Aging Well in the Gorge December 22nd 2021

There are many excellent centers and meal sites for older adults on both sides of the river, but I’ve heard many folks avoid places for older peopleBut why? Is it a fear of catching some kind of “old age” contagion causing you to lose your cognitive abilities, balance, or sense of humor?  

It’s just the oppositeCenters and meal sites offer opportunities to socialize, exercise, and share stories both funny and sadOkay, there are canes and walkers, but they are just tools to stay active and engaged.  

But what is “old”? 

You may have heard the common quote by Bernard Baruch who stated, “Old age is ten years older than I am”. And according to the 2009 Pew Research Study “Growing Old in America: Expectations vs. Reality,” he isn’t far off the mark. The study found that as people grew older, they felt relatively younger. Among adults 65 and older, 60% felt younger than their age. And for those between 65 and 74, a half said they felt 10 to 20 years younger. 

In terms of chronological age, academics have categorized old age into three subgroups: the Young Old 65-74, the Old 75-84, and the Oldest Old 85 plus. But chronological age doesn’t really help either because it doesn’t correlate with biological age. In fact, there is no reliable measurement for determining our biological age; and appearances alone don’t determine how old we are. (My lungs could be 45 but my knees are telling me, “Take it easy. I’m 101!) 

The reality is we all start aging the moment were born; we cannot stop it or reverse it – contrary to what you may hear. Arriving at the point of being “old” is an individual experience that resists any absolute definition.   

But for me, I’ve found some signs that maybe, just maybe I am no longer that young whippersnapper(Well, that’s a clue. Who uses the word whippersnapper anymore!) 


Here are several clues I’ve found. 


1.) I don’t know the names of current celebrities unless they are over 65.  

2.) When I fly, TSA no longer considers me a highsecurity risk. 

3.) An elderly woman in Portland was reported hurt and was 10 years younger than I am. 

4.) When someone asks for help moving furniture, they look right past me. (But I’m not complaining!) 

5.)  I’m bundled up in a winter coat and scarf and high school kids are walking around in T-shirts. 

6.) I fall asleep in the evening while watching television and my wife must explain what just happened.  

7.) You turn to the classic rock station and it’s playing 80’s music. (What’s that about!) 

8.) I prefer to stay in rather than go out. 

9.) Items from my youth are now considered “vintage”. 

10.) When telling a story, begin with the disclaimer, “I may have told you this before.” 


As Helen Hayes once said, Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese – or unless you are applying for Social Security and Medicare! 


The cap Fess Parker made famous in the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett was a coonskin cap and the talking doll popular in the 60s that could speak when you pulled the string from her back was a Chatty Cathy doll. I received correct answers from John McEwen, Emmett Sampson, Susan Ellis, Stephen Woolpert, Tina Castanares, Pat Cadwell, Margo DameierGene Uczen, Jess Birge, Nancy Higgins, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Jim Tindall, Keith Clymerand Rebecca Abrams, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And in the last two weeks, I missed Susan EllisMaureen Wells, and Keith Clymer. 


There are many Christmas traditions I remember as a child and I continued with my children. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what popular snack (without the butter and salt) was strung together with a needle and string to decorate a Christmas tree? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a bag of cranberries which was common addition to add to the string. 


Well, that’s another week – spinning my wheels on the icy road of life. Until we meet again, let the sleigh bells ring; the treetops glisten, and your heart be light – as I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. 


“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” Bing Crosby 

Aging Well in the Gorge December 15th 2021

How many times have I been told what is good for me, but I still don’t do it? For example, I know I shouldn’t eat that second bowl of ice cream. (I probably shouldn’t eat the first bowl, but you can only do so much!) Or eat that candy bar because its high in sugar. Or that piece of pizza that is low in sugar, but high in sodium. So what can eat? I know – vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil – basically Mediterranean diet. But I grew up in the Midwest, meat and potato country, where a good meal was plenty of it.  So, I am not predisposed to eating right and it can be hard to change.  

BJ Gallagher, contributor to HuffPost an online news source, knows its not easy to change habits but has some ideas on how to stay motivated to do what you know is good for you 


Drop “should” and “ought” from your vocabulary 

These are negative words driven by a sense of guilt. Instead, try using “want” which is positive“I want to eat less sodium”“I should eat less sodium.” See the difference? 


Keep It Small and Simple.  

Set yourself up to succeed by setting small, achievable goals. To start walking, try walking around the block once; then gradually increase the distance. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 


No one can do it for you, but you can’t do it alone.  

When you go walking ask a friend to join you. Or if you want to exercisejoin a Strong Women’s or water aerobics classKnowing friends are expecting you is a great motivator – plus you can catch up on the latest news.  


Success is about progress, not perfection.  

