Aging Well in the Gorge May 12th 2015

At any age we can become socially isolated; lose contact with friends and family. Some people may even choose to be alone – there is no one telling you what to do, no one leaving the lights on or eating your piece of pie left in the frig. And if you only argue with yourself, you know at least one of you is going to win.

But there is also much that is lost.

During last Tuesday’s Lecture, Litxie Miranda, Lu Pang and Candace Lewis Laietmark, three graduate students at the PSU Institute on Aging, discussed social isolation and the value of social networks. They explained that social isolation is associated with lower general well-being, more depression, higher levels of disability from chronic diseases, and increased rates of premature death.

This is a particular concern for older adults because they are more susceptible to social isolation. Why? There are many reasons.

After retiring it can be hard to replace the social network at work. We lose many of our loved ones and close friends as we live longer. (40 % of adults 65 and older live by themselves.) Because of hearing loss, it may be more difficult to converse with others. Driving becomes more of a chore than a pleasure. And we may feel there is no longer a reason or purpose to meet others.

 But the social connections are important. They can provide help when needed, information about what is going on, and conversations that can stimulate your own thinking. They can keep you engaged in the world around you – because there is still much to discover.

But it is not easy. Most of us are not going to hit the bar or go back to school to find that natural milieu of potential friends. And it can be especially difficult if you never really were the “social” type..

But if you find yourself alone, coax or bribe yourself, whatever it takes, to explore new social situations. Volunteer, try exercise classes, play cards, learn a new skill or pursue a new interest. And the Meals-on-Wheel noon dinner at the Center is a great place to start.

 Eventually you will make new friends, and then you can complain again that someone is telling you what to do.

 There will not be a Tuesday Lecture on the 19th but at 11:00 on the 26th, Jim Petrusich will return to the Center to speak more about hearing loss. As the Columbia Gorge Hearing Care audiologist and with his own personal experiences, he understands the challenges of hearing loss and is an advocate for better education about this invisible chronic condition. Even if you have heard him speak before, I would recommend you take the opportunity to hear him again.

This is the last reminder for the first annual 50+ EXPO at the Readiness Center, adjacent to the CGCC, Saturday, May 16th from 9:00 – 2:00. There will be over 25 vendors including Curves, bringing several pieces of their exercise equipment, and The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center, who will be providing balance testing, as well as blood pressure checks and blood sugar testing. Plus they will have a drawing for a wine basket. I would like to thank all the exhibitors and speakers for making this opportunity possible for folks fifty and older.

Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on May 19th will feature the Simcoe Boys. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

The product that floated and was 99 44/100 % pure was Ivory Soap. But some of you may have remembered, as Jerry Phillips did, your mother making her own not-so-pure soap using lye and bacon grease (And Jerry is the winner of 3 quilt raffle tickets.)

 This week’s “Remember When” is about another product seen on TV, but this one was never sold. What was the name of the fictitious health tonic that contained concentrated “vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals”, was 23% proof, and promised to help people who are “tired, run-down, and listless”. Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of the 1951 I Love Lucy episode “Lucy Does a TV Commercial”.

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to repeat myself – wait, I said that last week! Until we meet again, as was heard at the Center, “We’re not getting any older, we’re just living longer.”

 “Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn

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