Aging Well in the Gorge September 1st 2021

 How many of you are still working a paid job? Working as a volunteer? Or working as an unpaid caregiver for a loved one? And how many of you are gardening, painting, exercising, or doing other activities you don’t consider work?

Our ideas about age and work are changing. With advances in public health and medicine, we are living longer and can work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. Older adults 65+ are spending more time on the job than their peers in previous years: four million in 2000 and by 2016 nine million older workers were employed full or part-time.

Reasons for this change in attitude are many. People can now work longer because of advances in health care and technology. Some folks need the extra income because a serious illness depleted their retirement savings, or their pension was inadequate. Others work to remain cognitively healthy. And then there are those who enjoy working and want to continue contributing in the workplace.

For an employer, hiring older workers is not without its challenges: chronic health conditions, disabilities such as hearing loss, and physical safety concerns. But there are many more advantages.

Older workers are generally more satisfied, loyal, reliable, and have more favorable job attitudes than younger workers. Older workers are less likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors such as aggression, on-the-job substance use, tardiness, and absenteeism. In addition, older adults are often looking for part-time work; and health insurance is not necessary because of Medicare.

After the traditional retirement age, there are many ways to enjoy the rest of our years: retiring and spending time with friends and family, volunteering at a favorite non-profit, or continuing to work. Labor Day is a time to celebrate and honor the contributions older adults have made to the health of our communities through their labors.

Communication is often difficult especially between parents and their adult children. In this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” Bill Noonan describes the challenges of these complicated conversations and offers four “guardrails” to reach an understanding that is beneficial to everyone. It is another must-read!  

With the high number of COVID cases in the Gorge, you may want to take a COVID-19 test even if you are vaccinated. FREE COVID-19 tests are now available through the Hood River Health Department and North Central Public Health District. The test is a nasal self-swab test and results will be available within 3 – 5 business days. You can register and select your appointment time, or you can just walk in. To make an appointment log on to www.doineedavocid19 (Okay, I’m not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar. It took me a while to realize the site address spells out “do I need a covid19 test”!) When you register, you will be asked to complete a self-assessment and choose a location, date, and time. The next available dates are Thursday, September 2nd from 2:00 – 6:00 at the River of Life Assembly Church in Hood River and Sunday, September 4th from 10:00 – 1:00 at the North Central Public Health District office in The Dalles.

The name of the children’s show created by Bob Keeshan who played the title character was Captain Kangaroo. I received correct answers from Jeanne Pesicka, Emmett Sampson, Susan Ellis, Billie Maxwell, Steven Woolpert, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Margo Dameier, Glenna Mahurin, Doug Nelson, Sandy Haechrel, Kim Birge, and Gene Uczen this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.

In the ’40s and ’50s, a single company would be the sole sponsor of popular television shows: Kraft Music Hall, Gillette Cavalcade of Sports, The Lucky Strike Program starring Jack Benny, and a variety show hosted by a popular vocalist at the time. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was this singer/actress who every week during her show sang “See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of her and Burt Reynolds in 1972.

Well, it’s been another week looking for my missing hearing aid – again! Until we meet again, remember the lessons learned from the mistakes forgotten.

“Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace.” (Robert J. Sawyer), or as the old farmer from Fossil once said, “Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”

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