Aging Well in the Gorge November 10th 2021

You’ve heard the condescending stereotypes about older adults. We’re frail and tired, a drain on society, poor memories, set in our ways, uninterested in new technologies (most older adults own a smartphone! But do we have to be on it all the time?), unable to make important decisions, and contribute little to our communities. 

To paint a different picture, this year’s Wasco County Ageless Awards highlight the valuable contributions of older adults seventy-five and older by recognizing this year’s recipients: Sherry Munro, Mary Davis and The Fort Dalles Floozies, Duane and Sue Powell, and Darrell France.

As with most volunteers they don’t want or need the recognition. Each has their own reason for contributing: the love of children and local history; to have fun and make people happy, because they’ve been volunteering since high school and stepped in when needed, or because they’re called by their faith to help others.  

As older adults we contribute in many different ways; by being grandma or grandpa nurturing our grandchildren; by connecting and sharing with neighbors and friends; by serving in our faith communities; by mentoring children and sharing an “old fashioned” perspective; by demonstrating how to rebound from adversity and how to laugh while doing it; and in the end, by showing how to exit gracefully from this life.

We know we are not the stereotypical caricature of “old”. Yes, some of us find the new technologies threatening. (Do I really want my best friend to be a robot?) Some of us are frail but with sharp minds and others physically fit with memories like a sieve. (I’ll count myself in that latter category.) And some of us may find it hard to make difficult decisions. But we all are valuable assets in our communities – which I worry many will not appreciate until they’ve traveled many more miles in their life journey.

Several weeks ago, when I wrote about Dave Barry’s book Lessons from Lucy, I asked if there were lessons you’ve learned from your cat. This week I received an email from Linda from Mt. Hood who shared three wonderful lessons she’s learned: get as much rest as you want at any time; eat a little bit at a time at any time: and enjoy a good rub. Any more lessons from your feline friend?

Were you able to decipher the two quotes from last week? I found them difficult even when I knew what the quotes were! If you haven’t figured them out, here they are.

“I’m at a place in my life where errands are starting to count as going out.”

“It’s weird being the same age as old people.”

The song released on January 27, 1956, that included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die” is “Heartbreak Hotel” sung by Elvis Presley.  I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Gary Van Orman, Steven Woolpert, Gene Uczen, Pat Cadwell, Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, and Anna O’Donnell this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This week one more singer from the past – but also the present. This singer, piano player, and songwriter born in Middlesex County in England was immediately hooked on rock and roll when his mother brought home records by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets in 1956 when he was only nine. Throughout his career he has recorded hit songs in six decades beginning with “Your Song” in 1971 and this year with “Cold Heart”.  For this week’s “Remember When Question”, what is the name of this performer known for his over-the-top stage costumes. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with the lyrics to “Your Song” written by Bernie Taupin his longtime collaborator.

Well, it has been another week adjusting to the time change. Until we meet again, as we experience the challenges of aging don’t forget all the things that don’t need fixing.

“I decided to make sure my husband had a smile on his face every morning. Now I can’t keep sharpies in the house anymore.” Anonymous

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