Aging Well in the Gorge December 1st 2021

During one of my regular ZOOM chit-chats with my sister (you know – football, the weather, kids, latest aches and pains) she threw me a curve when she asked “What have you learned from working at the Senior Center? What immediately came to mind was to stay socially connected and keep moving. Good advice, right? But after several days of reflection, I should have answered “You need to learn to accept and adapt”.

As we age, we experience changes we never thought would happen – uncooperative bodies, memory lapses, and personal losses.  But it is important to accept “the way it is” – this new and often challenging reality. But accepting is not the same as “giving up” – if you identify ways to adapt. For instance, if it is getting difficult to drive, avoid complicated intersections. Or if it is difficult to read because of poor vision, listen to books on tape.

Although we may wish we could just take off our shoes, kick back and relax at this stage of our lives, we know it isn’t that easy. But the good news is that with effort, creativity, and perseverance, we can accept and adapt – and make the remaining years of our lives both purposeful and rewarding.

What are the most meaningful gifts you’ve received…or given? In this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” several individuals shared the most meaningful gifts they’ve received. One was a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt which reminded me of another quote of hers that I feel is fitting for this holiday season.

“A mature person is one who does not think in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned there is both good and bad in all people, and in all things and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

This season is a marvelous time of the year: holiday music, bazaars, and visits with the grandkids. But that may not be the case for many of you. During this time, you may feel down, a little depressed or you just have the blues. But if so, what do you do?

One answer is P.E.A.R.L.S. – a program that helps older adults reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression through eight weeks of one-on-one counseling. From trained facilitators, you will learn ways to solve problems and overcome challenges; set goals; and add pleasurable activities to your life – and get where YOU want to go. For more information call 971-718-6226.

If you appreciate the contributions of art, cultural and historical non-profits, you have until the end of this year to donate to a qualifying nonprofit and the Oregon Cultural Trust to receive a matching Oregon tax credit. All you do is donate to any of Oregon’s arts, heritage, and humanities nonprofits which includes forty in Hood River, Sherman, and Wasco counties (listed at Then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust to claim your contribution to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit. The Oregon Cultural Trust funds county Cultural Trust Coalitions that annually distribute $500 to $1000 grants to area schools and non-profits.

The singer and jazz musician who first recorded “It’s a Wonderful World” in 1967 was Louis Armstrong or as many pointed out “Satchmo”. I received correct answers from Gene Uczen, Barbara Cadwell, Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Rose Schulz, Keith Clymer, Susan Ellis, and Janet Hinkley, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Catherine Whalen, Rose Schulz, and Tiiu Vahtel – I think.

My wife and I were discussing how most stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day which reminded us of the state laws that “back in the day” prohibited certain types of retail operations on Sundays particularly liquor stores. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were these laws commonly called? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of Samuel A. Peters’ General History of Connecticut (1781),

Well, it has been another week, realizing I’m often the oldest person in a meeting! Until we meet again, enjoy the hidden fruits of the season.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Aging Well in the Gorge November 24th 2021

Well, it’s the beginning of the holiday season – when we enjoy the company of family and also gain seven pounds by the start of the New Year! But while visiting with parents, children, grandchildren, or all three, it can be difficult navigating around and through past hurts and slights that are brought to family gatherings along with gifts and holiday treats.

But I found this advice that might help avoid the traps and difficulties often encountered at family gatherings. It is from the website Next Avenue (, a service of several PBS stations that offers advice for older adults.

First, bury the hatchet (and although tempted – not in someone’s back!). You may not forget past wrongs but try to maintain a spirit of forgiveness.

Second, keep your mouth shut! Well, not exactly. But hold your tongue – even when they have it all wrong! Follow the advice of Rumi, a 13th Century Persian poet and philosopher, who suggested before you speak let your words pass through three gates. “At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’”

Third, simplify and reduce stress. Don’t be totally worn out when guests arrive. Determine ahead of time what is essential and what is not. And skip what is not.

