Aging Well August 10

In Wasco, Hood River and Sherman counties, over nine-hundred folks are residing in state licensed long term care facilities such as nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and adult foster care homes – and many are without close family or friends. Even in the best facilities stuff happens and in many states these residents would have no one nearby to help. But in most of Oregon that is not the case. Oregon’s Long Term Care Ombudsman program works to “enhance the quality of life and improve the quality of care for residents of Oregon’s long-term care facilities” by responding to a wide variety of resident concerns – from personal preferences (I don’t like green Jello) to financial abuse – my kids are trying to steal my life savings – and in between: billing, medications, lost property, and guardianship issues.

These concerns are investigated and resolved by a small Long Term Care Ombudsman staff and over 150 trained and certified volunteer ombudsmen assigned to facilities throughout the state who become the resident’s advocates and their “eyes and ears”.

But I said “most of Oregon” because currently there are no trained volunteers in Wasco, Hood River and Sherman Counties. Two volunteers have just stepped forward in Hood River County and Gretchen Jordan, the state coordinator of volunteers for the program, is looking for several more. This is important and serious work requiring five days of training over three weeks (starting August 24th in Hood River) and a commitment of approximately 15 -16 hours a month.

If you have the passion and the commitment to protecting the rights of older adults who live in long term care facilities and would like to become a Long Term Care Ombudsman, call Gretchen at 1-800-522-2602 or email her at And you can always call the Center.

To celebrate these dog days of summer, Meals-on-Wheels’ is having a special Swim Suit contest – with prizes – at their monthly birthday dinner on Tuesday August 17th. But before you get too excited or too fraught with terror (wearing a Speedo doesn’t quite make the same impression as it did 40 years ago. Ask my wife!) the swim suit contest is only for plastic dolls. Here is a chance to imagine yourself as a Jantzen swim suit designer and create your own one-of-a-kind bathing suit for your favorite doll. But if you want to try something a little tamer, there will also be Hawaiian shirt and best Beach Hat contests. All brought to you by the wild and crazy folks at Meals-in-Wheals (sounds like a Betty Harlan idea to me). Join the fun on Tuesday August 17th starting at noon at the Center.

The Senior Center Quilters are looking for a few extra fingers that are itching to stitch. Because several regular quilters no longer can continue because of family obligations, they are now down to four active members and they need to restock the cupboards. They usually stitch two quilts a year to raffle for the Center (you can see their latest work hanging in the Center’s lobby) and they also do custom repairs and quilting jobs for hire. They meet every Monday from 10:00 – 3:00 in the Center’s basemen. For more information you can call Linda Heath at 541-296-6415. As it has been said, “A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars.”

I hear country sounds “coming around the mountain when she comes” because next Tuesday August 17th the Strawberry Mountain Band will be cranking it out for your dancing and listening pleasure. And tonight you can enjoy the sweet sounds of that tantalizing trio – the Notecrackers. The carpet is rolled up at 7:00 so you can “show your stuff”. It is all free although donations are appreciated. And everybody’s welcome.

Last week’s answer was “I Spy” starring Robert Culp and Bill Crosby. And the randomly selected winner of a free breakfast was Terry Emmons. (Sorry Ron – maybe next time!) But this week I want to tack in a different direction for this week’s “Remember When” question. Before there was “Desperate Housewives” there was a novel written in 1956 that was on the New York Times best seller list for 59 weeks. It followed the lives of three women in a small New England village and became a popular expression describing a place where the residents hold seamy sordid secrets. Email, call 541-296-4788 or leave the answer on my desk – engraved on the back of a new iPhone4.

Well it is time to lie down and watch the clouds whisper by as they dance the slow dances. Until we meet again, remember to “always ride a horse in the direction it is going.”

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