Aging Well in the Gorge January 5th 2016

Have you forgotten a hair appointment or couldn’t remember whether or not you took your medications? These situations can be embarrassing – or worse, life threatening. These are examples of one of the most critical types of memory: prospective memory – the ability to remember to remember.

Prospective memory is a form of memory that involves remembering to perform a planned action sometime in the future. Remembering involves retrieving information from long term memory facilitated by cues: a song, a face, or an object. The difficulty with prospective memory is there are often no cues to remind you to remember.

The best strategy is to create your own cues. They can be physical cues: writing a reminder note, using a pillbox or setting a timer. (Although I have found a timer will remind me to do something, if I can only remember what that something is.) Often I use my car keys as a physical cue. I place them next to the item I want to remember, knowing I won’t get out of the driveway without my keys – and what I need to take with me.

Or you can create an imaginary cue. The most effective are wild and crazy images that are related to what you are trying to remember. For example, if you need to remember to turn off the lights when you leave, imagine the doorknob as a hot lightbulb.

Another suggestion is when you do remember, do it! We are more easily distracted as we age and more likely to forget what we were doing or need to do. When you remember to take your medications, don’t wait till after you take out the trash.

Prospective memory, the ability to remember to remember, becomes more difficult as we age. But by knowing the challenges, we can adapt so we don’t forget important tasks. To learn more, I’ll be discussing prospective memory at the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on January 12th.
You always wanted to send emails to friends, or check-in with family on Facebook or even Skype with your grandkids. So this Christmas you finally broke down and bought yourself a new laptop computer or the latest tablet. But now you have to figure out how to operate the darn thing – and whatever happened to instruction manuals!

There are several resources available to help you get up and running. At the Center, there is the iPad User’s Group that meets at 1:00 on the first Wednesday of every month; plus computer/tablet help on Wednesday mornings at 9:00.

In addition, The Dalles/Wasco County Library offers classes covering Computer Basics, Email or Microsoft Word on Fridays at 9:00; drop-in help on Saturdays at 10:00 and 2:00; and by appointment, one-on-one help with software issues and tech skills. For more information call 541-296-2815 or stop by the check-out desk.

But the best advice is just to play around on your device. Discover what works and what doesn’t. If you feel more comfortable with a manual (even though they now seem like a relic of the past) you can usually find an electronic manual online. And as the last result, Google your question. Most every time you’ll find an answer – although I won’t promise you’ll understand it!

At the Center on January 12th starting at 6:30 PM, Andre, KC and Tom will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The name of the educational television series, hosted by Walter Cronkite, where CBS correspondents would report on the dramatic reenactment of historical events was You Are There. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is Don McAllister, who said he watched it every week.)

Whenever I meet anyone named Judy, I imagine Cary Grant saying “Judy, Judy, Judy”. But when I was on the Coffeebreak with Al Wynn last month, I learned that Cary Grant never actually said those words. They were first spoken during a nightclub performance by a comedic actor who was impersonating Cary Grant when Judy Garland walk in. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was this actor who also played Corporal Randolph Agarn on F Troop? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the actor with Forrest Tucker and Ken Berry.

Well, it’s been another week waiting to see what the weather brings next. Until we meet again, stay warm – inside and out.

“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” Unattributed

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