Aging Well in the Gorge November 1st 2016

What do businessmen Warren Buffett and Bill Marriott; entertainers Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Anthony Kennedy, plus fourteen US Senators including John McCain and Bernie Sanders have in common? They are all working past the age of 75.
And yet the Oregon Constitution requires all judges to retire at the end of the calendar year in which they turn 75.
We all know as we age we encounter common age-related physical changes. Our hearing and vision may get worse and there is the increasing probability of arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Cognitively there may also be changes – both negative, the speed in which information is processed may decrease, and we may become more distracted; and positive, wisdom and creativity often continue and grow throughout our adult years.
But most importantly, we all age differently. As Elizabeth L. Glisky, University of Arizona professor at the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, states “Although there are clear generalities and common principles that can be demonstrated in cognitive aging, what is perhaps most compelling about age-related cognitive change is its variability. Cognitive decline is not inevitable. Some older adults retain excellent cognitive function well into their 70s and 80s and perform as well or better than younger adults.”
Ballot Measure #94 acknowledges this variability – and the research regarding age and cognitive functioning that has occurred since 1960 when Oregon voters passed the constitutional amendment requiring mandatory retirement for judges.
Age should not be a consideration for employment whether you are old or young. It should be competence and ability. Adults older than 75 can still be mentally sharp and can still contribute. And the wisdom and perspective of older adults is needed now more than ever.
Lisa Gambee, Wasco County Clerk, and her Chief Deputy, David McGaughey, spoke at the Center last Tuesday offering a fascinating look inside our local election process. But next Tuesday all the shouting will be over, thankfully, and to make sure your mail-in ballot arrives at the Courthouse by Tuesday, Lisa suggested you consider mailing it before Thursday (election day postmarks don’t count). You can also drop off your ballot at the Courthouse, or even more conveniently, Lisa and David will return to the Center on Friday between 11:30 and 12:30 with a ballot box to collect your ballots. (And contrary to the rumor circulating, you only need one stamp to mail in your ballot.)
Remember Tuesday Night Music at the Center is now starting at 6:30 during the winter months. And on November 8th, Martin and Friends will be playing their country favorites. Doors open at 6:00 and donations are always appreciated.
And speaking of time, we gain an hour next Sunday, November 6th when local Daylight Savings Time ends. Sunrise and sunset will be one hour earlier which means more light in the morning and less in the evening. So this Sunday at two o’clock in the morning, I expect you to wake up and change the time on all your clocks; and then go back to bed and savior that extra hour of sleep.
Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”: #5 “You have time for your favorite hobbies.” Because of family and careers, we usually didn’t have the time to pursue what seemed like selfish interests – whether it was quilting, writing a bestseller, painting, or restoring an old ’63 Buick Skylark convertible. But with fewer responsibilities and more time, these retirement years are a perfect time to discover new interests or rediscover the hobbies we enjoyed when we were younger. (Does anyone want to start a LEGO Club?)
Peter Lawford played Nick Charles in The Thin Man television series that aired on NBC from 1957–1959? (This week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Tina Castanares.)
While growing up, I learned a children’s rhyme that often forced me to zig-zag down the sidewalks where I lived. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what would happen if you stepped on a crack? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or deliver it to the Center with a portrait of your mother.
Well, it’s been another week, watching the river flow. Until we meet again, if you find a dog in the doorway, step over it.

“I love my age. Old enough to know better. Young enough not to care. Experienced enough to do it right.” Anonymous

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