As you’re moving in the direction you wantpat yourself on the back. Or reward yourself. Buy that pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Oops, bad example! But give yourself credit for successes even if they are small ones.  


Re-train yourself with love.  

We want the best for our children because we love them. The same can be said for ourselvesIf we care about ourselves, what we should do becomes what we want to do, and we can start changing old habits 


We’ll soon start a new yeara new beginning to do for ourselves what we want” to do. It’s possible but it won’t be easy. As Mark Twain wisely pointed out: “A habit cannot be tossed out the window. It must be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time.”  


Now, anyone for more fruits and vegetables? 


Let’s see if I can get this right. From two weeks agothe state laws that prohibited certain types of retail operations on Sundays particularly liquor stores were called Blue Laws.  I received correct answers from Emmett Sampson, Steven Woolpert, Susan EllisDoug Nelson, Pat Cadwell, Janet Hinkley, Lana Tepfer, Rose Schulz, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Pat Kelly, Mike McFarlane, Carol Hayes, and Leo Walton winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I missed Tiiu Vahtel 


For last week’s question, the voice of the mean old Grinch (and the narrator) in the 1961 animated television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas was Boris Karloff who also starred in the 1931 horror film Frankenstein. I received correct answers from only Gene Uczen, Emmett Sampson, and Keith Clymer all of whom are winners of a quilt raffle ticket.  


This week’s “Remember When” questions are about gifts you may have received during Christmas pasts. For the boys, what kind of cap did Fess Parker make famous in the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett? And a tough one for the girls. What was the name of the talking doll popular in the 60s that could speak different phrases including “I love you” when you pulled the string from her back? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a book of S&H Green Stamps. 


Well, it has been another week waiting anxiously for the first snowUntil we meet again, even with two strikes against you, youre still in the game. 


“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me! I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.” Will Rogers 

Aging Well in the Gorge December 8th, 2021

During this time of the year, why would I write about the difficult subject of grief and loss? Isn’t this the time to enjoy the Christmas decorations, the “Merry Christmas” greetings, and singing Joy to the World? loss? 

Yes, but the loss of a loved one can be particularly challenging during this season when memories of Christmasetogether come flooding back, along with all the conflicting questions associated with grief: Shouldn’t I be over this? Why can’t I feel happy? 
Or maybe during this season, there is someone you know who is experiencing the loss of a loved one; needing your support by being open and present to their often silent sadness, but not knowing what to say.  

It’s never easy, but to help get through these difficult situations, I’d like to share a few brief suggestions. 


If you are grieving,  


Accept the grief – do not try to “be brave”. Share your grief with family or a friend and if a friend tells you to “snap out of it” find another friend.  


Keep busy – do work that occupies your mind. 


Take care of yourself – you may feel you don’t care but that will change. You are important and valuable 


Eat well – at this point in your life you need good nourishment.  


Exercise regularly – return to your old program or start a new one soon.  


Get rid of the imagined guilt – you did the best you could. If you made mistakes accept that you, like everyone else, are not perfect.  


Associate with old friends – this may be difficult, because some may be embarrassed by your presence, but they will get over it.  


Join a group of others who are sorrowing – you may need new friends who have been through your experience. If interested, Providence offers grief support. Call 541-387-6449. 


Postpone major decisions – for example, wait at least a year, if you can, before deciding to sell your house or change jobs.  


Take advantage of your religious affiliations, if you have one – if you have been inactive this might be the time to become involved again.  


Get professional help if needed – There comes a time to stop crying and to live again.  

You may not be grievingbut if you know someone who is, what do you say? Often just listening, and a simple “I’m sorry or a hug can show you care. And although tempting there are some things you may not want to say. For example: 


“I could never handle what you are going through!” Don’t talk about how their loss affects you, or project what you would do.  


Anything that starts with “At least”Don’t try to force the person to be positive or to lighten their mood by saying something you think is funny about their situation.  


You’ll see her again someday.” Be careful referencing religion unless you’re certain the bereaved shares your faith. 


Stay strong”Avoid telling them how to feel. They are in a difficult place and will move through their grief in their own way. 


As we age, we will all experience the loss of loved ones. We will cope and carry on; and as Thomas Attig points outwe will meet the most difficult challenge “making the transition from loving in presence to loving in separation.” 


Oops, I ran out of space trying to cover too much. Next week I won’t be so wordy and will include the answer to last week’s “Remember When question. 


But for this week, before Jim Carrey’s Grinch stole Christmas, there was an animated television special of the children’s classic, first shown in 1966. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was the voice of the Grinch (and also the narrator) playing one of his final roles? E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of the 1931 science fiction horror film Frankenstein. 


Well, it has been another week kicking down the cobblestones and feeling groovyUntil we meet again, keep searching because you never know what you’ll find. 


“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep stepping.” Chinese Proverb