Aging Well in the Gorge August 28th 2019

As you read this, my wife and I are in Montreal for a family reunion/vacation. My idea of a vacation is doing nothing, hanging out at coffee shops drinking Chai Tea Lattes and shooting the breeze (Do people say that anymore? Shooting the breeze.) But my sister, who has lived most of her life in the Washington DC area (although we grew up in Indianapolis and she and her husband have moved back to Indy), wanted to go someplace more exciting! So we’ll be visiting Montreal and Quebec City which my wife and I don’t mind because Montreal will be the closest we’ll ever get to Paris. My sister is learning French so she can better appreciate the culture since Montreal is the second largest primarily French speaking city in the world. I have difficulty pronouncing English words so I’m skipping that effort. Except I have learned one phrase that might come in handy, “Où sont les toilettes?” which translates to “Where is the toilet?”
So I’ve decided to punt this week and use that age old trick of repeating part of a previous column from 2014 where I shared the insights I had learned over the years as Director of the Center. Some are original but most I have gather from others, James Dean and Adeline Knorr for example, and I hope you will find some of them useful as we share this journey of life.
1. What is good for your heart is good for your brain.
2. Learn something new without worrying how good you’ll be.
3. First steps to improve your memory: focus and pay attention.
4. Most things don’t really matter, but a few really do.
5. The goal is not to get faster, but to keep from slowing down.
6. Getting older beats the alternative, but it is hard work.
7. Accept what you can’t control – and then adapt.
8. Live in the now.
9. Know what you want and let others know – particularly your adult children.
10. “Dream as if you will live forever and live as if you will die tomorrow.” James Dean
11. Age is in your attitude.
12. “Avoid the five S’s: Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda and Shortening.” Adeline Knorr
13. Add color to your meals i.e. eat vegetables!
14. Isolation kills. Stay connected.
15. Keep moving – at least 30 minutes a day.
16. Breathe from your belly.
17. See the world with virgin eyes and you’ll find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
18. Relationships are more important than things (although I do have an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone).
 19. Grey hair is cool.
 20. And as the late Carl Kramer once said, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and before you know it, you are 100 years old.
Looking back, now that I’m 71 compared to when I was a young whipper snapper at 66, I wouldn’t change anything on the list. But there are two more insights I would add: “Denial is not a good strategy” and “Play – Rest – Repeat” which I will discuss in future columns. But what is exciting is knowing there is still more to discover about living healthy with courage, compassion and purpose.
Nehemiah Brown will be back one more time singing at the Center during the Meals-on-Wheels lunch on September 6th starting at 11:30. Unfortunately this may be his last performance since he and Carol will be moving to Arizona.
The names of the two stars of the first five beach party movies produced in the 1960’s were Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Since I am enjoying the coffee shops and shooting the breeze in Montreal, I’ll mention everyone with correct answers next week.
Now that we’re near the end of another summer, I thought I’d see if you remember this bestselling recording of the summer of ‘63. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who at the age of 13 recorded live the summer hit “Fingertips Pt 2” and went on to be one of the best-selling musicians of all time? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop the answer off at the Center with a Hohner Chromonica 280/64 Harmonica.
Well, it’s been another week, filed away in the file drawer. Until we meet again, enjoy a beautiful Labor Day remembering all those who labored to make this country what it is today.
“For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Aging in the Gorge August 14th 2019

At Nicole Pashek’s excellent presentation on “Normal Memory Loss and Aging” information was shared that you might find helpful. So bear with me as I spend one more week talking about brain health.
Because of the brain’s ability to change and adapt which is known as neuroplasticity, there are actions you can take to maintain your brain health and memory. Seven of them are described in a handout Nicole distributed called “Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Memory”. See how many of these seven tips you are currently practicing.
1. Socialize. Participation in social and community activities improves mood and memory function by giving you a chance to think on your feet and build supportive relationships.
2. Get moving! You’ve heard it before “What is good for your heart is good for your brain”. Physical activities and exercise such as brisk walking helps boost and maintain brain function. Try starting your own walking group and then you can cover these first two tips at the same time.
3. Train your brain. Using mnemonic strategies to remember names improves learning and memory. (Mnemonics are tricks and techniques for remembering information that is difficult to recall. For example, the mnemonic “Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor? is used to remember the first eight U.S. presidents – which are?)  And I would add, learn something new every day whether by watching the National Geographic television station, taking classes at CGCC (and some classes are discounted for older people) to attending presentations at the Center, the Library, the Discovery Center and the Art Center – or just by trying to operate your new smartphone.
4. Don’t buy into negative ageist stereotypes! Studies have shown that having a positive belief about aging can improve memory performance in older people.
5. It’s difficult to gain knowledge if you can’t see or hear well. For example, if you have difficulty hearing it is hard to socialize (see tip number one). I’ve found hearing aids won’t give me 20/20 hearing but they sure help. And take time to clean them regularly because they don’t help when they’re clogged.   
6. Keep a sense of control and confidence in your memory. A little memory loss is normal. I’ve had memory loss since high school. “Mom, I forgot when you said I was supposed to be home after the party. It wasn’t 2:00 am? But there are memory aids (I use plenty of notes) to help maintain confidence in your memory.
7. Avoid distractions that divert your attention. If information doesn’t get encoded in your brain, it’s not going to be remembered. Distractions can be as simple as a loud noise to something more complex as trying to do several things at once or listening to those conversations in your head.
To maintain your general health as well as your brain health, Nicole also suggested you take advantage of your annual Medicare Wellness exam which is available once every twelve months. There is not a co-pay; and if you often felt rushed at your regular doctor appointments your wellness exam is for sixty minutes. This gives you an opportunity to share your concerns and discuss what you can do to improve your health. As the say, “An ounce of prevention is … well, you know the rest.
The two seater introduced by Ford in 1955 in response to the Corvette was the Ford Thunderbird. I received correct answers from Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, Tiiu Vahtel, Jerry Phillips, Sandy Haechrel and Lee Kaseberg, – this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And once again, I missed someone last week and this time it was Dave Sturgeon.
Clothing styles are always changing, hemlines going up and then down, (remember the kneeling test to see if a girl’s skirt was too short); tight pants to baggy to something in between. Some styles last a while and others are just a blip in the fashion world as was this style of jacket. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the hip-length tailored jacket with a mandarin collar warn by the Prime Minister of India and was popular in the mid-60’s? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with one of the 200 jackets of this style owned by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Well, it’s been another week, complaining when the wind blows and then again when it doesn’t. Until we meet again, enjoy every day because you can’t take anything for granted.
 “When all else fails, there’s always delusion.” Conan O’Brien