Fourth, sneak in a few breaks to relax before, during and after the gathering.

Fifth, reinvent your traditions. Find a new location for the gathering. Or go as a family to help volunteer for a community event. Think outside the turkey roll.

Sixth, rethink your gift-giving. Give “experience” gifts: tickets to the theater or a gift card to a restaurant they would not normally visit. Or donate on behalf of your loved one to a non-profit. (Great idea. But I’m not sure that will go well with the grandkids!)

Families are our support system in times of trouble; our connections to the past and future. And when families are so scattered and often disconnected, the time together is a special time to be enjoyed and savored.  

A while back I challenged you to decipher several humorous quotes where I removed most of the vowels – a tough assignment. This time it will make it a little easier. Here are a couple more quotes from two famous comedians – this time spelled backwards. Good luck.

“.secalp esoht ot gniog tiuq ot em dlot eH .secalp owt ni gel ym ekorb I rotcod eht dlot I”

Henny Youngman

“!srorriM ?elbmuh em speek tahw wonk uoY” Phyllis Diller

The hair care product that used the catchphrase” a little dab’ll do ya” was Brylcreem. (You may also remember Edd Byrnes played Kookie on the 1958-1964 TV series 77 Sunset Strip and recorded “Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb” with Connie Stevens.) I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Susan Ellis, Sam Bilyeu, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, Rose Shultz, Pat Evenson-Brady, Linda Frizzell, Keith Clymer, and Lana Tepfer, who I missed last week but this week is the winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I missed Rus Hargrave from several weeks back.

Tis the season to be grateful and one particular song expressing that feeling is “It’s a Wonderful World”. The song was recorded and released in 1967 but sold poorly in the US although it was number one on the British pop charts. But in 1987 it was featured in Good Morning, Vietnam starring Robin Williams and became a major hit. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what singer and jazz musician first recorded the song? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of “Hello, Dolly” his most successful recording.

Well, it has been another week waiting for the curveball to zip around the corner. Until we meet again, from Oprah Winfrey, the entertainment mogul, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

“My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor.” Phyllis Diller

Aging Well in the Gorge November 17th 2021

 Okay, I admit it. I have hypochondriac tendencies. I’m always asking myself if this dark lesion or sharp pain or tiredness is a sign of something serious; and whether I should make an appointment with my primary care provider?

And then when I do, they relieve my immediate concern for the visit but during the exam, I’m asked if I have experienced a variety of other symptoms. Now I have more things to worry about! It’s not easy dealing with your ailments – both real and imaginary.

So, what medical symptoms should you not ignore? In an article for UC San Diego Health, an academic medical center in San Diego, Scott LaFee identifies ten.

1. Chest pain: Extreme discomfort that feels like squeezing, pressure or tightness. May be accompanied by pain radiating down an arm, nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulty breathing.

2. Shortness of breath: A sudden feeling that you’re breathing faster than usual, without obvious explanation, and without good effect. Worsens when you lie flat or exert yourself. Wheezing or gasping.

3. Sudden intense headache: This is head pain, unlike anything you’ve felt before, peaking in seconds or minutes.

4. Unexplained weight loss: Losing more than 5 percent of your body weight without trying in less than six months.

5. Unusual bleeding: For example, rectal bleeding or black or tarry stools. Or bloody vomit.

6. High or persistent fever: Anything 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher warrants an immediate trip to the doctor, without exception. A low-grade fever (somewhere around 100 degrees) for several weeks with no obvious cause should also be checked out.

7. Sudden confusion: Or inexplicable changes in personality, aggression, or an inability to concentrate.

8. Swelling in the legs: Persistent, accumulated fluid (edema) in the extremities.

9. Sudden or severe abdominal pain: Centralized around the belly button. Sharp and unexpected.

10. Flashes of light: Bright spots, flashes, or other visual disturbances.

Most of my concerns are not serious: that dark lesion is not melanoma, feeling off-balance is not the result of a brain tumor, and fainting in the bathroom during the night is not because of a heart problem. Okay, that last one was a heart problem!

