Aging Well in the Gorge June 23rd 2021

 At our age, its common to worry when you can’t remember a name, or you can’t find that word on the tip of your tongue. When that happens, I often ask myself, “Is this normal for my age? Or am I in the early stages of dementia? And then the more I worry, the more I seem to forget! 


To relieve my anxiety, I found an article by Dr. Mike Davis who gives the following three examples demonstrating the distinctions between normal memory loss and dementia.1.) Misplacing keys is normal. Forgetting what they are for is not. 2.) Forgetting a person’s name is normal. Not remembering knowing the person is not. 3.) Forgetting to turn into a familiar street is normal. Becoming easily disoriented or lost in familiar places for hours is not. 


Good. I don’t need to worry. I often misplace my keys, but I do know what they are for. I seem to have a harder time remembering names, but they eventually come to me by the end of the conversation. And when I’m in a hurry, there are times I do turn down the wrong street, but so far, I’ve always found my way home. 


But then I read the next sentence. “These lines are distinct for most of us, BUT in early dementia patients, it can be tricky to tell.” 


Now, what the heck does that mean, tricky to tell?  Could my forgetfulness seem normal, but because of some subtle signs, I could unknowingly be in the early stages of dementia? Should I still be worrying? 


It does give me pause. But there is one sign that gives me hope. I figure as long as I can spell Alzheimer’s without looking it up, I’m okay. 


For those who have been diagnosed with dementia, there is hopeThere have been huge investments in understanding more about the brain and what causes Alzheimer’s Disease. There are many theories including lysosomal storage. (Ill have to ask my son what that meansHe just received his degree in biology, so he should know, right?) But the most dominant theory is that Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by sticky brain plaques called beta-amyloid that have been found to build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.  


Just recently at the urging of the Alzheimer’s Association and other advocates, the FDA approved a new drug, Aducanumab, that has proved highly effective in reducing the plaques to treat persons in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. BUT (there’s always a but!) it’s not yet clear whether reducing the plaques is actually effective in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Two large studies offered conflicting evidence 


Next week I will share more about dementia and the brain: the different types of dementia, treatable conditions that mimic dementia, and most importantly tips on what you can do now to maintain your brain health. Don’t forget! 


The name of the five-member band known for their vocal harmonies and epitomized the “California Sound” were the Beach Boys. I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Jeannie Pesicka, Emmett Sampson, Rhonda Spies, Sandy Haechrel, Barbara Cadwell, Diana Weston, Jess Birge, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu VahtelMargo Dameier. And this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket has to be Linda Frizzell who graduated from Hawthorne High School with the Beach Boys! And from the previous week, I received the correct answer from Barbara Cadwell, Susan Ellis, Steve Woolpert, Patty BurnetDiana Weston, Gene Uczen, Pat Evenson-Brady, Dave Lutgens, Rose Schulz, Doug Nelson, and the winner Lana Tepfer. 


Okay, thBeach Boys was way too easy for most of you so let’s move to something more challenging: Broadway musicalsThis original 1965 Broadway production won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes and his 17th-century novel Don Quixote, it tells the story of the “mad” knight Don QuixoteFor this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this musical. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of The Impossible Dream”. 


Well, it has been another week, glad to be back in the Gorge. Until we meet again, as Dan Jaworski who was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment at age 54 says, “There is nday like today”. 


“If people were meant to pop out of bed, we’d all sleep in toasters”. Unknown 

Aging Well in the Gorge June 16th 2021


I’m confused. Most of you are reading this column on the 16th, but I’ve been writing it since I finished my last column because my wife and I are driving to California for my son’s college graduation on Saturday. But as I’m writing this, that will be this coming Saturday – but for you, it was last Saturday! I feel as if I’m in an HG Wells time machine, not knowing which week I’m in, mine or yours!

I need to start writing early because I don’t have that newspaper reporter talent of writing clearly on a short deadline. It takes me a while to be coherent. And although I do have several ideas cooking, I have nothing ready to pull out of the oven.

So what can I write about on such a short timeline? I usually try to include a few thoughts about aging, provide an encouraging word or two, and offer a few bad jokes. (I think they’re funny!) But now since you’re waiting and the main course isn’t ready, how about a little dessert instead, something more sugar than substance:  a trip down memory lane of expressions we seldom hear anymore. (I once thought it would be fun to start using the word “groovy” as in the hit song titles “A Groovy Kind of Love” or “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”. Remember those? But after five minutes of questioning stares as in “What DeLorean time machine did you step out of?” I realized “groovy” doesn’t quite have the same appeal it once had.

