Aging Well August 2nd

These are difficult times. As we gradually pull out of the worst economic meltdown since the great depression, many folks are still struggling. And even though older adults are covered by Social Security and Medicare, for many this publicly supported safety net is not enough as the costly demands of aging increase.

In the past Oregon has been a leader in offering supports for the elderly allowing them to remain independent longer – providing nursing home care (though necessary in many cases) as the last resort instead of the first as was the case in many other states. But the system has over the years unraveled due to budget restrictions. And with the “Great Recession” has come even further reductions and uncertainty. The LIfeSpan Respite program which operated out of the Community Action Program (CAP) and provided relief for families who are caring for someone with special needs such as a disability or a chronic or terminal illness closed on July 1st. But fortunately, although temporarily, Oregon Project Independence (OPI) – a small but valuable program, providing some 2,000 Oregon seniors with housekeeping, shopping and other assistance needed to keep them out of nursing homes and living independently was given a six month reprieve by the Legislature’s Emergency Board.

These are difficult times. And State Representative Bill Garrard from Klamath Falls described the situation the best by comparing it to a shipwreck “We’re throwing survivors a life preserver but leaving them in the water.” Until the economy picks up, or we find different structures for delivering necessary services, or the federal government sends a tugboat to the rescue, this may be the best we can afford.

The challenge is we’re also living in different times. The frail and elderly are living longer in a continuing complex society with less support from the tattered safety net of distant family or neighbors who live next door but we don’t know. As government steps back, we as a community will need to step forward – again: more volunteers to help deliver meals, to help folks manage their money or understand the complexity of Medicare and the Health insurance system, or just to visit and chat. We have done it before, we are doing it now and we will need to do it more in the future to help those who are struggling and in need. As the “Happy Warrior” Hubert Humphrey once said “A society will be judged on how it treats those in the dawn of life, those in the twilight of life, and those in the shadow of life”. I you are interested in volunteering you can call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 or the Center at 541-296-4788.

Tuesday Night Music at the Center offers a variety of music from Country to bluegrass; from a bit of “adult contemporary” to the big band sounds with a touch of jazz. But the common denominator every Tuesday night is good music you can dance to. And to make the point, next Tuesday on the 10th the Notecrackers will be performing their classic sweet sounds while tonight Truman will be playing his Country Gold. It is all good. And it all starts at 7:00 PM. The admittance is just a pair of shoes and a little bit of rhythm, although donations are appreciated.

Of the ten entries this last week, Diana Weston was the winner of a free Saturday breakfast by remembering the TV series “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” But several folks had their eyes wide open – including Herm Neuberger who was the first to catch my error – and saw I had mistakenly identified Robert Wagner as the actor playing Napolean Solo instead of Robert Vaughn.

But last week’s “Remember When” question brought to mind another Robert. Under the category of TV secret agents – for one last week – in what ground breaking TV series did Robert Culp and Bill Cosby star as Pentagon secret agents – chasing villains, spies, and beautiful women? Email or call 541-296-4788 or write the answer on the back of a “42” LED flat screen TV and leave it in the dining room at the Center.

Well, it is time to shoot the breeze and see what falls from the sky. Until we meet again, another piece of advice from the Cowboy from Condon, “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.”

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