Aging Well in the Gorge June 5th 20019

Why do we always have to give something a different name if it doesn’t fit our preconceived notions. I’ll give you an example. I grew up in Indianapolis, so you know what I do every Memorial Day, I watch the Indianapolis 500. During the pre-race show NBC followed seventy-nine-year-old racing legend Mario Andretti around the Speedway and one of the announcers was so impressed that Mario was still involved in racing he described him as having the spirit of a thirty-year-old. And I thought, Wait a minute! He doesn’t have the spirit of a thirty-year-old. He has the spirit of a seventy-nine-year-old! Can’t older folks keep busy and active and be seen as who they are? He is not some forty-year-old beer drinking couch potato – no offense to 40-year-olds.   
But an active 79-year-old like Mario didn’t fit his idea of how a seventy-nine-year-old should act. And consequently, he had to rename it as something he could understand.
As Helen Hayes once said, “Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese. (Or unless you want decent health insurance you can afford through Medicare.) If you ask me how old I am, I’d say seventy-one. But it really depends on what part of my body you are asking about. If it is my knees, I would say more like eighty. If you are talking about my eyes – probably seventy-one. My dry skin – also probably seventy-one. Okay, maybe my body’s age is my chronological age. But just remember, I’m no cheese.
Back in the day, Social security was envisioned as being one leg of the three legged retirement stool along with savings and pensions. But the U.S. retirement system has fundementally changed, shifting responsibilty from the employer to the individual so now many working people don’t have a retirement plan; and saving money for retirement is a luxury. And with the great recession wiping out savings for many and social security benefits losing a third of their purchasing power since 2000, many older adults are entering the golden year financially insecure.
At the Center on June 26th from 4:00 – 7:00, AARP and  the Small Business Development Center will be presenting the free workshop READY SET RETIRE. At this workshop you will learn about tuning up your finances before retirement; Social Security & Medicare 101; OregonSaves, the new and easy way to save for retirement; and how to monetize your expertise and become an Encore Entrepreneur. Whether you are retired or thinking about retirement, I’m sure you’ll learn something new that could help improve your financial future. Or in my case realize, “Oh, that is what I should have done!”
It’s always a relief when I find a mistake and it wasn’t of my doing. Well, this wasn’t one of those times. Last week I misstated Joyce Browne’s phone number. It should have been 541-300-0111. She is the contact if you have any questions about the two free lectures presented by Dr. Timothy Jennings, MD at the MCMC Medical Office Building: “The Aging Brain – Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind” on Saturday, June 8th from 10:00 – 4:30; and “The Mind, God’s Design” on Friday, June 7th at 6 PM.
Those who remember the Broadway musical Camelot were Rhonda Spies, Anne Cross, Jerry Phillips, Katie Young, Betsy Ayers, Cheri Brent, Joy Oakes, Tiiu Vahtel (who saw Cameloton Broadway), and Mary Haas the winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week’s question about the Broadway musical that told the story of the “mad” knight Don Quixote was much more difficult with only Betsy Ayers correctly answering Man of La Mancha and also winning a quilt raffle ticket.
This week let’s move from the Broadway stage to a film set in Stockton California. This 1967 anti-establishment movie starred Paul Newman and George Kennedy – who won a Best Supporting Actor award for his performance. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the film in which a decorated war veteran is arrested for cutting down parking meters one drunken night and sentenced to two years on a chain gang where his free spirit clashed with the “Captain”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a carton of fifty eggs.
Well, it’s been another week looking for the answer if only I knew the question. Until we meet again, what if the hokey pokey is really what it’s all about?
“Always leave them laughing when you say good-bye.” George M. Cohen

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