Aging Well April 28 2009

That was some cold and windy Cherry Festival Parade Day. There was one time when I was about to grab the blanket from Donna (who was much better prepared than I was) and I didn’t even care if it was pink. But we all survived and The Dalles gathered together to enjoy a little “Maraschino Magic”. A big thanks to all the folks who helped with the Center’s successful Cherry Festival Breakfast (which was indoors and warm): the gals from Washington Federal Savings, Boy Scout Troop #395 and all the Center volunteers including Edna, Bonnie, Sandy, Betty, Eva, Pete and Albenna.

Many times people confuse the Meals-on-Wheels program with the Senior Center and once again it happened during the Cherry Festival Parade. Meals-on-Wheels volunteers spent many hours building their float promoting all of Meals-on-Wheels’ good work, and yet throughout the parade they were identified as the Senior Center. I wish I could take credit, but I could never build anything as nice – ask my wife. But it does give me the opportunity to remind folks that although Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center have complementary missions and work well together, we are separate programs with separate boards and funding.

The more I learn about maintaining your sharpness and energy, there is one common denominator: you gotta keep moving. Whether by yourself through gardening, swimming, walking, or doing cartwheels down the middle of the street or in a group – if you need a little peer pressure to show up and a little guilt when you don’t, you need to move. It has been said if exercise were a drug, it would be a doctor’s most prescribed medication.

There are many places that provide opportunities to keep moving: The Dalles Fitness and Court Club, the Mid-Columbia Medical Center and here at the Senior Center. The Center offers several morning classes including a low to moderate impact aerobics class called Seniorcise geared toward improving balance, muscle strength and stamina; a yoga class where we use chairs – for those of us who would otherwise spend half the class getting up and down, and the Strong Women’s Class which exercises your muscles and your funny bones. There is also Tap and Clogging and Tai Chi both offered once a week. There is always room for YOU so call the Center at 296-4788 to find the times for each class.

The Jazz Generations are playing tonight and for the next two weeks Boyd “Doc” Jacobsen has lined up the “tried and true” for your dancing pleasure. The Cherry Park Band will be playing on the 5th and Truman Boler will be playing the following Tuesday on the 12th. There is always good music and the price is right: free, but donations are appreciated. Everybody is invited and the music starts at 7:00.

And another gentle reminder about the Workshop on May 9th from 9:00 – 12:00, the Saturday before Mother’s Day. It will feature Lee Paton a noted Gerontologist from Portland and Lucille Torgerson a noted local “observer of life”. The topic is “Tough Talk” or how adult children and their parents can effectively engage in those difficult discussions with empathy and understanding – and without killing each other. (It’s no longer about the length of your hair or your skirt.) Many of us may have good relationships with our children or parents and yet we are afraid to initiate the tough talk because we don’t know how or because we are comfortable with what is. But the world has turned upside – now the child wants to protect the parent who had always protected them and the parent just wants to be free. These conversations are not easy, but the workshop just might help you get started.

Another week has literally blown by. Until we meet again, Saturday reminded me of the following quote from William Arthur Ward, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” And I might add, will still be blown into Sherman County.

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