Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 13th, 2024

Doesn’t it feel like every day you hear of another way to improve your health? It’s hard to know what to believe: drinking lemon juice and water in the morning? taking vitamin C to help blunt cold symptoms? intestinal cleansing?

But research has shown there are ways such as the “Big Six” lifestyle behaviors I mentioned last week. (Do you remember them?)

Well, you can add one more to the list. In her online article “One of the Best Things We Can Do for Ourselves as We Age”, Stacey Lastoe describes the benefits of reading and how reading can lead to a longer and happier life.

She sites Dr. John Y. Lee, assistant chief clinical officer at Executive Mental Health, who lists the many benefits of reading that researchers have found: lowers our anxiety and helps with relaxation, (although I would avoid Stephen King!); develops deeper empathy for others and helps us experience and process our own feelings; increases our knowledge of other cultures leading to a deeper connection to others. And as you might guess, a growing body of scientific research points to reading as a way to improve cognitive health and to help ward off the onset of dementia.

So, find a good book whether it is a John Grisham novel or a trip through the universe with Stephen Hawking, and, if you haven’t already, start the habit of finding a good time to read at least 15 minutes a day. Or better yet, get together with friends and enjoy a good book together – with a bottle of wine? You’ll find if reading doesn’t lead to a longer, happier life, at least you’ll find life more enjoyable.

I promised I would give the answers to last week’s TRUTH OR MYTH questions. You can find more in-depth answers to the Truth or Myth exercise on the Dana Foundation website at

Human brains have shrunk over the last 20,000 years. TRUTH

Populations became less aggressive, and increased social networks which both are associated with smaller brains.

The brain is good at multitasking. MYTH

The brain cannot attend to two or more attention-rich stimuli at the exact same time. Instead, the brain quickly switches back and forth between tasks.

All human brains start as female in the womb. TRUTH

It’s complicated!

The brain is the fattiest organ in the body. TRUTH

Overall, the brain is 75-80% water. The other 20-25% of the brain is solid tissue and is a minimum of 60% fat.

You are either left or right brain dominant. MYTH

Many talents like language processing, spatial ability, and logic, require the integrated teamwork of both the left and right brain.

Some people can taste shapes and colors. TRUTH

The phenomenon, known as synesthesia, may be due to different areas in the brain being more neurologically connected.

Brain Tease: I can’t imagine anyone correctly answering this one (without cheating!), but if you do, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee!

“What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven?”

The name of Blondie’s inept and bumbling husband is Dagwood. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Stephen Woolpert, Ron Nelson, Doug Nelson, Mike McFarlane, Lana Tepfer, Judy Kiser, Dave Lutgens, Donna Mollet, Rose Schulz, Tina Castanares, Linda Frizzell, Keith Clymer, Jay Waterbury, and Kathy Bullack this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I remember first seeing this comedian in the 60s on The Tonight Show when he was one of Johnny Carson’s favorite guests. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the comedian best known for his variety show from 1970 to 1974, and made popular the national catchphrases “The devil made me do it” and “What you see is what you get”? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of Geraldine and her boyfriend “Killer”.

Well, it has been another week standing still while trying to decide which way to go. Until we meet again, I always enjoy the extra hour in the fall, but I wish I didn’t have to give it back in the Spring.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw. Submitted by Rose Schulz

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers: Take the first letter of each word and place it at the end. It will spell the same word backward.

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