So get out your paper and your Sheaffer pen. It’s time for a “pop quiz”. See how many of these ten words from “days gone by” you still remember. I suspect you will recall most of them, but words, as with certain smells and tastes, can bring back forgotten memories – those pre-teen years when the opposite sex was just a distraction, or conversations on the playground during recess, or just silly adolescent pranks. So, give it your best shot. And for your immediate gratification, the answers will be included below.

1. What were “cooties”? a) Tiny cookies, b) Earrings, c) Prizes in cereal boxes, d) Imaginary infestations. 

2. If a woman was “stacked”, what did she have? a) Too much eye makeup, b) Beehive hairdo, c) Large breasts, d) Tall stature. 

3. What was a “flattop”? a) Skateboard, b) Haircut, c) Table, d) Stupid person. 

4. If a girl had a reputation as “fast”, what was she? a) Skinny, b) Goodie two shoes, c) Sexually active, d) Reckless driver. 

5. What were “dibs”? a) Nerds, b) Candy, c) Claims, d) Hairstyles. 

6. What was a “spaz”? a) Cold cut, b) Russian astronaut, c) Uncoordinated person, d) Candy mint.

7. What was a “blast”? a) A dance, b) A Coca-Cola and Seven-Up mixture, c) A television commercial, d) A good time. 

8. What were you if you had a lot of “bread”? a) Uncool, b) Fat, c) Rich, d) Smart. 

9. If a person were to “go ape”, what would they do? a) Dance funny, b) Become angry, c) Dress sloppily, d) Date an ugly person. 

10. What was a “pad”? a) Residence, b) Notebook, c) Article of clothing, d) Paid advertisement. 

(Full discloser: These questions were forwarded to me by someone at some time from some website.)

The secret Jim Lowe was looking for when he sang “Midnight, one more night without sleeping, watching till the morning comes creeping” was what was behind the Green Door. (Next week I’ll also mention those who responded to last week’s question.)

Growing up in Indiana during the early ’60s, I dreamed of “getting around” with a surfboard strapped to the top of a “woodie” wagon (even though I was 2000 miles from a California beach!) inspired by the music of this band.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the five-member band known for their vocal harmonies and musical ingenuity, and epitomized the “California Sound”. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the album “Pet Sounds” one of the most critically acclaimed and influential albums of all time.

Well, it has been another week cautiously looking behind the curtain. Until we meet again, perception is everything.

“People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.” – Bob Hope

Answers: d,c,b,c,c,c,d,c,b,a


Aging Well in the Gorge June 9th 2021

Now that you are retired have you thought about working part-time? No, hold on. I know what you may be thinking, “Are you nuts! I’m already working parttime: taking care of my garden, watching my grandkids, and volunteering. I don’t have time for a part-time gig! 

But if you have thought about being a new “gigster by working part-time and are willing to commit the time and the employer is willing to be flexible, it can be a win-win situation. And this may be the perfect time. “We’re Hiring” signs are everywhere, and I have been approached three separate times asking if I knew any older adults who would be interested in working in hospitality or driving a bus or taxi.  


Many employers view us as valuable workers because of our experience, maturity and we aren’t always connected by an umbilical cord to our smartphones – well, at least not most of us. And we already have health insurance through Medicare. What a deal! 


So why would anyone want to work past retirement? After surveying older adults who are working parttime, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found for many it is economic. They found 53% want the additional income, and 35% couldn’t otherwise afford retirement. But there are other reasons too. 47% say they work to stay active, 39% to keep their brains sharp, 34% working gives them a sense of purpose, and for 21% it is a way of maintaining social connections. The right job can be good for your health as well as your pocketbook 


But there are several aspects of working part-time you should consider. Working after retirement can complicate your financial situation such as putting yourself in a higher tax bracket than you were expectingIt’s important to consider how the additional income fits into your long-term financial plan. 


You may be thinking about working for yourself such as an in-home caregiver or house sitter – or turning your hobby into a small business selling your handmade crafts at bazaars or on the Internet. But beware. The administrative and operational tasks required to run a small business, such as taxes and workmen’s comp, may take more time — and require more money — than you expect. 


And that leads to the part-time slippery slopefinding yourself working more than just parttime. If you want to spend time with your grandchildren or travel occasionally, you should make sure there is an understanding of what is expected of you and your employer.   


The look of retirement has changed over the last halfcentury. Today many who reach retirement age want to keep working by finding a part-time “gig” for the personal satisfaction and additional income. Whether working part-time for an employer or yourself, being a “gigster” can be rewarding by keeping yourself engaged and connected while earning a few extra dollars – as long as it doesn’t become a “real” job!  


