Aging Well in the Gorge December 16th 2020

Don’t these days feel like when you had that dinner guest who was eating too much, drinking too much, and staying too long – and you just couldn’t get him to leave? Well, with the first vaccines arriving soon, and we can start shoving him out the door. But until then we need to stay vigilant – particularly at our age.

There are many who believe we don’t need to wear masks, or meet only in small groups, or avoid indoor dining. But there is one thing everyone agrees on: if you are 70 and older you are at the greatest risk: 20% who have COVID-19 are hospitalized and 10% die. Scary.

So ignore all the noise about what we should be able to do or not. With an increasing number of people testing COVID-19 positive and are asymptomatic, we know what we older adults need to do to stay safe and strong.

It has been a long nine months and I think most of us would agree, “I’m getting tired of being part of a major historical event!” For me, I’m longing for the day when I no longer worry about COVID-19; and once again can just fret about my normal anxieties: cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia – it’s a long list!

Since you should be staying home, why not use the time to test drive an Apple iPad. The CAPECO Area Agency on Aging (serving Hood River, Wasco and Sherman counties) has iPads available to rent by older adults. Each iPad user will have the option to keep the iPads for three months. The iPads come with data, so the user does not need to have WIFI. The user will need to agree to answer five questions monthly about their experience with the iPad. Call Tammy at CAPECO to enroll, 541-975-4804.

There are many advantages to being connected. Online you can visit with family and friends, schedule a virtual appointment with your healthcare provider, and you can order groceries from Fred Meyer and Safeway online. In addition, Safeway in both The Dalles and Hood River will deliver your groceries for a small charge.

There is also a helpful online resource: Senior Planet – created by the national nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). Senior Planet helps older adults use technology to stay connected by offering online classes on a wide variety of tech topics which are free and open to anyone 60 and older. (

Senior Planet also offers a Tech Support Hotline. If you have a specific tech question, you can call the FREE Senior Planet National Tech Hotline: 920-666-1959. The Hotline is monitored by Senior Planet Trainers from 9am – 5pm EDT, Monday through Friday. (That’s 6:00 – 2:00 for us left coast folks.) They’re here to help you with whatever technological issues you’re experiencing.

The singer who sang “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” written for his second Christmas Special in 1963 was Andy Williams. I received answers from Jeanne Pesicka, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Jim Ayers, Keith Clymer, Tina Castañares, Jerry Phillips, Sandy Haechrel, Barbara Young, Anne Saxby and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Cindy Winfield.

Do you remember many of the traditions of Christmas pasts: aluminum Christmas trees, bubble lights, stringing popcorn on the tree? One of my fondest memories was the family draping the Christmas tree with strands of thin, reflective strips (until the FDA in 1971 deemed them a risk to children because of their lead content). For this week’s Christmas “Remember When” question, what was this popular Christmas tree decoration? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a branch of mistletoe.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying this sometimes virtual holiday season. Until we meet again, when it snows in your area, remember to “Walk like a Penguin!”

“Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone.” Taylor Caldwell

Nutritious Home delivered meals and pick-ups for anyone over 60.

The Sherman County Senior and Community Center – Call 541-565-3191 by 10:30 AM and leave a message with the number of meals needed and the names of each person.

The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels – Call 541-298-8333 to sign up for home delivered meals. Call before 10:30 AM, to pick up a meal at noon at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center.

Hood River Valley Adult Center – To sign up for Meals-on-Wheels call 541-386-2060 and ask for Eric. You can also pick up a drive-thru meal from 11:30 AM until 12:45 PM.

Skamania County Senior Services – Call 509-427-3990.

Klickitat County Senior Services – For home-delivered meals call the Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-306).

Pioneer Potlatch meal sites in Wasco and Sherman Counties call 541-298-4354.

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