For this week’s “Remember When” question, in this movie that takes place in 1872, the Englishman Phileas Fogg bets that he can circle the globe in how many days? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of the 2004 digitally restored version of the original movie.
Well it’s been another week trying to remember from one room to room. Until we meet again, it’s about that time to start changing from shorts to sweaters.  
“I never really look for anything. What God throws my way comes. I wake up in the morning and whichever way God turns my feet, I go.” Pearl Bailey