Aging Well in the Gorge November 4th 2020

Finally, the election is over – or is it? It may still be uncertain who will be president. But what is certain is for many of you your candidate lost and you’re now thinking “What in the hell is this country coming to!” While the rest of you are relieved knowing that your candidate will save the country!

There are good people with strong opposing views on candidates and issues. We know because they are our neighbors. But now with the voting over, we need to bridge the political divide. How? A good place to start is making the effort to understand the differing viewpoints. How often have you heard, “I can’t understand how they could think that way”?

Stephen Covey author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” defines the fifth habit as “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” By trying to understand the other person, it affirms that person and what they have to say. And as Covey points out that is what we all want: to be understood, valued and affirmed.

But boy is that tough – to listen, without expressing judgment or jumping in with your own point of view. I can usually last about five minutes before I must express my own opposing arguments.

But as the worn out cliché says, “We may not agree, but we can agree to be disagreeable” – oops, I mean “agree to disagree”. I got confused with what often happens!

We need to pull together to address the challenges many older adults face. For example, did you know that 41% of women 75+ in rural Oregon live alone with a personal income of less than $16,600; 80% of residents 65+ are living with a chronic disease; and 65% of renters 65+ in Wasco County spend more than 30% of their income on housing?

There are many challenges ahead to improve the lives of older adults. And it will take all of us working together with compassion and understanding regardless of our political differences to meet those challenges.

Each week I will highlight one of the many local services supporting older adults. I’ll start with a common question I often hear, “Who do I call if I’m looking for help for myself or someone I know?” On the Oregon side you can contact the ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) by calling the local Area Agency on Aging at 1-855-673-2372. In Klickitat County you can talk to a professionally trained Information and Assistance Specialist by calling 509-493-3068 in White Salmon or 509-773-3757 in Goldendale.

In today’s Gorge News you’ll find the monthly “Through the Eyes of an Elder” where you can read about Antonio “Toño” Ontiveros Deras who has proudly worked as a farmworker for 46 years feeding others and supporting our local economy. It’s an inspiring story of determination and gratitude. Don’t miss it.

A random observation before an exciting conclusion! Did you know that if you replace “W” with “T” in “What, Where and When”, you get the answer to each of them?

The title of the 1958 science fiction/horror film about an alien amoeba devouring citizens was the Blob? I received answers from Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Patty Burnet, Carol Earl, and Tim Annala this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I am sorry to say that although all of this year’s “Remember When” quilt raffle ticket winners were entered in the drawing last week, no one won this time. But there will be another drawing next year!

This year there has again been talk about the controversial role of the Electoral College. In 1969 James Michener wrote The Presidential Lottery about how the electoral college could have created “turmoil if not actual disaster” in the 1968 Presidential election. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the 1968 Presidential candidate and segregationist running for the American Independent Party that could have forced a contingent election in the United States House of Representatives? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a photo of the Governor of Alabama trying to block the entry of two black students to the University of Alabama in 1963.

Well, it’s been another week, finding the time to read a good book. Until we meet again, keep your heart open to see all that can’t be seen.

“When one door closes and another door opens, you are probably in prison.” Anonymous

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