Aging Well in the Gorge November 10th 2015

As we grow older we often lose the ability to do things we took for granted when we were younger. I can no longer work all day in the yard – two hours is long enough; or drive cross country sixteen hours straight– I can’t last more than two hours without stopping and it’s not just to stretch my legs; or remembering where I parked the car – wait, that I never could do!

But it’s real slap in the face when you realize what you can no longer do. And when it happens, the often accompanying feelings of grief or even anger, may blind us to what we can still do.

Focusing on what one can do is illustrated by this poem, written by Dan Lonigro, who is an instructor for CPI which offers training in behavior management & dementia care. Dan wrote it from the perspective of a person with dementia and it is a touching reminder of the importance of seeing and believing in what a person can do and not defining a person by what they can’t.

Six Things to Know about Someone with Dementia

I don’t garden anymore, but I can still smell the flowers. Bring me some roses. This will remind me of my past.
I can’t talk the way I used to, but I can still communicate. Be patient as I try. This will help me feel connected.
I don’t have the judgment I used to, but I can still make decisions. Give me choices. This will make me feel like I’m a part of things.
I can’t take a bath by myself anymore, but I can still wash my face. Assist me with direction. This will help me feel purpose.
I can’t dance anymore, but I can still sing. Help me enjoy music. This will enrich my life.
I can’t walk unassisted anymore, but I can still move my body. Walk with me, and support me if I stumble. This will help me feel engaged.
You are my lifeline. I depend on you. But please don’t do for me what I can do for myself. Recognize what I can do and help me to function as a person.
You are key to the quality of my life.

I don’t want Pat Lucas after me as she was last week when I gave the wrong location for the Community Potluck on Veteran’s Day. So to make sure we have it all straight, the Community Potluck following the Veteran’s Day Parade will be held at the Oregon Veteran’s Home. Did I do better this time, Pat?

And for those of you who have short memories, don’t forget the other events on Veteran’s Day: Community Veterans Thank You Breakfast at the Civic from 7 – 10 AM (free for Veteran’s/$5 for civilians); the Veteran’s Day Parade at 11:00, and a fireworks display at 6:00. It’s going to be quite a day.

There will be a Flea Market organized by Meals-on-Wheels from 9:00 – 2:00 at the Center on Saturday, November 14th. There will be household items, antiques, old dolls, tools and much more – as well as soup and sandwiches for sale. Come by and check it out.

Because the AARP Smart Driver Class is upstairs (there is still room to signup) and the Zumba Gold class is downstairs (a fun way to stay fit), there will not be a Tuesday Lecture on November 17th.

For the Tuesday Night Music and Dance on November 17th, the Simcoe Boys will be playing their special brand of country. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

For us old timers who remember baseball in the 50’s and 60’s, there will be only one great knuckleball pitcher and that is Hoyt Wilhelm. (The winner of a free quilt raffle ticket is the trivia whiz-kid, Jim Heitkemper.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is related to the recent historic meeting between the leaders of China and Taiwan – their first in more than 60 years. Back in 1949, who was the leader of the Chinese Nationalists when the Chinese Communist forced them to retreat to Taiwan? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with maps of the islands Quemoy and Matsu.

Well, it’s been yet another week trying to keep my nose above water. Until we meet again, there’s nothing wrong with chasing a rainbow now and then.

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” Lucille Ball

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