Aging in the Gorge February 27th 2018

The thought of losing your memory is scary and it’s not reassuring knowing that by 2025 7.1 million adults 65 and older will exhibit dementia with 60% of those individuals still living in their own homes and 1 in 7 living alone. (And every time I accidently put the cheese in the freezer, I wonder, am I going to be one of the 7.1 million?)
With this new reality, there is a growing national movement to create Dementia Friendly Communities: communities where more people understand dementia, where there is less fear of dementia, and people living with dementia are included and supported to live independently longer. This initiative offers guidance for every sector of the community from business and government to neighbors and friends.
Our community may not yet be ready to embrace this initiative, but there’re steps you can take to support people with dementia. Besides learning about the effects of dementia on individuals, families, and caregivers, you can treat people with dementia with dignity and respect by using the following ten dementia friendly communication skills. You can find more information at the Dementia Friendly America’s website –
1.Greet people warmly even if you think they do not remember you. If they seem confused, remind them who you are. 2. Slow your pace slightly and allow time for the person to process and respond. 3. Speak clearly and calmly, be patient and understanding. 4. Keep communication simple; ask one question at a time. 5. Listen with empathy and seek to understand the person’s reality or feelings. 6. Connect on an emotional level even if conversation topics shift or do not make sense to you. 7. Be aware of the person’s and your own body language: smile, make eye contact at eyelevel. 8. Enjoy spending time with the person in the present moment. 9. Offer hugs, hand holding as appropriate. 10. Avoid arguing with or embarrassing the person.
But doesn’t this advice apply to almost any interaction? I mean I wish my wife would slow down and speak clearly and calmly. (I can’t understand you!) And I’m sure she wishes I hadn’t embarrassed her by saying what I thought was a witty comment. (But the hugs and hand holding can make up for it all.)
Those with memory loss deserve to be treated with respect and dignity – not with pity.  And we can start by remembering to use these dementia friendly communication skills.
You’ll want to put this on your calendar! The Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation is holding a “Under the Sea Dance” for folks 55 years young and up on Saturday, March 10th from 12:30 – 2:30 at the Civic Auditorium. Enjoy an under the sea adventure unlike any other – and without getting wet! There’ll be music, dancing, snacks, and activities creating memories you’ll never forget. The cost is $15 per person and you can purchase tickets online at or at the door.
The fourth and final program for the Original Courthouse Regional History Series is “Obsolete U.S. Currency: From the Half Cent to the $100,000 Bill”. Rodger Nichols reveals what pioneers carried as pocket change and will share stories of odd and unusual currency. He is also willing to do a free evaluation of three coins or bills per person after his program. Program begins at 1:30 pm at the 1859 courthouse, 410 West 2nd Place.
The American female figure skater who won a Gold Medal in the ladies singles at the 1968 Winter Olympics was Peggy Fleming.  (This week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is the avid viewer of figure skating, Tiiu Vahtel.)
Now that the fun of the Winter Olympics is over, let’s get serious and talk about high school grades. Today to earn an A, you must answer 90% of the questions correctly, and for a B, 80%. But if my memory hasn’t failed me, it was harder during my high school days. For this week’s “Remember When” question, in high school what percentage of the questions did you have to answer correctly to earn an A; and a B? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with your senior year high school report card.
Well, it’s been another week, deciding what to do about the weather. Until we meet again, nature is not always a kindhearted mother.
“Here is a rule I recommend. Never practice two vices at once.” Tallulah Bankhead

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