Aging Well in the Gorge August 7th 2019

As I am writing this on Sunday, we have avoided the triple digit weather but as sure as the Klickitats turn brown in June, those days are coming. But most of us can’t tolerate the heat as well as when we were growing up – staying cool without air conditioners by using fans, dehumidifiers (my family’s favorite method in Indiana) swimming holes and ice packs. We managed and we still can if we take the necessary precautions.
Even in the Gorge where your shirt doesn’t stick to your back during the summers (if you are from back east you know what I mean), dehydration is still a major health concern. The Oregon Department of Human Services cautions, “Not getting enough fluids each day can take a tremendous toll on every aspect of bodily functions, including possible changes in memory, vision, and kidney and heart function.” This is especially true for older people because the percentage of a person’s weight in water changes significantly as we age and consequently, any decrease in fluid consumption can cause proportionately more dehydration.
To prevent dehydration, you should drink at least six cups of liquids regularly throughout the day and avoid caffeinated drinks which act as diuretics. Instead, try drinking flavored carbonated water, decaffeinated ice teas or just add a slice of lemon to a glass of ice cold water.
It doesn’t take a U of O graduate to know to stay cool, but not everyone has air conditioning or good insulation in their homes. And with a prolonged heat wave homes can get dangerously warm. This summer take care of yourself and take time to check on your neighbors to make sure they can handle the heat.
But if you need a refreshing interlude, imagine cruising along the Willamette River on the Portland Spirit enjoying delicious Northwest cuisine and amazing views of Portland. It has been one of the Center’s most popular trips and this year it will be on Wednesday, August 14th. The cost is $85 which includes the lunch cruise and transportation. Reserve your seat now by calling the Center at 541-298-4788.
The Dalles will be busy this weekend with the “Neon Cruise” downtown on Friday night, “Show in the Shade” at Sorosis Park on Saturday and then on Sunday the “Classic Drags” at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport and the “Dufur Classic Car Show”. And if you enjoy Northwest Country music, Friday night the Brewers Grade Band (named after Brewery Grade) will be performing at the Rib Kickin’ Boot Stompin’ Benefit for Breast Health for Strong Families at the corner of 2nd and Washington.
I need to give a “Staying Sharp” award to Donna Guth. The answer to the puzzle from two weeks ago where one letter is removed at a time was snowing, sowing, owing, wing, win, in, I. But Donna Guth found another correct answer. By dropping the o in sowing, you end up with snowing, sowing, swing, wing, win, in, I. Good job using those “grey cells”.
The airline founded in 1930 and in its heyday carried the most transatlantic passengers of any airline but in 2001 ceased operations was Trans World Airlines or TWA. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent with the help of Charles Hooser, Jerry Phillips, Jess Birge, Carol Earl, and Delores Schrader this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I thought I was missing someone – and it was Rhonda Spies.
During the 1950’s the number of registered automobiles exploded from 25 million in 1950 to 67 million in 1958 creating the environment for such social innovations as the drive through and drive-in restaurant, the drive-in movie theater (where many of us enjoyed more than just the movie); and a high school student’s favorite weekend pursuit “cruising the gut”.
During that decade one of the automotive advancements was the Chevrolet Corvette which was a two-door, two-passenger sports car first introduced in 1953. In response Ford introduced a two seater in 1955 but it wasn’t marketed as a sports car but as a “personal luxury vehicle”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this Ford model?  Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop the answer off with the keys to this model preferably one from 1957.
Well, it’s been another week, wondering if the wind will ever stop. Until we meet again, as I am often reminded, nothing is without risk.
“I’m a peripheral visionary. I can see into the future but way off to the side.” Steven Wright