Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 17th, 2023

Loneliness has been described as “when one door is closed, but the ‘other one’ has yet to open”. Or “an ‘inner worm’ that gnaws at the heart” and it can appear like an uninvited guest at any time in our lives. But circumstances we encounter as we get older: the loss of a life partner or difficulties with our hearing, seeing, and mobility, can make it easier to be more withdrawn and alone.

But we are social beings – meant to be with others. And although it may feel more comfortable just talking to ourselves (at least that person knows us), research has found that social engagement is better for both our physical and mental health. (Maybe because we find someone who will pick us up when we get down on ourselves!)

But if you are one of many who doesn’t find socializing easy or natural; and who reacts to a large group of strangers (meaning two or more) the same as you would to a dentist’s drill, you might find these suggestions helpful.

First, social encounters can be tricky, and if doesn’t go well don’t interpret it as rejection or hostility – and then blame yourself. Focus on the positive and not on what you may have thought went wrong.

Second, it may be easier to meet new friends while attending an exercise class or another group activity – something you’ll have in common to talk about instead of having to start a conversation from scratch.

And last, but most important, give it a chance. Whether attending lunch at the senior center or a church service for the first time, most groups have established social relationships built over time. And although they’re open to new friendships, don’t expect them to welcome you like a long-lost rich uncle. Give yourself time to establish your own relationships. And as a rule of thumb, try it at least six times before you decide that it doesn’t work for you.

Life has much to offer during all stages of our lives. Get out, start conversations, and enjoy new friendships. You will discover new ideas and unique perspectives (some very unique!) and foster deeper connections with family, friends, and neighbors.

The “Getting to Know Dementia” class will be held at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center from 10:00 – 11:30 every Thursday for six consecutive weeks starting May 25th. As a participant, you will learn what happens when a brain is changing due to some form of dementia. You will also be introduced to the GEMS® State model of the progression of dementia which explains not only what is lost, but what is retained; and the Positive Approach to Care model developed by Teepa Snow. Teepa Snow has stated, “Dementia doesn’t rob someone of their dignity; it is our reaction to them that does.” To register contact Roni Hyde at 541-705-4870 or

Brain Tease: Another one of those “Why couldn’t I think of that answer?”

“A woman had two sons who were born on the same hour of the same day of the same year. But they were not twins. How could this be so?”

One of the most lauded jingles ever written for the advertising industry that practically every boy sang in the 1960s was “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, That is what I’d truly like to be, ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, Everyone would be in love with me.”

I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Mary Pierce, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Marny Weting, Dave Lutgens, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Pat Evenson-Brady, Rebecca Abrams, and Kim Birge this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Pat Evenson-Brady, and Donna Mollet who did remember the slang term “grody”.

This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to an early star of American television which many of you may still remember. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the “lonesome” crew-cut comedian that starred in his weekly show from 1954 to 1960? Call 541-296-4788, email, or send it with a picture of his wife “Spooky Old Alice”.

Well, it has been another week, wondering where time is running off to. Until we meet again, keep smiling!

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” –Alice Walker

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: They were triplets, quadruplets, etc.