The name of the wealthy, short-statured cartoon character voiced by Jim Backus who gets into a series of comical situations because of his extreme near-sightedness is “You’ve done it again” Mr. Magoo. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Susan Ellis, Steven Woolpert, John McEwin, Emmett Sampson, Bob Thouvenal, Tina Castanares, Norma Simpson, Catherine Whalen, Marilyn Wong, Shelly Baxter, Lana Tepfer, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Margo Dameier, Gene Uczen, Julie Carter, Patty Burnet, Timothy Curry-Stevens, Mike Yarnell, and Alan Winas, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Steven Woolpert. 


I was only eight, but I remember watching Your Hit Parade and hearing this 1956 numberone hit song recorded by Jim LoweFor this week’s “Remember When” question, Jim Lowe sings “Midnight, one more night without sleepingwatching till the morning comes creeping“, as he is determined to know the secret behind what? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a 45 rpm record of “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley – the song Jim Lowe’s recording replaced as number one. 


Well, it has been another week watching for things that go bump in the nightUntil we meet again, as Joey Adams reminds us “Don’t worry about avoiding temptation – as you grow older, it starts avoiding you.” 


“I lost my job. I didn’t lose it – I know where it is – it’s just when I get there, someone else is doing it.” Bobcat Goldthwaite 


Aging Well in the Gorge June 2nd 2021

How many drug ads can you tolerate during the evening news? Boniva, Celebrex, Fosamax, Lunesta, Nexium, Paxil, Eliquis – all describing how they will improve your health and well-being. And hidden at the end are the possible side effects: nausea and diarrhea; incontinence and constipation, sleeplessness and drowsiness; bad dreams and bad luck. But what do you really know about these wonder drugs?

Before you take any medication be a smart consumer and educate yourself first. Check out the website MedlinePlus hosted by the National Library of Medicine where you can find trusted health related information. But the best option is to ask your primary care provider, dentist, or pharmacist, so you can get the most benefit and prevent dangerous drug interactions.

But what should you ask? Here are ten questions from “Educate before you Medicate” created by the Medication Safety Project.

1) What is the name of the medication and what is it supposed to do? Basic stuff but often overlooked.

2) When and how do I take it? Make sure you understand the instructions.

3) How long do I take the medicine? Always finish your medicines unless otherwise advised by your healthcare provider.

4) Does this medicine contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction? Don’t forget to describe any pass reactions you have had to medications.

5) Should I avoid alcohol, any other medicines, foods and/or activities? You don’t want any unexpected reactions.

6) Should I expect any side effects from this medicine? Also find out who you should call if you experience any of the symptoms or have questions.

7) What if I forget to take my medicine? For some medicines missing even one day can be important. And never double your medication without consulting your healthcare provider.

8) Is there a generic version of this medicine that can be prescribed? A way to save money when the cost of prescription drugs can be prohibitive.

9) How should I store the medicine? Always keep medicines away from heat, light and moisture.

10) Is it safe to become pregnant or breast feed while taking this medicine? Probably not a problem for anyone reading this column!

No drug is without risk. It is always a balance between the benefits and the side effects. But it is your body, so do not hesitate to learn more about the medications you are taking.

Now how do you pay for these medications? Well, it’s complicated, as Sue Ann Arguelles points out in this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder.” Sue Ann is the area coordinator for the SHIBA program in Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam County that provides free Medicare counseling by trained volunteer counselors. For your Medicare questions call 541 288-8341.

The name of the comedian, singer, and pianist who frequently interrupted his performance with the line, “STOP–da music, everybody!” and invariably ended his show with “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.” was Jimmy Durante – the Great Schnozzola. (For those who are wondering, the best guess is “Mrs. Calabash” was his late wife Jeanne Olson.)

I received correct answers from Susan Elllis, Clare Zumwalt, Gene Uczen, Rhonda Spies, Mike Carrico, Lana Tepfer, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Tina Castanares, Jim Stager, Doug Nelson, Tiiu Vahtel, Margo Dameier, and Kathy Vukelich this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I’ve missed Steve Nybroten.

Actor Jim Backus is probably best known for playing Thurston Howell III on the 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island,but he was also the voice of a popular cartoon character. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the wealthy, short-statured cartoon character who gets into a series of comical situations because of his extreme near-sightedness and made worse by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of W. C. Fields one of the inspirations for the character.

Well, it has been another week living in the now because I can’t remember the past and the future is too far away. Until we meet again, I’ve found if my wife asks if I could take out the trash, she is just giving me the illusion I have a choice.

“When we age, we shed many skins: ego, arrogance, dominance, pessimism, rudeness, selfish, uncaring … Wow, it’s good to be old!” – Stephen Richards