Unfortunately, snake oil salesmen still exist. And according to the FBI, seniors are ideal targets for these scammers and aggressive marketers. Many in this age group were raised to be trusting and polite and feel it’s rude to be assertive (although I could name several folks that I wouldn’t want to mess with). And they learned to be frugal and have saved up a “nest egg” that these hucksters can tap. Many times these elderly victims don’t report the incident because they don’t know how or are too ashamed. And even if the scam is reported, they may be poor witnesses – unable to supply enough details to prosecute.

But the best defense is a good offense. Know the warning signs: the offer of free gifts – if it seems to be too good to be true it probably is – and the pressure to act “now”. As a rule of thumb never make same day decisions. Give yourself enough time to consult with a trusted friend, your doctor or time to do your own research. But the most direct action is to just say “no”. And if they can’t take “no” for an answer, hang up or shut the door. You don’t owe them a thing.

It can happen in The Dalles. I am working with an individual who on March 10th was pressured into signing a contract for a home security system from Nationwide Security Solutions – which he didn’t need – and without knowing the total cost or monthly payments. With the help of Jay Waterbury, The Dalles Police Chief, we have referred the case to the Oregon Attorney General’s office and are investigating what else we can do. (If you have had any experience with this outfit, I would be interested in hearing from you.) You can learn more about how to protect yourself at the Center’s Tuesday lecture on May 11th at 11:00 am when Ed Goodman from The Dalles City police will be the guest speaker.

Dan Durow spoke to the Meals-on-Wheels lunch crowd at the Center explaining how the construction of roundabouts in America has increased dramatically because they reduce accidents, increase traffic flow and are cost effective. Since the new roundabout in The Dalles is a single lane roundabout, you should find it easy to navigate if you remember a few simple rules. Slow down when approaching the roundabout – they are designed for 15-20 mph; yield to anyone in the roundabout – they have the right away; and use your turn signal when exiting the roundabout.

There is a small group of dedicated workers who for over twenty years spent every Monday raising funds for the Center by doing something they truly enjoy: quilting. And since they have just finished their latest quilt, the beautiful one that is currently hanging in the lobby needs to find a loving owner. You can possibly be that owner by buying a $5 raffle ticket – but you only have a few days left. The drawing will be held this Friday May 7th. And besides making quilts to raffle, the Quilters also do quilting for hire if you have a quilt you would like restored. I you enjoy quilting and friendly conversation, the Quilters meet every Monday from 10:00 – 3:00 in the basement. They are always looking for a few new needles to help.

The stage production of Cirque Dreams: Illumination is coming to Portland at the Keller Auditorium and the Center has reserved 22 seats for the 2:00 matinee performance on Saturday May 29th for only $60 including transportation. It is a stage performance where “an international cast of world-class acrobats, athletes, musicians and one of a kind artists populate this imaginative, colorful metropolis and breathe life into over 100 inventive costumes, an original musical score, and magical sights that transform the landscape of a city into thrills and disbelief.” Call the Center at 541-296-4788 to purchase your tickets.

There is music and shaking every Tuesday night at the Center. Next Tuesday the Notecrackers will be back playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. And tonight the Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing for their first time at the Center. Though the notes start flowing at 7:00, the cost is nothing – but donations are welcome.

It’s been fun this last month hearing the many memories of favorite songs, TV shows, movies and cars, but this month its back to the regular format. What car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964 at the New York World’s Fair and created a whole new class of automobiles? (and the envy of every young man!) Call 541-296-4788 or email the answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

Well that is another 24×7 and I am still waiting for spring. Until we meet again, remember – bad decisions may be hard to take but they make great stories.

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