Aging Well in the Gorge March 31st 2021

 Have you traveled less during the pandemicMy wife and I have until we were vaccinated, and felt safe enough to drive to Seaside to spend a night at the coast and walk along the too cold and windy beach. It was the first time we had driven past Hood River in fourteen months! 


Since you have probably been on the road lessyou may be a little rusty: not as quick in the driver’s seat. When we get olderwe naturally slow down which is a good thing. We aren’t rushing around to get from here to there knowing we will get there eventually. So why rush? (Although our more deliberate driving may drive those younger drivers nuts!)  


Drivers of all ages need to keep up their defensive driving skills because driving is difficultThink about itYou must see, think, react and move your body and often all at the same time! It’s not like you can take a nap – although often I feel like it. 


So how do you keep yourself mentally and physically fit to drive safely? Nancy Dunham in her online AARP article “How to Preserve Your Driving Skills When You’re Driving Less” suggests three tips to make sure you’re ready to drive defensively. 


Move. Keep moving whether around the house or taking walks outside. In next week’s Through the Eyes of an Elder Claire Culbertson describes from her experience one option: the Strong Women/Strong Peopleclass available online until the class can be taught inpersonThe Strong Women/Strong Peopleclass keeps you connected while building strength and improving flexibility (which you might want to think about if you are having a latelife crisis with an insatiable desire to buy that cool little sports car – until you realize you have neither the flexibility nor the strength to get in and out of your low riding dream machine.) 


React. Many online games allow you to practice reacting — including the driving simulator Drive With Focus which you can purchase for most tablets and enables you to practice your skills without getting behind the wheel. You can also play online games that require quick thinking. I’m not into the “shoot um up, bang, bang” video games I see advertised, but many video games can give you a chance to improve your reaction skills. 


Focus, analyze, and remember. This is more up my alley. I subscribe to Brain HQ but there are other programs out there such as CogniFit and Luminosity that will improve your ability to concentrate, analyze and think quicklyThere is also the free online game Spot the Differenceand AARP’s Staying Sharp is an excellent resource with brain games and articles on brain health.  


As we age, particularly during the pandemic, we need to continue working on keeping our skills sharp both cognitively and physically. Try some of the online resources until when Dick Frost once again teaches the Smart Driver class in person. 


The name of thcraze that was one of the biggest and strangest trends of the 1970s and brought back memories many are still trying to forget was streaking. I received correct answers from Joanie Gilbert, Susan Ellis, Rusti Starr, Gene Uczen, Mike McFarlane, Margo Dameier, Julie Carter, Rhonda Spies, Katherine Schlick NoeDave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, Rose Shultz, Barbara Cadwell, Sandy Haechrel, Kim Birge, and Doug Nelson who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Deloris Schrader and Doug Nelson. 

Last week I wrote about how to be more optimistic which reminded me of the 1960 Disney movie based on the 1913 novel written by Eleanor H. Porter, and starring Hayley Mills in her first of six Disney movies. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this excessively optimistic young girlEmail your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send a link to the silent film adaptation starring Mary Pickford. 

Well, it has been another week, asking myself – again, “Why did I say that!” Until we meet again, there will always be human error reminding us that we are not infallible machines. 

Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.” Virginia Satir 

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