Aging Well in the Gorge January 17th 2017

All I’ve been thinking about these last couple of weeks is the weather with all the cancellations and delays. And what’s distressing is even when we get past this way-too-long snow and cold spell, there are still sixty-two days till the start of spring. Can you believe that? I think there should be some meteorological law that states the harder the winter, the quicker spring arrives! And February 1st would not be soon enough.

Even though I’m an eternal optimist, I don’t think that will happen, so a few winter safety tips could still be helpful. But what don’t you already know about staying safe during the winter? I mean you have made it this far – and you have probably seen much worse. So, what more do you really need to know?

I’m not sure there’s much, but maybe a few reminders found at might help you be prepared for some of the more common winter conditions.

Hyperthermia: This is one situation most of us won’t have to worry about unless you are cross country skiing the Tilly Jane trail. But if you are the adventurous type, be aware of the warning signs for hyperthermia such as cold pale or ashy skin; feeling very tired or confused; and slowed breathing or heart rate. But don’t depend on shivering as a reliable sign. Older people tend to shiver less or not at all when their body temperature drops.

Fires and carbon monoxide: If you use a wood or gas stove, make sure it is properly used, vented and cleaned. You can even install carbon monoxide detectors in your house. If you use space heaters for extra heat during these very cold days, make sure the they are at least three feet away from anything that might catch fire.

Shoveling snow: This can put added stress on your old ticker when it is already working double time to keep warm in the cold weather. So, don’t push it or hire someone. Slipping and falling: Every winter I hear of someone breaking a leg, arm or hip. Be particularly careful of icy steps and pavement that appears just wet but is iced over. Have your walkways cleared of snow and salted; wear boots with non-skid soles; and use a cane or ski pole when walking.

But you knew most of that, right?

So maybe the best advice is just to be alert and take your time. We may not be as quick or flexible, but our years of experience should make us smarter and wiser so we can be safe during these winter months.

The average high temperature in The Dalles for January is 43 and the average low is 29. So who knows, the temperature just might meander above freezing sometime soon. We can only hope. Which means it will be safer to come to the Center’s Tuesday night music and hear Country Road perform on the 24th. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are always appreciated. 

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 14 – Big photo albums. Although they may soon be a thing of the past, as society moves to storing digital pictures somewhere in the “cloud”.

In the1965 epic romantic drama Dr. Zhivago, Lara was the woman Doctor Yuri Zhivago fell in love with while married to Tanya. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Marcia Lacock, who loved to play on her piano the theme song Somewhere my Love, which was also called Lara’s Theme.)

If you are stuck inside, you might be watching old classic movies on TCM or Netflix, so for the next several weeks of “Remember When” questions, I’m going to give you a movie quote and see if you can remember what movie it came from. To start off, in what 1940’s movie did Humphrey Bogart say “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it on the back of a picture of “Rick’s Café Américain”.

Well, it’s been another week, STILL waiting for the snow to melt – but please not too fast. Until we meet again, as the writer Hal Borland once wrote “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” 

The problem with winter sports is that–follow me closely here–they generally take place in winter.” Dave Barry

Comment your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.