Knowing the difference between when to wait and when to see a provider is important. But I often remind myself there is more to life than unnecessarily worrying about the next medical problem. Instead, I can worry about something important: whether my favorite football team will win! To learn more, the article by LaFee is posted at under the HEALTH tab.

I periodically mention fall prevention because each year three million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. I’ve done that, been there, and don’t want you to enjoy the same experience. (I now make sure I ALWAYS hold on to the handrail.)

To prevent falls, the CAPECO Area Agency on Aging and Providence Health & Services are partnering to offer a free fall prevention webinar on Monday, December 6th, from 1-3 pm. During the webinar, you will learn how medications, footwear, and home environment can keep you safe and on your feet. You can register by calling 541-506-3512 or by emailing

This singer, piano player, and songwriter famous for his over-the-top stage costumes was Reginald Dwight better known as Elton John.  I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Gary Van Orman, Steven Woolpert, Emmett Sampson, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, Susan Ellis, and Kim Birge this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This week’s “Remember When” question comes from the category “Classic TV Commercials”. What men’s hair care product used the jingle “. . . a little dab’ll do ya/Use more, only if you dare/But watch out/The gals will all pursue ya/They’ll love to put their fingers through your hair.” E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or leave it with a comb used by Edd Byrnes.

Well, it has been another week, enjoying the rain. Until we meet again, bad always looks better after it gets worse.  

“To know what you want to draw, you have to begin drawing it.” Pablo Picasso

Aging Well in the Gorge November 10th 2021

You’ve heard the condescending stereotypes about older adults. We’re frail and tired, a drain on society, poor memories, set in our ways, uninterested in new technologies (most older adults own a smartphone! But do we have to be on it all the time?), unable to make important decisions, and contribute little to our communities. 

To paint a different picture, this year’s Wasco County Ageless Awards highlight the valuable contributions of older adults seventy-five and older by recognizing this year’s recipients: Sherry Munro, Mary Davis and The Fort Dalles Floozies, Duane and Sue Powell, and Darrell France.

As with most volunteers they don’t want or need the recognition. Each has their own reason for contributing: the love of children and local history; to have fun and make people happy, because they’ve been volunteering since high school and stepped in when needed, or because they’re called by their faith to help others.  

As older adults we contribute in many different ways; by being grandma or grandpa nurturing our grandchildren; by connecting and sharing with neighbors and friends; by serving in our faith communities; by mentoring children and sharing an “old fashioned” perspective; by demonstrating how to rebound from adversity and how to laugh while doing it; and in the end, by showing how to exit gracefully from this life.

We know we are not the stereotypical caricature of “old”. Yes, some of us find the new technologies threatening. (Do I really want my best friend to be a robot?) Some of us are frail but with sharp minds and others physically fit with memories like a sieve. (I’ll count myself in that latter category.) And some of us may find it hard to make difficult decisions. But we all are valuable assets in our communities – which I worry many will not appreciate until they’ve traveled many more miles in their life journey.

Several weeks ago, when I wrote about Dave Barry’s book Lessons from Lucy, I asked if there were lessons you’ve learned from your cat. This week I received an email from Linda from Mt. Hood who shared three wonderful lessons she’s learned: get as much rest as you want at any time; eat a little bit at a time at any time: and enjoy a good rub. Any more lessons from your feline friend?

Were you able to decipher the two quotes from last week? I found them difficult even when I knew what the quotes were! If you haven’t figured them out, here they are.

“I’m at a place in my life where errands are starting to count as going out.”

“It’s weird being the same age as old people.”

The song released on January 27, 1956, that included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die” is “Heartbreak Hotel” sung by Elvis Presley.  I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Gary Van Orman, Steven Woolpert, Gene Uczen, Pat Cadwell, Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, and Anna O’Donnell this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This week one more singer from the past – but also the present. This singer, piano player, and songwriter born in Middlesex County in England was immediately hooked on rock and roll when his mother brought home records by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets in 1956 when he was only nine. Throughout his career he has recorded hit songs in six decades beginning with “Your Song” in 1971 and this year with “Cold Heart”.  For this week’s “Remember When Question”, what is the name of this performer known for his over-the-top stage costumes. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with the lyrics to “Your Song” written by Bernie Taupin his longtime collaborator.

Well, it has been another week adjusting to the time change. Until we meet again, as we experience the challenges of aging don’t forget all the things that don’t need fixing.

“I decided to make sure my husband had a smile on his face every morning. Now I can’t keep sharpies in the house anymore.” Anonymous

Aging Well in the Gorge November 3rd 2021

 information to decide whether your current plan is still the best one for you. There are several optionsThere are local insurance brokers who understand the complexities of Medicare and can help you choose the best planOr you can call 541-288-8341 to speak with a SHIBA volunteer counselor whos not trying to sell you anything and can guide you through the Medicare maze 

Another option is to search for Medicare plans onlineBut as with anything online, be cautiousFor example, when I searched for Medicare plans the first site listed was at And then when I searched for Advantage Plans in my zip code, no Advantage Plans were listed even though I am currently enrolled in one. 


Another site listed was Medicare Advantage 2022 where you can “Compare plans, prices, and star ratings online. Some premiums as low as $0/month. That sounds good, sclick on that link where I learn By entering my contact information and clicking Next above, I consent to receive e-mails, telephone calls, text messages and artificial or pre-recorded messages from ” Well, forget that websiteI don’t need any more unwanted phone solicitations – I have enough!  


But to avoid the sales pitches and misinformation, the best website to visit for unbiased and accurate Medicare information is Medicare.govYou can tell it is an official federal government website because the website address ends with .gov. And remember only to share sensitive information on official, secure websites. How do you know? If you see https:// (not http://) or a symbol of a lock, it means your connection to the website is secure.  


Did you notice last week I mentioned the Through the Eyes of an Elder” column written by Susan Hess? It’s embarrassing (which happens way too often!) because itactually in this week’s paper. I know which day of the week it is, although Monday holidays can mess me up, but knowing which week? That’s a little more difficultSo once again, check out Through the Eyes of an Elder in today’s paper. 


Because you can’t have words without syllables and syllables without vowels, vowels are known to be rather arrogant – believing they are indispensable; belonging at the top of the alphabetic food chainSo see if you can read these two short quotes with the vowels removed and see how indispensable they really are.  


And to keep you from running out of the house screaming, kept the vowels in the most difficult word of each quote. Good luck! 


“_’m  _ t  a  pl_c_   n  my  l_f  wh_r_   errands   _r_   st_rt_ng  t   c_ _nt   _s   g_ _ng   _ _t.” 


_t’s  weird  b_ _ng  th_   s_m  _g_   _  _ld   p_pl_.” 


The name of the popular 1952 – 1956 comedy series starring Eve Arden as the sardonic high school teacher and Gale Gordon as the blustery high school principal was Our Miss Brooks. I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Claire Zumwalt, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Mike Nagle, Kim Birge, Pat Kelly, Mike Yarnell, and Elva Codinothis week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Susan Ellis and Mike Nagle and for some mystical reason, Ive missed Carol Earl several times. 


This week’s “Remember When” question is about a song released on January 27, 1956, that reached the top five on the Country and Western, Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, and Pop charts simultaneously. What was the name of the song that included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a picture of Alvin Krolik, the man who “walked a lonely street”. 


Well, it has been another week watching soap bubbles dance in the wind. Until we meet again, enjoy all the small things that make life worth living. 


“As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something.” – Hagar the Horrible